Called by name. // Part 2
In my last note I wrote about two reasons for God calling us by name: one, names are significant according to attached meaning and, two, names are personal. And there is a third reason that God has called us by name.
Let’s go back to Exodus 1; God uses Moses to make note (v.15) of the two Hebrew midwives, Shiprah and Puah, but God does not instruct Moses to put down the name of Pharaoh. Pharaoh was possibly the most powerful man of his time. The world today would tag him in a post, or do an in-depth interview for the Times. But Pharaoh didn’t use his power in a way that pleased God. Shiprah and Puah, seemingly insignificant people, are named because they were seeking to do God’s will. They feared God; they acted in faith. That gets them worldwide acknowledgment by God himself—wherever the Bible has been circulated, any reader who peruses Exodus 1 can see their names. God is honoring them by calling them by name.
What about you? Are you valuable to God? Would God ever honor you by name? Are you important to God? Would God give respect to you? In light of how the world around us operates, it would be easy to assume that our value to God would be based on what we do. I would like to propose that it actually starts with what God thinks of us first, and then, from there, what we do is built up and made full according to how much we rely on what he thinks about us. In other words, we don’t need to first earn the respect of God by what we do and then he will honor us. Grace says that God already honors us by writing our names in the Lamb’s book of life. Now, the life we live builds off of that grace-based honor.
“Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” // Revelation 21:27
But what if I have done something shameful or deceitful? What if all my actions are not pure and my intentions drip with venom? Then what? (Quick answer: That makes me human.)
God takes the name that we did earn and did deserve: “no good, loser, failure, abuser, pervert . . .” and put that name on Jesus. Then God vindicated you by attaching the perfect reputation of his son, Jesus, to you. There is no shameful or deceitful act attached to your name any longer.
“The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.” // Isaiah 62:2
He now calls you his son, his daughter; and he calls you—in love—by your new name.