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A New Name

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What a time we are living in. Fires, Earthquakes, Hurricanes, shootings, racial tension, wars, and constant rumors of wars. The news can’t keep up with it all. In regard to the natural disasters, the news moves on before recovery has even fully taken place. If I were to talk to you about those who are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey in Texas… you might be tempted to think or say..whoah “old news.” Think about Puerto Rico, think about Florida, or Mexico or think about Northern California. And that is only North America! Anyone here afraid of the prospect of open war with North Korea? We are learning about wars on own streets, and its largely done, not by some terrorists group form another country, its done by our people. I recently read a book, called “Under Our Skin” which examines the racial strife that currently exists in America. While I can’t summarize his book in one sentence, the author uses a catch phrase that summarizes one of his biggest points. Our society doesn’t have skin problem, it has a sin problem. Sin is the cause for civil and political unrest. Radical Hatred has infected even the most loving hearts. Could it be the 4 angels holding back the 4 winds of strife will be releasing their grip soon?
It is interesting though, much of what I have mentioned, has not affected us here in Boone to much. Life still continues as normal. Do we need a tornado or war planes flying overhead to wake us up?
I don’t say these things to scare any of you. I want us to know and cling to and grip tightly to the hope that is found in Christ Jesus. You see we are not that far removed from these events of calamity. In Banner Elk last week, I met a man Octavio, current resident of Puerto Rico who is here trying to raise money for relief efforts. He’s sharing his testimony to the Banner Elk church today, in fact. 2 weeks ago while in Moab, Utah, while my friend was trying to take a picture of the sunrise of the Mesa Arch surrounded by well over 120 people, he took an opportunity to help a woman who didn’t have her battery charged at the time it was time to take the picture, by giving her his spare battery. My friend and I didn’t know it at the time, but only 2 days before, this woman and her husband had been running for their lives as bullets were being sprayed into the country music concert in Las Vegas. The wife especially was suffering from PTSD. That same day which was more than a month after Hurricane Harvey, I met a couple who was hiking telling me they lived in Texas, where there home was on a strip that didn’t get touched by the flooding, but all the homes across the street were destroyed. I meet these people, and I wonder, how removed am I? As Adventists, we reference often the coming time of trouble. Well my friends, there are people who are currently experiencing a great time of trouble. For them there is nothing future about it, it is now! You can’t fault to much those who are asking God, where are you? How can you have let this happen? We don’t often ask that question until it is who are currently realing from the devestation. My sister-in-law, and her sister, and their mother....were all asking that question recently. These 3 women faithful to God their entire lives, asking God, why did he allow their father, or in their mother’s case, husband be taken from them so suddenly? Why?
I can’t imagine the strength it must take for our God, to see all the heart ache in the world, and not be tempted to wipe out all the pain. But he doesn’t do it yet. He is patient, he call his remnant to be patient and endure.

