Sometimes you find prophecy fulfilled where you least expect it. This morning I found it in a name. A name that jumped off the page when I read it. An ancient name . . . a former name . . . a name, mentioned only in passing, as it had been replaced with a new name. But a few minutes lingering over the name . . . and doing a bit of online concordance work . . . and it is a name that shouts out the glory of a Sovereign, promise fulfilling God!
Here’s the prophecy . . .
I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it. (Isaiah 41:19-20 ESV)
Though the prophet was called to proclaim judgment on an unfaithful people, he was also given words of consolation and assurance that the God who disciplined them would not forsake them. That though they would be given over to exile, they would not be forgotten in a foreign land. That though they would know a wilderness experience . . . though they would, once again, spend decades in a desert reality . . . that God would care for them and would protect them . . . so that they would “consider and understand together, that the hand of the LORD has done this.”
That provision would be through trees planted in the desert that had no business being there. God’s reminder of His ever-present care would be found in the wilderness through the beauty of out-of-place vegetation like the “the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.” And this morning I found some myrtle . . . the fulfilling of a prophetic promise in the least likely of places. I found Hadassah.
Now there was a Jew in Susa the citadel whose name was Mordecai . . . who had been carried away from Jerusalem among the captives carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away. He was bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther, the daughter of his uncle, for she had neither father nor mother. The young woman had a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at, and when her father and her mother died, Mordecai took her as his own daughter. So when the king’s order and his edict were proclaimed, and when many young women were gathered in Susa the citadel in custody of Hegai, Esther also was taken into the king’s palace and put in custody of Hegai, who had charge of the women. (Esther 2:5-8 ESV)
We know her, most commonly as Esther, her Persian name. But when she was born in the land of exile, when she drew her first breath in the barren land of God’s discipline, her parents had given her the name Hadassah, or literally, “myrtle.” She would be the beautiful flowering tree that had no place taking root and growing strong in the desert. Through the story of “Myrtle,” though God’s name would not be explicitly mentioned, it would be evident that the “hand of God” was present and active . . . His people would know that “the Holy One of Israel” had created a flowing tree to rise up as a shining star (Esther means star) in order to protect His beloved people.
Hadassah. What’s in a name? Lots!
It brings to mind another Name. A Name I love to hear . . . and love to speak it’s worth . . . it sounds like music in my ear . . . the sweetest Name on earth. A Name that also brings to remembrance thoughts of God’s great provision . . . of His never-forsaking presence . . . of His unceasing power . . . of His everlasting presence . . . and of His wilderness reviving promise. That sweet, sweet name of Jesus . . . hinted at by finding a bit of “myrtle” in a foreign land. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
To Him be all glory . . .