Friday, January 26, 2007

What's in a name?

OK, quick: what was the name of Moses's father-in-law? Jethro, right? Right. But that's not the name we see the first time he's mentioned. Perhaps you remember the story:
Now a priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came to draw water and fill the troughs to water their father's flock. Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock. When the girls returned to Reuel their father, he asked them, "Why have you returned so early today?"
Exodus 2.16-18
I don't think we're told why there was a feud between the shepherds and the priest's family, but the thing I noticed here was the guy's name, "Reuel," which I think means "friend of God" in Hebrew.

Why two names? Is this like Simon and Peter, or Saul and Paul? We aren't told the story, but to have even one of my names be "friend of God" would be great. Presumably there was something in his character - I don't think it could have just been his job - that caused him to be called by that name. We know he's a man of hospitality and wisdom, and not much beyond that.

But he was called "friend of God." Am I a friend of God? And if I am, what in my character, in my habits, shows that? Not "what kind of show do I put on?" but "who am I, really?"

posted 1/29

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