As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni But his father named him Benjamin. (Gen 35:18).
Recorded in Gen 35:26-20 was the story of Rachel, the beloveth wife of Jacob as she travailed to begat her second child, probably due to her sorrow, pain and impending death, she named her son Ben-Oni, which in Hebrew means ‘the son of my sorrow’ but Jacob was quick in rejecting the sorrowful name, he called the boy Benjamin Instead, which in Hebrew means the son of my right hand.
That was Rachel, forming the identity of her last child based on her present circumstance. There are questions to ask, is she aware of the promises God made to Abraham? The covenant and blessings? Guess she never knew her son was going to be a father of a nation, or how come she was quick to pronounce a verdict on the boy?
Little Ben was lucky, his father quickly changed his name, but like most of us, Jabez was not so lucky, he had to live with the name till he became an adult.
Of course, there are many forces to contend with, and one of them is the identity maker, the value makers, those who will judge you based on an encounter, a circumstance or event. These people will judge you with your past, they have known you for long, so somehow, they consider themselves an authority over your life. The stage you are in doesn’t matter to them, they are ignorant of your trouble and pains, they do not know your hopes and aspirations, all they see are incidences that are not your doing, circumstances you couldn’t control, mistakes that you’ve learned from. Though you are trying to move on from your past, these people are not ready to move, in fact, they have built a mansion in your past and they will do all they can to make you live there.
Some identity makers may be families who know where you are coming from, friends who knew your tale, neighbours who know your shadow, or ex-lovers who have seen your vulnerabilities and weaknesses.
It doesn’t matter who they are, the most important thing is whose report will you believe? Despite a name change, Benjamin could have chosen to be a son of sorrow cause his birth ended the life of his mother, but no! He had a destiny to fulfill. Jabez got tired and cried to God. But remember Nabal, Abigail’s husband, he was named a fool, he lived his life as a fool, and he died as one…His choice!
What are people calling you? A weakling, a wimp, a coward, an unfortunate person, unlucky, clumsy and stupid? The list continues, but who do you think you are? Till you agree with them and submit to their estimate, neither what people call you nor how they estimate you will determine your destiny.
Jesus walked on the earth as the Messiah, the son of God, to some people, he was their healer, their provider, their teacher, and master, but to some other people, he was ‘that boy’, the ‘son of a Carpenter ‘, Jesus didn’t stay with those who considered him to be of little value or worth… where you dwell may determine how you end.
So I ask you, who you? A Ben-Oni or a Benjamin? What is your value? Are you worthy or worthless? And where are you? Where you are celebrated or where you are tolerated?
Hope you are enjoying the weekend. We love comments, contributions and questions, drop them in the comment section below. Shalom!