When God commanded Adam to tend the Garden, creating in him a passion for the great outdoors, and instructed him to keep evil out, making Adam a warrior at heart, He also gave him one other interesting command.
“Name the animals, Adam, ” God said. And then He brought the animals to Adam, to see what he would name them.
Think about that for a minute. Is it as simple as it sounds? And, if so, why didn’t God simply speak their names into existence and place them permanently in Adam’s memory?
Why would God tell Adam to choose what to call the animals? What was the purpose? And what would that look like?
“Hmmm…. Let me see… You look like an elephant…. and you look more like a hedge hog… yeah, ‘hedgehog’, I like that.”
I didn’t get what ‘naming the animals’ meant until my friend Bob Hamp, a pastor at Gateway Church Texas, known as ‘the freedom-guy’, visited our church. Bob explained that to ‘name’ someone or something back in the Bible times was to ‘call out the characteristics of’, not simply ‘give a name to’ someone or something.
For example, Adam’s name, given to him by God, calls out the characteristics of his identity. “Adam” (Hebrew אָדָם comes from the trilateral root אָדַם ( ‘ADM ), means “red”, “fair”, “handsome”. In the Book of Genesis, Adam occurs as a proper name in chapters 2-5. As a masculine noun, ‘adam’ means “man”, “mankind” usually in a collective context as in humankind, and may also refer to the individual human. The noun ‘adam’ is also the masculine form of the word adamah which means “ground” or “earth”. It is related to the words: adom (red), admon (ruddy), and dam (blood).
If we apply this to Adam naming the animals, we see that he was given authority to call out the characteristics of the animals, to ‘name’ their identity, so to speak. The lion is ‘the king of the jungle’ because Adam called out that strength, and so on.
And this is the next level of authority God gave to Adam, and to men in general, along with the authority to fight spiritually for your families; to ‘call out’ of those under your leadership, the qualities and characteristics that are desirable and honouring to God. This is why the words a father speaks are so important. Call your son a lazy fool, and you are actually ‘calling into existence’ these things. Proverbs 18:21 says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. This is why. Words impact identity and core beliefs.
It is a known fact that when a father affirms his sons and daughters, and speaks life and truth over their identity, that they are more likely to do well, to succeed in every area of life, than those who lack this affirmation. A mother can affirm and speak positively, and give her sons and daughters much to empower them but, ultimately, it is the male affirmation that empowers more than any other. If Daddy is proud of his little princess, nothing else matters. If Dad thinks his teen daughter is beautiful, she is less likely to run to the wrong guys. If Dad is proud of his son, the son is less likely to look to the wrong source for identity. Yes, some still choose the dark path, but statistics indicate the odds decrease.
Women who are affirmed by their husbands, whose husbands ‘call out’ of them characteristics of beauty, grace, value and love, by word and deed, are going to have more fulfilling marriage relationships.
As I sit across the table from women today, their one constant cry is to be acknowledged, affirmed, noticed, loved and valued. There is a vacancy in the hearts of many women because their husbands have chosen apathy or abusive behaviours, and sometimes both. Apathy towards their wives. Apathy towards their children, towards life, and abusive behaviour toward anyone who refuses to surrender quickly.
Men, God is calling you, again, to pick up your spiritual swords and take a stand against sin and evil. To reclaim the authority He offers you, and say, ‘regardless what the rest of you choose, whether you are content to follow in the footsteps of past generations, or the footsteps your nation has chosen, I am taking leadership personally and, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!’
This requires ownership, sacrifice and commitment. It means that the church is done babysitting your family. The bishops, and preachers, and ministers are not the ones you run to, to bring your wife and children in line. Nor do you take the authoritarian approach. Rather, you call out of your sons and daughters the characteristics of godly young men and godly young women.
It means that you will love your wives with sacrificial love, the kind of love Jesus offered through His death and sacrifice. It requires developing relationship, investing your heart and connecting at a soul level. It means you get to know those God has placed in your care and reveal His heart to them.
As you take this role seriously, and repent of apathy and control, God will bless you. You will find that the trips to ‘higher uppers’ in the church will become less and less necessary, because your wife, your sons and your daughters will have the attention and affirmation they are looking for, and you will be respected. Because respect is earned.
Men of God, will you let God name you, calling out your true identity, and, in turn, call out greatness in your wives and children?
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/