But Who is Jedidiah?

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The Bible has several examples of times when God intervened in human families to give someone a special name or change a given name to convey a special meaning about the role a person would play in God’s plans. We can read of God giving the names Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Israel (Genesis 17:5, 17:15, 17:19, 32:28) to convey truths about His plan, His promises, and His people, and to establish a reputation for them that would help shape them into what He wanted. At various other times God gave names to other people, and in most instances the name given by God was embraced and became the name the person was best known by.

One notable exception to the acceptance of a God given name was the man to whom God gave the name Jedediah. When this person was born, we read that “The LORD loved him; and because the LORD loved him, He sent word through Nathan the prophet to name him Jedidiah.” The name Jedidiah means, “loved by the LORD”. However, the child’s parents also gave him a name, which meant “peaceable”, and this was the name he came to be known by throughout his life. As this child grew, he indeed lived up to his name and was known as a man of peace, which is wonderful, but the time came when he seemed to forget the name God had given him, a name that designated him as an object of God’s love. In his pursuit of peace he made many compromises with ungodly people and ungodly activities. As he crafted alliances to maintain political peace he made allowances that destroyed his internal peace. Rather than confront his errors he sought internal peace through even more ungodly choices. He did not return God’s affection by obeying His commandments, which is the only way to respond lovingly to God’s love, but instead his heart “turned away from the LORD” and he “did not keep the LORD’s command.” The result was nothing but trouble for this king and his people and those who came after him. Rather than being raised with a constant reminder in the name Jedidiah that God loved him, this man was raised with a constant reminder that he was expected to be peaceable, as his parents called him. Because he lost his focus on the LORD, the peace he obtained by compromise did not last, and not only were his people left facing aggression from others, they were left divided against themselves.

There is no real peace apart from the love of God, and the only response to God’s love that will produce peace is humble acceptance of His will and obedience to His commands. Solomon, the man whose name means peaceable, but whom God called Jedidiah, loved by the LORD (II Sam. 12:24-25), pursued peace with his neighbors and his adversaries at the expense of his relationship to the God who loved him. He and his people suffered disastrous consequences (I Kings 11). Abandoning the will of God for the sake of “getting along” or making peace through moral or spiritual compromise will always prove to be a disaster for those whom the LORD loves. Let the love of God be your name, your reputation, and your motivation, and the peace of God will permeate your life as well. Be a Jedidiah.

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