Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Will You Call It?

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19)
Here’s an amazing thing: God created man in His own image — to be like Him — and gave him dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). He formed Adam from the dust, then puffed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a “living being” (Genesis 2:7). The Hebrew is nephesh chayah. The Targum Onkelos, an ancient Jewish commentary, says that man became a “speaking spirit.” Just as God had the ability to speak — and by it called the heavens and earth into existence — man, created in the likeness of God, had the same ability to use word.

We see this in the first thing God had Adam do: He brought the animals to him to see what Adam would call them. Notice, God did not tell Adam what to call them. He simply observed what Adam named them — that is, how Adam exercised his dominion and the power of his words, and whatever Adam called each animal, that was its name. The decision was Adam’s. God did not change it in any way, for He had given dominion of the planet over to Adam.

This often forgotten little episode is quite significant today because the names you give things determine how you see and relate to them, and what they will be in your life. Your words have a creative ability. This is a vitally important truth to remember as you consider the current economic climate and the challenges it presents: Whatever you call it, that will be its name!

What will you call this present situation you find yourself in? Because you will name it something. Will you name it out of fear, or out of faith? Because it will be one way or the other.

Remember what Job went through. We know that satan wanted to have a go at him, and God allowed it to happen (see Job 1-2). But what a lot of people do not see is that Job himself was also a participant in what happened to him. He left an opening for satan to exploit. It was not a matter of sin, as Job’s three friends had wrongfully supposed, for God had already declared that Job was “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). No, this was about something Job spoke out of his own mouth. When satan’s calamities began to come upon him, Job revealed what had been going on in his heart: “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25).

Great fear and dread had gripped Job long before his physical situation started to fall apart. It filled his heart in abundance, for it was not just a little anxiety and worry he possessed but great fear and dread. Because it was in his heart in abundance, it is very likely that he often spoke it out, calling it with his words. And whatever he called it, that was its name, and was exactly what happened to him. In the end, we see that Job had to “repent in dust and ashes” for wrongfully accusing God for his troubles (John 42:1-6).

Or remember what happened with the twelve men Moses sent to spy out the land of Canaan, which God had promised to give to Israel. Ten came back with a sorry and fearful report. They recognized that it was indeed a marvelous land, flowing with “milk and honey,” but then they called forth their fear: “Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large … We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we … There we saw the giants … and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13).

However, the other two spies, Joshua and Caleb gave a very different assessment.
Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30)
The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, “a land which flows with milk and honey.” Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them. (Numbers 14:7-9)
The ten and the two each called the situation by very different names:
  • The ten said, “We saw the giants.” The two said, “They are our bread.”
  • The ten said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” The two said, “We are well able to overcome.”
  • The ten said, “We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” The two said, “The LORD is with us … He will bring us into this land and give it to us.”
Whatever each called it, that was its name and how it operated in their lives. The ten never went up against the “giants,” never possessed the Promised Land, but died in the wilderness. On the other hand, Joshua and Caleb eventually went in, overcame and possessed the land, for God was with them and gave it to them.

Some people say, “Well, I call it like I see it.” Okay, then maybe you need to change the way you see it. The ten spies saw themselves as grasshoppers and then assumed that that was how the Canaanites saw them. Joshua and Caleb saw something different. They saw that God was with them and that He had given them a promise. The ten spies spoke out of their fear. Joshua and Caleb spoke out of faith in God and what He said — and that made all the difference, for whatever they called it, that was its name.

God has given promises to those who know, love and serve Him. Here are a few that are pertinent to the current economic situation:
  • God has given us the ability to create wealth, because He is establishing His covenant in the earth (Deuteronomy 8:18).
  • God commands the blessing on us in our storehouses and in all to which we set our hands (Deuteronomy 28:8).
  • God enables us to prosper in whatever we do (Psalm 1:3).
  • God does not hold back any good thing from those who do what is right (Psalm 84:11).
  • Wealth and riches will be in our houses (Psalm 112:3).
  • The blessing of the Lord makes us rich, and there is no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22).
  • God makes His grace abound to us so that we, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians (9:8). Paul made this statement in a financial context.
  • God supplies all our needs according to glorious riches in Christ (Philippians 4:19). In other words, it is not about our own resources but His.
  • God’s desire is for us to prosper in all things and be in health, even as our souls prosper (3 John 2).
Don’t over-spiritualize these promises to the exclusion of material prosperity, for true and lasting material prosperity is based upon the reality of spiritual prosperity. God wants you to prosper in all things (finances are not excluded) according to the prosperity of your inner being.

What will you call your financial circumstance at this time? Will you name it out of fear or out of faith? Will you look at it in the panicky way the world sees it, or will you let the promises of God change the way you see it, and therefore, what you will call it? For whatever you call it, that will be its name in your life.