Friday, September 28, 2012

Could You Spell That Again?

I don't know if you ever have trouble reading through the entire Bible. Sure, you might like the extreme action, but perhaps you struggle to read the more flowery parts. I wish I knew how to help you because I love the entire Bible, even the boring parts.

But there is benefit to reading every word, even the hard-to-pronounce names. You shouldn't skip these parts, even as a pastor. I would certainly never recommend a pastor changing his text simply to avoid Old Testament names. Again, I don't know anyone who would do that...

If you wander by Isaiah, at times both flowery and confusing (double win!), you can find this interesting story.

Then the Lord said to me, “Make a large signboard and clearly write this name on it: Maher-shalal-hash-baz.”  I asked Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberekiah, both known as honest men, to witness my doing this.
Then I slept with my wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, “Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz. For before this child is old enough to say ‘Papa’ or ‘Mama,’ the king of Assyria will carry away both the abundance of Damascus and the riches of Samaria.” ~Isaiah 8:1-4

Okay, first of all, I would need God's help even spelling that name. How many h's God? 

Secondly, how many prophet's kids are named by points God wants to make to the Israelites? Hey, remember that time that Assyria came and plundered the land? Yeah, I was named after that. 

I try to imagine how little Hash-baz, as I like to call him, dealt with that name. Because he's a prophet's kid and trying to please, you just know this kid was the type who would not accept being called a nickname. No Maher or M-dizzle for this kid. He'd want to be called by his full name. It reminds me of a story of a kid named Ricky-Ticky-Tembo and his friend named Chang. 

You can read more about the story by Arlene Mosel if you like to read long names. To make a long story short, it doesn't end well for the Tembo-meister. So what can we learn from all of this?

  • Never skip parts of the Bible, because ridiculousness can be found in every corner.
  • If you're going to follow God, be prepared for Him to care about the details. 
  • Be okay with nicknames. Shalal-tweezy just may take off. 

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