Nobody wants their family name associated with negativity or tragedy. For instance, when is the last time you met someone named Delilah? What is the first thing you hear of when someone mentions the last name of Manson?
Part of the family dynamic in cultures all over the world is to defend the name we bear. It’s innate. It’s not something we’re taught – it’s a pride we’re born with. In Biblical times the name could describe ones character, past, or can represent a blessing upon the child for the future.
I just recently saw a video of a teenager who was being interviewed after a swim meet. Apparently someone had broken the record of his older brother. What was his response? He said that he was going to take back the record – that he was going to defend his family name.
In Japanese culture what others think has a more powerful impact upon behavior than what the individual believes. They desire to preserve their honor and the honor of their family. If someone were to disgrace the family name, in ancient Japanese days the law of the Bushido required the they commit suicide to sustain their honor and eradicate shame.
This is what makes Daniel 9:19 so powerful.
Daniel 9:19 – “O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your name.”
I don’t know about you but I rarely think about that fact that I bear the name of God. Daniel’s cry to God was that he would preserve the city of Jerusalem and not destroy it because of the sin of the people. It was the line of reasoning that he concluded his prayer with that fascinated me. He knew that God forgives and he knew that God hears and acts… but it was the name he was defending.
He desired to live a life that defended the name of God.
People bear names – but so do cities. My city bears the name of God and it is my responsibility to pray for God’s blessings upon it because the people who bear His name reside there. It is a holy city filled with unholy people.
May we defend the name we bear and passionately pursue to bless those in the city that bears His name also.