12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

Notice does not say for his saints to be ignorant, but gives a call for endurance. I came across a verse in Isaiah, which I had read before, but when I came across it this time, I found a unique perspective I had not yet understood about God and the patience of the saints. Its a passage I found great encouragement and hope in, even in the temulteous times we are living in. Before I read it to you though, lets take a moment to pray.
One of the things I think is difficult for some women these day who are about to get married, is the idea of changing your last name. This is done traditionally, there is nothing mandated, that I am aware of in our country. I know a few couples who elected not to change any names even though they were married. Call me crazy, I like the idea of a married couple holding the same last name, but thats just me…but it must be hard. My wife was a johnson, and now she is a Knight. For three years, she was referred to by her students as Ms. Johnson, and now its mrs. Knight. My sister-in-law was talking about this with me recently, telling me she was happy to take on a new name, but it was definitely challenging, because in some ways you feel you are losing your identity, and in some ways gaining a new one. I mean, i think that is some pretty good observation there. One think I know personally, my wife has the last name Knight legally, but there is no taking away the fact she will always be a Johnson.
I remember being very blessed a few months ago when the Echemendias were up front here singing about the concept of God giving us a new name. Enoch shared with us the blessing he and his siblings have experienced in receiving a new name…embracing a new family, embracing a new family identity.
In and 62 we read about the favor in which God has for his people. Talking both about his literal chosen nation Israel, and also referring to believers beyond the 1st coming of the Messiah, whom we identify as spiritual Israel. Even in bondage, God had remained faithful to his people. The prophets, Ezekial, and Daniel, and Jeremiah had pleaded and even interceded with God for the restoration of their people. In God answers, saying “the nations shall see your righteousness.
Yahweh’s redemption of Israel created a righteous remnant. They are righteous because of God’s forgiveness, not because of their merit or ability to keep the covenant on their own.
Yahweh’s redemption of Israel created a righteous remnant. They are righteous because of God’s forgiveness, not because of their merit or ability to keep the covenant on their own.
There city Jerusalem reclaimed. The prophets proclaimed this city as, the city of Yahweh, the city of righteousness, and the faithful city. Maybe it wasn’t their faithfulness, maybe it was because of God’s faithfulness.
But listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah in verses 2- 4 of .
The nations shall see your righteousness,
and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
This new name is not a renaming of the original. Israel is Israel, Jerusalem is still Jerusalem. The qualitative name has been changed though. This was a people who in shambles. This once great conquering nation was now an embarrassment. Verse 4 says, you shall no more be termed “forsaken” and your lands no longer be termed “desolate.” If Israel at this had a middle name or last name at this point, it was Israel Desolate, forsaken! No longer!!!!! God says, I’ve been teaching you a hard lesson, but in you I still find favor, unmerited favor, but favor still the same. You are my people.
Isn;t that how it goes both in scripture and in life, if things are not going right we wonder where God is, or maybe we wonder, have we lost favor with God
I loved it how Pastor Huskins put it last week at Banner Elk Homecoming, when referencing the prodigal son story. The son who has wandered from his father, taken and squandered his inheritance assumes he has lost favor with his father. The father’s love was never contingent upon his son going or staying, being a servant or some great success. His love was not so flimsy. His son assumes he has lost all favor and has taken on shame, or slave as his new name. This has become his new Identity. His father won’t have it. He is his son. No longer will you be termed shame, no longer will be termed slave. Your name is after my name.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife’s name was Barren, atleast thats how she saw herself. In her old age, although she desired to be a mother, it seemed she could never take on that identity. Context would suggest because of her discouragement, she saw herself even less than her servant Hagar because of course she had the ability to give her husband a son. Her identity of being barren was so infused in her, she can’t help but chuckle at God’s messengers who prophecy to Abraham that they will have a child. In other words, they were telling her, your identity as barren will be no more. God has a new name for her, one that was permeated in his covenant with Abraham.
Restoring Hope and giving people a new name is the business Christ was in as he walked this Earth. Greedy Tax Collectors became charitable givers. Lowly fishermen became Fishers of Men and the greatest apostles the worlds has ever seen. Saul the persecutor of Christians became known as Paul general of the Lord’s earthly army. When Mary Magdelene met Jesus, her identity was that less human and more the object of Men, and after an encounter with Jesus, she knew she was a child of God whom he loved deeply. Her identity was changed.
When i was in academy, one of my teachers showed us the film, Stand and Deliver, which portrays the true story of Jaime Escalante. Escalante was a math teacher in a failing school district made up heavily of Latinos in East LA. The students had never been challenged before and had not had an opportunity to learn and grow and because of this, they didn’t have the expectation of learning at all, some didn’t see the priority of even graduating. This changed when Escalante came into their lives.
He soon realizes the untapped potential of his class and sets a goal of having the students taking AP Calculus by their senior year. Escalante instructs his class under the philosophy of ganas, roughly translating to "desire" or "motivation."
The students begin taking summer classes in advanced mathematics with Escalante, who must withstand the cynicism of the other faculty, which feels that the students are not capable enough. As they struggle with the lower expectations that they face in society, Escalante helps them to overcome adversity and to pass the AP Calculus exams.
To his dismay, the Educational Testing Service questions the success of the students, insisting there is too much overlap in their errors and suggesting the students cheated. Escalante defends his students and feels that the allegations are based more on racial and economic perceptions. He offers to have the students retake the test months later, and the students all succeed in passing the test again, despite only a day to prepare, which ends all concerns of cheating.
Before meeting Professor Escalante, the teens may have accepted the identity they seemed destined for, which was one of zero positive expectations, maybe a life of crime or worse. The professor looked and saw they didn’t have to be defined by their situation and gave them direction and challenged them to dream bigger. Their named identity was now changed, as doors to colleges were now opened.
God wants to open doors for his people to.
verse 1 Christ as the speaker to Isaiah.

