๐Ÿ‘‘ What’s In A Name?

Thatโ€™s the question Juliet asked upon learning that Romeoโ€™s last name was Montague, the family name of her rival. When she went on to say, โ€œthat which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet,โ€ it is rumored that Shakespeare was poking fun at the Rose Theater, the rival of his own Globe Theater. The less-than-desirable sanitary conditions at the Rose were said to have created an atmosphere that was somewhat odoriferous!

The name โ€œPaulโ€ meansย smallย orย little,ย but the apostle who bore that name was originally called โ€œSaulโ€ (Acts 13:9), a name that meansย desired.ย When the people of Israel desired a king (I Sam. 8:5), God told the prophet Samuel to choose a man namedย Saulย (I Sam.ย 9:17). In relaying this to Saul, Samuel said, โ€œOn whom is all theย desireย of Israel?ย Is it not on thee?โ€ย (I Sam.ย 9:20).

This prompts us to ask about the Apostle Paul, โ€œWhy would a man whose name meansย desiredย choose to go by a name that meansย small?โ€ย We believe the answer is that he no longer wanted to be desired of men. He now wished to appear small in the eyes of men, so that the Lord would loom large in their sight, and they would begin to desireย Himย instead. If you are looking for fulfillment in life, you might want to consider following his example, for that is the only path of joy for a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

We see this clearly emphasized in the case of King Saul, who chose a path that wasย oppositeย of the path chosen by Paul. King Saul started out little in his own eyes and then got โ€œtoo big for his britches,โ€ as they say. We know Saul started out well, for when Samuel told him that God had chosen him to be Israelโ€™s king, he responded,

โ€œAm not I a Benjamite, of theย smallestย of the tribes of Israel? and my family theย leastย of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?โ€ (I Sam.ย 9:21).

As a member of the smallest family in the smallest tribe of Israel, Saul felt unqualified to lead Godโ€™s people. But God chose himย becauseย he considered himself to be less than the least of all the saints in Israel. We know this because when he rebelled against God, Samuel said to him,

โ€œWhen thou wast little in thine own sight,ย wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel,ย and the Lord anointed thee king over Israelโ€ฆย Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORDโ€ฆโ€ (I Sam. 15:17-19).

Samuelโ€™s use of the past tense here indicates that Saul wasย no longerย little in his own sight. Evidently he began to think, โ€œIโ€™m the king of Israel, I can do as I please!โ€ If youโ€™re thinking that youโ€™re the king of your life, and can do as you please, youโ€™ll soon find yourself like Saul, someone who is no longer โ€œmeet for the Masterโ€™s useโ€ (II Tim.ย 2:21).

Beloved, itโ€™s human nature to want to be desired of men, but itโ€™s an evidence ofย divineย nature to desire to look smallย in the sight of men so that the Lord might loom large in their eyes. Why not learn from King Saulโ€™s poor example, and choose the path the Apostle Paul chose. He started out as one who was desired of men, but learned to look at himself as โ€œless than the least of all saintsโ€ (Eph. 3:8), one who longed that โ€œChrist shall beย magnifiedย in my body, whether it be by life, or by deathโ€ (Phil.ย 1:20).

Do you long for the Lord to be magnified in you? source

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