What’s In a Name?


The Carolinas’ favorite destination is none other than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s a beautiful place and is the second fastest growing metropolitan area in the entire country because of its climate and expansive beaches.

How did this place, which was unknown and originally called “New Town” come to be named “Myrtle Beach,” and well-known? Around the turn of the 20th century a man named Franklin Burroughs began to see the potential here for a tourism destination that would rival both the Florida and Northeast beaches. One of the first things needed was a new name for the area. A contest was held to choose one, and Burroughs’ wife suggested naming area after the southern wax myrtle, which grew abundantly here. The name took, and for generations, “Myrtle Beach” has been synonymous with fun and relaxation.

What’s in a name?

“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” Genesis 32:28.

Today, many people give their children certain names because they may like the way they sound, but names carried a lot of weight in Bible times. They were given to solidify family ties or to communicate a message. Sometimes God even changed a person’s name if He had a new calling or direction for that person.

Here in Scripture, God gives Jacob a new name. A change had happened in Jacob’s life, giving him a new character. No longer was he a schemer, always looking out for himself. Through the circumstances God had allowed in his life, Jacob had been humbled and had become useful to God. This new name, Israel, held great significance and importance, and it also implied hope. Hope for the future and the rest of Jacob’s days.

God has used Israel mightily over the generations, but it all started with one man who was radically changed by God. Are you willing to be so changed by God that you don’t look like who you were? If so, there’s no limit to what He can do through you. Trust Him, no matter what, and watch what He can do.

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