Recently I was reminded of how we choose to name our children. Often times the names chosen reflect a relative that has meant a lot to us growing up. Many families choose biblical names of biblical characters that have outstanding character qualities that we hope will be reflected in the life of this new child.
The Names We Don’t Remember
How many of us can remember who Ammiel or Gaddi were without searching the Scriptures? Their names don’t seem to insight either disappointment or admiration. They don’t seem to stand out as being special and yet they had opportunity to be seen as men of faith and courage. They had opportunity to witness amazing and significant miracles. They were able to witness the plagues of Egypt including the death of the firstborn across the land of Egypt. They were able to see God’s protection and the Passover. They were part of the exodus of the nation of Israel from Egypt toward the promised land. They witnessed the destruction of the Egyptian army after they crossed over the Red Sea on dry land. They had God satisfy their physical needs with manna from heaven.
These two were considered leaders in their tribe. They were chosen to spy out the promised land and were charged to give a report to the people on their return. They spent 40 days traversing the land of Canaan, walking hundreds of miles, observing all that God was calling them to. At the end of that they joined the eight other spies in reporting on the beauty and abundance of the land but lacked the faith and courage to proceed in conquering the land. Their report as recorded in Numbers 13:31 was “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.” Their fear was contagious as is recorded in the first few verses of Numbers 14.
A Name Worth Remembering
However, one of the spies, Caleb, said “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30) Having seen all the miracles of accomplishments of God Caleb responded in faith. He saw that his strength and the assurance of victory only came from trusting in the Lord. God honored this and allowed him to eventually enter the land and take part in the conquest of the land. For several years he participated in the battles and conquest with the other tribes and at the end of all that, at 85 years old, he said “I am still as strong today as I was the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that date, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.”
Wow! What faithfulness, courage and perseverance. What’s not to admire about him. Even at the age of 85 he was energized to continue on mission with infectious zeal and hope.
By the way, Caleb was the 44th most popular baby boys name in 2016. I have no idea where Ammiel or Gaddi ranked in popularity.
Jack is a bi-vocational pastor at Lifegate church and serves on the teaching rotation of the adult Sunday school, as well as oversight of the mens Saturday morning ministry. Jack has a BA from University of Texas at Austin and a MD degree from Baylor College of Medicine.