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,

and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,

until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,

and her salvation as a burning torch.

Other translations say: I will not rest! until her righteousness goes forth. Not only has Christ not forgotten his people, but is actively still pursuing them. He did so through the watchmen, the prophets. He never stopped speaking to the people. He had given them warnings upon warnings before they were taken into captivity, but they did not listen. He also made provisions for them even in their wickedness, He made provisions for their restoration.

2  The nations shall see your righteousness,

and all the kings your glory,

and you shall be called by a new name

that the mouth of the LORD will give.

Here God’s people receive a new name appropriate to their new experience, to the glorious state to which they as a nation, have attained. This new name testifies to the lengths in which God will go to show just how God sees his people whom desire to be changed, and rescued from their present circumstance.
Christ’s message to the church in Pergamum

17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

and to the church in Philadelphia

12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name

To His people, as we see in verse 4 of , he gives them a new name no longer “Azuba” the hebrew word for forsaken, no longer will his city of Jerusalem, be known as “shem-mama”” the hebrew word for desolate.
No he says to Jerusalem you are Heph-zema… “My delight is in her” and your land is Buellah, “is married.
What is happening here, is a renewing of marriage vows. God is saying to his people, it is you whom I find my delight. You are my bride.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
I mentioned before this is also to be taken prophetically. The same as he never abandoned his people Israel, he has not forsaken those who are faithful today either. He has set his watchmen before us as well.

6  On your walls, O Jerusalem,

I have set watchmen;

all the day and all the night

they shall never be silent.

You who put the LORD in remembrance,

take no rest,

7  and give him no rest

until he establishes Jerusalem

and makes it a praise in the earth.

