before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Delight by No Other Name - Tirzah Carmichael

On the 26th day of November, 2011, we met our firstborn child.  When it was announced that she was a girl, Deana and I were flooded with emotion.  Our own little Tirzah Carmichael Myers!  Now she is three years old, and such a treasure!

Often when we are introducing our family, people ask where we got the name "Tirzah".  This affords a wonderful chance to share.  The name comes from the Bible.  Each of our children have been given Bible names, and I love to tell about their origin.  I especially delight in the lesser known Bible people, those which many are not familiar.  Many times we can get the idea that we know all the stories and characters in the Scriptures, so it is profitable to be reminded and encouraged to dig deeper.

The name Tirzah is found 18 times in the word of God.  It is a proper Hebrew name with the meaning "Delight, Delightful, Delightsomeness".  (Besides being found in Scripture, it was the name chosen by Lew Wallace for the sister of Judah in the classic novel, Ben Hur.)  In the Bible, we find Tirzah the girl, and Tirzah the city. 

First, we find her name in the book of Numbers as one of (and probably the youngest of) five daughters of a man named Zelophehad.  Numbers 26:33 "And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah."

In the next chapter (Numbers 27:1-11), we see her approach Moses along with her sisters, making an appeal concerning the inheritance and possession of their father now deceased.  Moses brought their petition before the LORD, and God responded that "the daughters of Zelophehad speak right..." (Numbers 27:7).  Their wise appeal created a precedent that protected the concerns of family, property, and possession for the whole nation of Israel. (If England had adopted that statute, the Bennett family would not have faced entailment away from their five daughters, but then of course, we would not have the story of Pride and Prejudice, would we?)  

We find these same five daughters featured again at the end of that book, where we hear of their marriages (Numbers 36:1-13): "...For Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married...And they were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father..."

Finally, we find them in the land, as the tribes of Israel are taking possession of the Promised Land. Joshua 17:3-6 "But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.  And they came near before Eleazar the priest, and before Joshua the son of Nun, and before the princes, saying, The LORD commanded Moses to give us an inheritance among our brethren.  Therefore according to the commandment of the LORD he gave them an inheritance among the brethren of their father..."  What a fitting last mention, as we see the LORD giving them the desires of their heart as they committed their way unto Him!

We desire that our little Tirzah would also learn to make wise appeals and speak what is right.

The other times we find this name, it is speaking of a city, the City of Tirzah. 
It was a name of a royal city, which was conquered by Joshua (Joshua 12:24).
The city of Tirzah in Ephraim was chosen to be the capitol city of the Northern Kingdom of Israel when the kingdom was divided.  From the reign of Jeroboam through to the half point of Omri's 12 years, it was the city of kings (I Kings 14:17; 15:21,33; 16:6,8,9,15,17,23).  It continued to be a city of influence at least until the reign of the rebel king Menahem ten kings after Omri (II Kings 15:14-16).  The city of Tirzah evidently was a delightful place.  To have been chosen out of all the cities of the northern ten tribes, it must have been a place of beauty (being well situated, pleasant to look upon, and with impressive architecture) and strength (being defensible, with walls and towers).  Even before the nation divided, King Solomon likened its attractiveness and charm to the beauty of his beloved wife in Song of Solomon 6:4 "Thou are beautiful, my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem...".

We desire for our daughter Tirzah to be beautiful, inside and out, with strength, as she allows the true King to dwell and reign within her heart. 

From the beginning, we planned to also give our children names of faithful missionaries, in order to inspire and challenge them to exploits for Christ.  Tirzah's middle name is Carmichael, after Amy Carmichael (AD 1867-1951), the amazing Irish missionary to India, who heroically rescued hundreds of young women, and little girls and boys from temple slavery.  The life, ministry, and writings of this devoted and selfless emissary of the cross of Christ has been a challenge and encouragement to both of us, especially to Deana.  

Here are some quotes from Amy Carmichael:

"He said ' I have loved you.'  We cannot love too much."

"We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could."

"I wish Thy way. 
And when in me myself should rise, and long for something otherwise,
Then Lord, take sword and spear
And slay."

"The word comfort is from two Latin words meaning 'with' and 'strong'--He is with us to make us strong.  Comfort is not soft, weakening commiseration; it is true, strengthening love."

"Can we follow the Saviour far, who have no wound or scar?"

"All along, let us remember we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey..."

We desire for our daughter Tirzah Carmichael to learn to submit to God, and live to see Him glorified, and the lost, the weak, and the vulnerable rescued.  It has been a delight to see her, even as a small child, standing with us at abortion mills, showing care for the babies in danger, and handing information to mothers heading inside.

The name Carmichael has various rendered meanings, such as "Child of Michael", "Friend of Michael", "Follower of Michael", and "Fort of Michael" (the prefix Car, coming from Caer "fort").  I have always liked the name Michael, as it is the middle name of my brother Bryan.  The name Michael is Hebrew and means "Who is like God?"  It is actually a question. The answer is, of course, there is no one like the true and living God, the God of the Bible.

We desire for our daughter to know God and became His child through faith unto salvation, to live as His friend, following Jesus faithfully.  We pray for the Lord Who is like no one else to be her Defense, her All in all.

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