So what is in a name? In the Old Testament, when children were named, it often told a lot about what the mother or father were going through at the time.
Genesis 41:51-52 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
What is in a Name?
So what is in a name? In the Old Testament, when children were named, it often told a lot about what the mother or father were going through at the time. Just think if we used the same practice today? In the case of Joseph, he was telling the story of what God had brought him through while he was down in Egypt. Instead of complaining, he was praising God for what He had accomplished in his life.
Manasseh, Joseph’s firstborn son, showed that Joseph was not bitter about all that happened to him while he was in Egypt. He could have been pretty bitter about being a slave and then being lied on by Potiphar’s wife and ending up in a prison. Instead, the birth of this son allowed him to forget all the toil of years in Egypt. It also allowed him to forget about all the wickedness his own brothers did to him when they sold him into slavery out of envy. The principle he learned was forgetting those things which are behind and pressing forward to the calling in Jesus Christ he had. Joseph decided early on in his life that he was just going to obey God no matter the cost. That is the way we should live.
Ephraim, Joseph’s second born son, showed Joseph that affliction produces fruit in the Christian’s life. God caused Joseph to be fruitful in a land that was full of affliction and trial. We are only going to be fruitful as Christians as God brings us through trials and tribulations. We may not all go through the same affliction Joseph did, but we all have our own cross to pick up daily if we are going to follow Christ. When Christ said we have to deny ourself and pick up OUR cross, he meant it was a personal cross. It is a cross made for you. What may be major affliction to one person may be nothing to another. Whatever your cross may be, it needs to produce fruit in your life. It needs to change your heart from being deceitful to be full of the love of God. Joseph’s trials produced fruit in his life by the time Ephraim was born.
It Takes Time To Produce Fruit
It takes a lot of time to produce real fruit in a Christian’s life. It can take years before an apple tree is mature enough to produce fruit. It took many years between Joseph leaving Canaan and Ephraim being born. Often God needs to start with the trials. Then we need to go through it with less and less murmuring as we learn to be content in whatever state or condition we are in. Next we start to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our life. This process can take 10, 20 or 30 years in a Christian’s life just like it did with Joseph. We need to be patient with people. Just like different kinds of fruit trees produce fruit at different ages, the same is true of Christians. It takes time to produce fruit. So the answer is there is a lot in a name. It really tells the story of Joseph’s life in detail.