Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's in a name?

As I have been fielding the inevitable "Why Jericho?" question frequently in the past week, I have had plenty of occasion to ask myself that very question.

Laura and I wanted our daughter's name to serve as a reminder and testimony to her heritage in the kingdom of God. Jacob was given a new name, after wrestling with God, and many of the disciples were re-named by Christ. The power and importance of names is muted in American culture but is a long tradition that should be reclaimed by the Christian church. My name, Asahel, roughly means "God works" or "God is able." My Christian testimony certainly is a story of the faithful fulfillment of that name. Interestingly, Jericho is not originally a Hebrew name and has an ambiguous meaning in Hebrew. In Arabic, it means "fragrant". The richness of Jericho's place in history, however, is strong. 

The Battle of Jericho found in the book of Joshua is a story of God's grace to his people. We are reminded that "it's not by the sword, that we'll win the land," but that "in God we trust."

In the New Testament, Jericho is mentioned in the parable of the good Samaritan. Keith Green powerfully presents the parable in song (see embedded video). Laura and I (Laura especially) have a strong interest and heart for the Middle East. If only the truth of this parable would be realized in the political realities of the present. Strangers and neighbors seems to be the crux of our world's turmoil. From immigration, to political rhetoric, race, and terrorism many are left on the road to Jericho while we squabble in fear and idolatry.

We have an earthly heritage as well, and we ought to recognize and honor that heritage. Laura and I chose the middle name "Faye" in honor of Laura's mother, Loretta Faye Helmuth. Faye is in turn also a tribute to Jericho's great-grandmother who had the middle name May and gave all of her children rhyming middle names. Jericho's 9 month year old cousin is named Rachel Mae Loker.

Jericho Faye Church

Our family's vision verse is Isaiah 58. "If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness...Those from among you shall build the old waste places, You shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In."

May Jericho rise and fall in the will of God. May she be strong but meek before her maker. As Rahab served God, may Christ serve Jericho and be the savior of her city. Though ruinous in sin, may the walls of this family be rebuilt and all of us made new. Indeed, let the trumpets sound!


  1. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter Jericho! You shared such an adorable picture of her! She is as pretty as her mother. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts on her naming. I always like to hear a story rather than "it sounded nice" or "we made it up." There is great significance for you behind her first name, and the story of her middle name was very special to hear. The meaning of your wife's name is often considered to be "crowned with laurels." It has often reminded me that we as women are daughters of the King.

    The four names our two daughters carry are biblical and family names. Their first and middle names also have a relationship significance. All three of us girls have a version of a name meaning "bitter." When I remember that a "favored one" of the Lord had such a name, I am reminded that "bitter" is plenty good enough for us. It always makes me smile when I think of it.

    Your prayer for her is wonderful.


  2. This is such a beautiful post! I started to tear up reading it... I love the name you chose for your daughter! I hope I'm able to give my future children meaningful and rich names too someday

  3. Thank you for sharing. You certainly have a beautiful daughter!