Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

What is in a Name?

What do you think of when you hear the name Jeroboam?  What about the name Baalam?  What about the name Paul?  What about the name Jesus?  I think that most who read their Bibles would agree that Jeroboam made Israel to sin, that Balaam was covetous, that Paul was faithful and that the Lord is both despised and precious.

Jeroboam:  1 Kings 14:16  “And He will give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who sinned and who made Israel sin.”

Jeroboam had been made ruler over ten tribes of Israel by the LORD.  Because of the sins of Solomon who worshiped heathen gods late in his life, ten tribes were removed from the control of King David’s dynasty.  But while Jeroboam was told by the prophet Ahiljah the Shilonite that the LORD was giving him the ten tribes, he didn’t have enough confidence in the LORD to believe that he could keep the ten tribes if his subjects went to Jerusalem to worship.  As a result, he set up a system of worship that involved idols.  He told the people that worshiping His idols with his priests on his feast days in the cities of his choice would be the worship of the God who had brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt (See 1 Kings 12).  God didn’t see it that way.  Jeroboam not only sinned but he caused Israel to sin.  And that is the way he has gone down in history.

Balaam:  2 Peter 2:15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.

Balaam was a man who knew the mind of God.  God spoke to him and through him.  He was hired to tell the king of the Moabites how to defeat Israel.  Balaam could not get God to let him to curse Israel; but he did know that If Israel intermarried with heathen women, it would ultimately lead to their downfall.  So he gave that counsel to Balak, the Moabite king, for the honor and money that Balak offered him.  He goes down in history as a covetous man who valued money and honor over faithfulness to God.  This convinces me that unsaved, unregenerate people have spiritual insight and often use it to try to defeat the purposes of God.

Paul:  2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Paul was saved or born again or converted on the Damascus Road.  From then to the end of his life he faithfully served the One that he had once persecuted.  It ended up costing him his life.  But his tombstone could have honestly included the words in 2 Timothy 4:7.  Paul was faithful to the Lord to the end.

Jesus:  Matthew 1:21 “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Whenever the name of Jesus is mentioned it causes a reaction.  To some it is the name of the One person that they hate.  They feel that His followers have caused wars, that they have been prejudiced, that they have been more interested in controlling the lives of others than they have been interested in controlling their own lives.  To them He is Jesus of Nazareth, the despised city. 

To others His name is fragrant and lovely.  When they hear His name they think of One who loved them and sacrificially paid for their sins.  They think of a friend that sticks closer than a brother.  They think of a coming King who will reign in righteousness.  To those who believe He is precious (1 Peter 2:7).

When we are dead and gone (and, yes, that day is coming unless the Lord returns soon), what will people remember when they hear our names?  I have a good idea what people will say about me.  Some unbelievers will consider me a religious zealot who wasted my life serving a God that they think is fictitious when I could have used my university degrees and CPA certificate to make a difference in this world.  Some Christians will consider me a legalist because I find New Testament teaching to be socially relevant yet today.  Some will consider me to be a liberal because I don’t get politically involved and I don’t rail against the government that  allows certain specific sins today.  Some will consider me to be idealistic since I think the Gospel is still the answer to man’s sin problem.

While different people will see me in different ways, I hope that I leave a legacy of absolute faith in the Lord and in the Bible as His inspired Word.  I hope people will be able to say that I stayed faithful to the Biblical message of salvation.  I hope that they know that I feared God.  I hope that they know I loved the Lord.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of June 22, 2014

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