The Dark Side Of Biblical Names
In the past, Biblical names like Peter, James, John, Esther, Mary, etc., were favorite name choices for the arrival of a newborn baby. Today Biblical names are still frequently popular.
Biblical names have a bright side in that we pick names with a positive pedigree. Peter was a rock, a cornerstone for the apostles and believers after Jesus ascended into heaven. James called for early believers to act as well as talk because faith without works is dead. Esther was a beautiful queen who saved many lives of her people when the Jews were in danger from a plot to massacre them.
The dark side of positive Biblical names is that we may be more suited to Biblical names that come with a record of shame rather than fame. Usually, people don’t call their sons Cain. Cain has the distinction of murdering his brother Able. Cain was doomed to be a restless wanderer on the earth because he was angry at God for rejecting his gift but accepting his brother’s offering. How many times could our name be Cain because we are upset because our efforts are rejected, but a brother or sister has been recognized and celebrated?
It has been my experience that few people are innocent of holding grudges, some small and some deep, long, and festering. Herodias, the wife of King Herod, held a deep, festering grudge towards John the Baptist. Mark 16:17-20 states, “For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So, Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she could not because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.”
The desire to get back at someone who has offended or hurt us is an intense desire in our flesh or human nature. The religious leaders were offended by Jesus and envied his popularity with the people. They dismissed that Jesus could be the Messiah. They felt that he threatened their authority and position and had him crucified. Resentment can gradually become deadly hatred and murder. It is an excellent power source for the devil to destroy many lives when animosity becomes consuming hate, as in the case of Herodias.
In time she got her opportunity to kill John the Baptist. King Herod made a drunken promise to Herodias’ daughter because she danced well before the king and his dinner guests. The king promised to give the girl whatever she asked for, up to half his kingdom.
Herodias told her daughter to ask for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Yes, Herodias got John’s head on a platter from her daughter. Her resentment proved to be evil. So, let us all pray: “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” May God help us to repent when our names are Cain or Herodias.