Why Did God Want To Change King Solomon’s Name?

(I know that I had closed Defrosting Windows but I felt I needed to share this. We’ll see what happens.)

There is something very striking about Solomon’s birth to me. I wish we completely knew what caused God to feel the way He did about Baby Solomon. As far as I know, it is the one and only time in scripture that God looked at a newborn infant and said, “I love that baby”.  There is no greater adoration than to be adored by God. And in this case, God adored a baby!

And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved the child.–2 Samuel 12:24.

Wow, what a great way to start life. If God ever acted to demonstrate sovereign favoritism, then this would be such a case. If you don’t think that God’s declaration of love for this baby was a big deal, then consider this: God marked this occasion of His love for Baby Solomon by an event that had only occurred three other times before. God gave Solomon a new name! That’s a BIG deal.

and He sent word through Nathan the prophet that they should name him Jedidiah (which means “beloved of the LORD”), as the LORD had commanded.–2 Samuel 12:25

Look at those words again and let it sink in: that they should name him Jedidiah. They were supposed to do this!

In the Old Testament, a name change was a game change. When God gave a new name, it stuck.

  1. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.–Genesis 17:5.

As a result of this name change, Abraham was able to grasp His God-given identity and fulfill God’s intentions for him. He went from being simply “father” to “father of many nations”. Identity matters.

2. God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah.

God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.–Genesis 17:15

As a result of this name change, Sarah was able to grasp her God-given identity and fulfill God’s intentions for her.  She went from being simply “my princess” to “absolute Princess over many”. Identity matters.

3. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.–Genesis 35:10

As a result of this name change, Israel was able to grasp his God-given identity and fulfill God’s intentions for him.  He went from being an undermining supplanter to “One who prevails with God”. Identity matters.

Solomon means “peace”,  similar to Shalom. True peace is a result of embracing grace. Throughout the New Testament the term “Grace and Peace” is employed many times. Grace always comes first and peace follows as a result. This alignment is no accident.

Like Abraham, Sarah, and Israel before him, Solomon was uniquely blessed with a name given by God. God gave him a new name of Jedidiah, but it appears that this name was not embraced in the way that the others before him had done. We know the new names Abraham, Sarah, and Israel, but did you readily recognize who Jedidiah was??? Probably not. The God-given identity of Jedidiah appears to have been sidelined and forgotten. It appears that perhaps this name was never used again in Solomon’s life. Instead of this becoming his new name and identity, it simply became relegated as a token memorial of his birth. Almost like a middle name…It’s there, but you don’t use it.

Did Solomon hold fast to God like Abraham, Sarah, and Israel before him? Unfortunately no.

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.–1 Kings 11:4

How did this happen? Verse 2 gives us the tragic answer: Solomon held fast to them in love.

Do you see what happened? Held fast means to “cleave, attach, identify with”. Solomon lost his God-given identity of love  and began to love and identify with the ways of his wives and worshiped their Gods.

I wonder if Solomon’s life would have been different if the God-given, prophet-declared identity of Jedidiah had been utilized? Would a man who is continually reminded on a daily basis that he is Jedidiah, “The Beloved of God”, be so strongly drawn to seek out other loves and idolatry when he is made so aware of God’s love for him? Solomon had a peaceful reign (Solomon means peace). Yet, peace without fully embracing God’s love is like a lovely, tranquil- looking pond with no fish or life. This is vanity, and Solomon knew vanity.

Your identity in God is very important. The person who is continually reminded that they are a “New Creation in Christ Jesus, where old things have passed away, and all things have become new” is not as likely to be easily drawn to habitually embrace the old ways. The man who embraces and  is continually reminded on a daily basis that he is “the beloved of God”, is not so likely to seek out other loves as Solomon eventually did.

If you belong to Christ, then you are a new creation with a new identity. You are the beloved of God!

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you!–1 Thessalonians 1:4

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.–Colossians 3:12

Years ago, my wife went through a deep, severe battle with clinical depression. The right drugs with the right dosage were able to control the symptoms and bring the brain chemicals back into proper alignment. Yet, the entire ordeal had either revealed or had brought about a fractured identity. The psychiatrist prescribed scriptures for her to read, memorize, and speak to herself while looking in a mirror. In addition, myself and other significant people were picked to physically embrace her and remind her of these same truths daily that she was a beautiful, beloved child of God and that these other voices/feelings were lies. She could no longer rest merely on the identity of being a sinner saved by grace. She had to declare further scripture that she is a saint of the living God, more than a conqueror, and able to do all things through Christ who strengthens her. She had to know, experience, and abide in the reality that she was the beloved of God. She is restored and flourishing.

Embrace your identity in Christ and surround yourself with others who will remind you as well. God demonstrated His love for you that while you were a sinner, Christ died for you. Now that you are a saint, how much more readily are you able to embrace His love?

So was the name Jedidiah set aside forever? No, If you are in Christ, you are the Beloved of God. Read 1 John. The Bottom Line: YOU ARE JEDIDIAH. That’s right.  There is no greater adoration than to be adored by God. And in this case, God adores you! Declare today that YOU are Jedidiah, and don’t ever forget it.

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Husband, Father, Salesman, Veteran, Real Identity: Child of God
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