The Yacht Game
The Yacht Game (by Paul Holland)
Back in the 1950s, a Canadian couple developed a dice game to play with their friends while they were spending time together on their yacht. The game became quite popular so in 1956, they asked a game designer, Edwin Lowe (who had already popularized the game “Bingo”) to market the game. Lowe bought the rights to their dice game, gave it a new name - “Yahtzee” - and sold you a set (or, at least me).
Israel suffered from rampant immorality, selfishness, and idolatry during the days of Isaiah. Imagine the immorality of modern America but worse - unbridled sin among God’s people! They needed a new direction, a new heart, new character - a new name.
Isaiah, led by the Spirit of God, predicted just such an occurrence: “The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give” (62:2). Isaiah foresaw a day when Israel would be given “a new status, a radically new situation, or a new characteristic or association” (Smith, 647).
This new name would indicate, as Israel’s history has done, that Israel would be put on a new path, headed in a new direction. Consider the name change for Abraham (Gen. 17:5) and Sarah (Gen. 17:15), and Jacob (Gen. 32:28).
In fact, in Isaiah’s preaching, he has foreseen Israel getting several new “names” such as: “City of the Lord” (60:14), “Hephzibah” (“My delight is in her”) and “Beulah” (“Married;” 62:4), “salvation” and “praise” (60:18). The people will be “priests” and “ministers of the Lord” (61:6), “holy people, redeemed, sought after, and city no longer forsaken” (62:12).
Clearly, the new name would reflect a new character, a new nature, as God produces a new entity. All this is brought about by the Servant of the Lord who would take away the issue of sin, transgression, iniquity, and wickedness (Isaiah 53).
Jesus is the Servant of the Lord, the Suffering Messiah. He, through His righteous life, brought the possibility of a new nature, new character, for God’s children. He is our “righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).
When Christ changes our character, our nature (Eph. 4:20-24), He also gives us a new name. We are now known as the “Christ-followers” or, from the original language, “Christians.” This new name was named by the mouth of God once the “nations” came to see God’s righteousness and Christ’s glory. Once the nations began entering the kingdom, God gave us all a new name, the name “Christian” (Acts 11:26).
Glorify God in this new name (1 Peter 4:16).