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The Freedom of My Name

By Marlene Houk

Burke County


Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage


Who are you? Have you discovered the meaning of your name? I am convinced that my name is as important to God and even more so than it is to me.

My name is Marlene, and in Hebrew it means – from the tower. In fact, my name reminds me of Proverbs 18:10 which says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
I asked my mom years ago why she named me Marlene. “I liked the name of the famous German actress Marlene Dietrich.” she answered. (Dietrich dominated the silent films and remained popular from the 1920s and even through the 1990s.)

Names are important to God. Proverbs 22:1 says, A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.”

God bestowed upon Adam, the first created human, the thrill of naming the animals that he had created. Sometimes, he changed people’s names in the Bible to signify the great change in their lives. For example, Abram’s name changed to Abraham, and Jacob’s name changed to Israel.

An article on summarizes a few things about naming our children that emphasize outside influences in our choices for baby names.  For example, the article discusses the fact from a new study that many parents name their children because of a “QWERTY” effect. This is a preference to use letters located on the right side of our keyboards. (This keyboard, called QWERTY, is named after the keys on the top row of letters starting at the left.) These names, mostly from the right-side keys, are popular today: Violet, Olivia, Liam, and Noah.


.      The article states that “Yet one study by the University of Oklahoma found that parents are more likely to pick patronyms (naming kids after dads — John Junior, Richard III) in the face of terrorist threats. After 9/11, patronym use soared.”.

These attitudes reflect God’s declaration of the importance of names.  And He is especially committed to His children’s names. He considers his children to be called by His name as  2 Chronicles 7:14 declares, “ If people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The Lord considers names important, and this fact snagged my attention upon studying Rizpah, an obscure woman whose story is tucked into 2 Samuel 3:7-8 and 2 Samuel 21:8-13.

With a Judas kiss, Rizpah’s world betrayed her through its culture and government. She lived in Israel, a nation that allowed its kings to acquire multiple wives and concubines. When Rizpah entered King Saul’s world, the citizens and King Saul showered adulation and acceptance upon her. But, in total betrayal, without power, she watched helplessly as her innocent sons were snatched away and condemned to death by hanging.  She plunged into the pit of despair, and no neighboring political power came to her aid for she possessed no connections. Her beauty could not save her, and the king who would have protected her was dead. The deceptive pleasures of fulfilling the role of a concubine had deserted her, and no beauty product or sparkling gown could heal the grief and rage she felt at this injustice to her blameless sons.

It finally dawned on me that she was trying to tell me something infinitely precious. Through the amazing repetition of her name – coupled firmly with her father’s name – in eight short verses, she sends her message to us. This happens four times in eight short verses – a significant percentage.

Observe the growing repetition of her parentage that leaves its indelible mark on the pages of Scripture.

  1. Aiah was Rizpah’s father when she became King Saul’s concubine as she began to climb the ladder of popularity and in her ascent to power and affluence. (2 Samuel 3:7)
  2. Aiah remained her father when her life plunged to its deepest sorrow as her sons were jerked away from her. (2 Samuel 21:8)
  3. The Bible repeats again, reassuring us that her father still claimed her when, out of her darkness, she acted in courage and resoluteness by driving away the vultures who would dishonor her sons even further. (2 Samuel 21:10)
  4. And, in the fourth time, when she was vindicated by King David and her act of bravery honored by the respectful burial of her sons, she was still the daughter of her father. (2 Samuel 21:11)

Rizpah’s message to us is this: regardless of circumstances, as God’s child, your name and relationship with Father God remains the same. Your name, Christian, and your Father’s name triumphs through the raging storms of life and miry pits of grief and anger. In spite of the devil’s attacks and his attempts to imprison us and place us in bondage again, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are free! The devil tries to make us forget who we are. Romans 6:6 is our declaration of independence.Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our faith has no boundaries to limit our joy.  Our chains of bondage to sin click open. And we can revel in a rich, deep relationship with Jesus as our Savior. Enjoy your freedom!


Marlene Houk is a regualr contributor to Blue Ridge Christain News. Her passion is to delve deeply into the truths of Bible women and to discuss those in Bible Studies called Backstage Pass to Bible Women. She and her husband discover joy, nurture, and challenge in their church. Her contact is

You can Purchase her book, Hidden in a List: secrets from Bible women, on Amazon HERE.