I mentioned before this is also to be taken prophetically. The same as he never abandoned his people Israel, he has not forsaken those who are faithful today either. He has set his watchmen before us as well. He has
Verse 6 and 7 are a moving appeal to God’s watchmen, who are the prophets/intercessors, never to cease pleading Jerusalem’s case before God until he answers their prayers and changes their circumstance.
A couple weeks ago, while I was in Colorado preaching our evangelistic series, I was asked to preach on Daniel’s 70 week prophecy found in . This was a prophecy I knew pretty, I had preached it several times before but for this series my preaching partner and I had determined we weren’t going to just recite all the prophetic 100 times like we see in so many prophecy series. I decided I wanted to dive further into , and you know I sure learned a lot more beyond what I had already known. You Bible scholars who are present today, Do you know what Daniel is doing all the way leading up to the angel Gabriel coming to him with clarifying answers. He is praying a prayer of intercession on behalf of his fallen people! Daniel was living right in the heart of his nations captivity. He writes
Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
It’s interesting here, first Daniel does not fully understand what he’s learned in which is known as the 2300 day prophecy. This is a prophecy I know many of you long time adventists are familiar with, and if your not, I’ll be happy to cover this in detail with you either one on one or in another sermon, but ultimately it ends with a Jesus righteously taking His seat on the throne of judgment.
Daniel, though, understands his people are going to suffer along the way. Perhaps he doesn’t realize its not just simply about his people, the captive people of Judah, but this was about the remnant of God, those marked as believers and followers of Christ. Daniel prays, a prayer of intercession. Although, it is not recorded any wrong Daniel has done, he includes himself as part of his people, saying, we have done wrong, we have sinned. We haven’t obeyed your commands God. We didn’t listen when the prophets warned us of our ways. Daniel, who has been a man of great integrity, prays confessing the sins of his people. In God had promised that if His exiled people would humble themselves, repent, and confess their sins, and the sins of their ancestors in this way, God would restore them from exile.
To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
skip down to verse 15:
15 And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
16 “O Lord, according to all your righteous acts, let your anger and your wrath turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy hill, because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and your people have become a byword among all who are around us.
17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate.
Daniel knows
There is that same hebrew word “shemamah” being used again calling his sanctuary, perhaps referring to Jerusalem again, as “desolate” He is pleading with God to restore his people once again! He’s saying, Lord allow your righteous acts to be known, and your character of mercy be seen.
Daniel interceded with the Lord on behalf of his people by appealing to the character of God, to His mercy and grace, wanting to preserve His reputation in the world as such. stands as the centerpiece of the visions which Daniel has recieved. The concept that Daniel is wrestling with is the knowledge of the covenant God had made with his people at Mt. Sinai (). He had promised to be Israel’s God, and the Israelites had pledged to be his people. Through their unfaithfulness to the covenant, the prophets had given warnings they would go into exile and that only a remnant would survive. Time after time, the prophetic calls to repentance had fallen on deaf ears. But they also announced a future renewal of the covenant with the faithful. In Daniel’s prayer petition, we just read in verses 15-19, Daniel is praying for divine intervention, for forgiveness, for the restoring of the sanctuary and the city.
Daniel is basically, pleading with God saying, save your people, although they are not worthy, but save them the way you did when you brought them out of slavery in Egypt. Daniel appeals o behalf of the people, the same way great patriarchs had done before such as Abraham and Moses. Daniel pleads that this should be done not because of his people’s acts but in spite of them, and only because of God’s righteous character. He does this intentionally by reminding God in a subtle way that since everything is his---the people, the land, the city, the sanctuary, etc.---it is God’s own reputation that is at stake. Daniel uses the same strategy of Moses, of appealing to his grace and mercy. He is saying to God, by forgiving the unworthy, the undeserving people of Judah, God would cause His name to be honored and remembered. People everywhere would realize how great and merciful He really is.
Have you ever had a heart to heart with God like that? Anybody here maybe afraid to talk to God like this? That is what comes when you have that strong a relationship with God. Daniel knew of the love that God represented. He didn’t yet understand the plan which was going to be enacted, and his current understanding seemed inconsistent with the God he had come to know, love, and admire. It makes me think of all the times as a child when I would be punished by my parents. I loved my parents, and I knew they loved me, so why, oh why would they give me a spanking, or send me to my room for a timeout. These actions would seem inconsistent with the love I knew my parents had for me. My parents saying things, like “son this hurts me more than it will hurt you” didn’t makes sense to me, until later. As time went on and I grew older, I have actually thanked my parents for showing discipline to me growing up. It taught me discipline in my life going forward. Here, Daniel, does not yet understand, but out of faithfulness, he pleads with God. Little did he know, the second he began praying, and answer from Heaven was being sent. Daniel’s faithfulness would be rewarded.
20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God, 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22 He made me understand, speaking with me and saying, “O Daniel, I have now come out to give you insight and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly loved. Therefore consider the word and understand the vision.
also portrays God as answering a prayer while the petition to Him is even being prayed.
(change slide)
24  Before they call I will answer;
24  Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
Ultimately Daniel was given answers, some he understood immediately, some were sealed for the time being, but his faithfulness and pleas were rewarded.
My friends, even in present troubling day…from disaster to disaster, from war and rumors of war…never stop letting your pleas be known to the Lord! Do not let your present circumstance or someone elses present circumstance of great day of trouble make you doubt the favor you have found in the Lord. A plan of restoration is coming.
God has new name for you. He has a new Identity for you. It is Hephzibah ( My delight is found in). You and I His people!
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. ().
and then the final verses are proclaimed in Isaiah 4:11-12
12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.
11  Behold, the Lord has proclaimed
to the end of the earth:
Say to the daughter of Zion,
“Behold, your salvation comes;
behold, his reward is with him,
and his recompense before him.”
12  And they shall be called The Holy People,
The Redeemed of the Lord;
and you shall be called Sought Out,
A City Not Forsaken.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
My friends and not grow weary by what you hear and see on the news. Do not let the circumstances of the desolate world we live in discourage you from knowing God still finds favor in His people. He not only has a plan to restore you and give you a new name, but there is a plan to even restore this entire world to what he originally created it to be.
I hope none of us want to remain in this identity, but look forward to shedding this name and taking on our new Christ.
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