Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.
In this Bible verse, the word ‘redeemed’ refers to freeing, forgiving, adopting, and reconciling. We are told that God has freed us from our past. He knows us, He knows our name, who we are, what we have done, and it is all OK. We are forgiven and loved.
This is big time stuff. Important for us to know. He knows our name. The word ‘name’ in those days was more than label. In the Bible names encompass all that an entity is including origin, character, and direction. A name identifies, signifies, and specifies. It is the essence of that being. This is why there is such power in the name of the Lord; because the Name represents all that He is.
The same is true when we are told that God knows our name. He knows our origins, the nature of who we are, and where we have been, where we are going, our essence. God knows our thoughts, our intentions, our hearts, and minds; the good and bad, and it is all ok. He has redeemed us and forgiven us.
Christ came as an exclamation point on that love of God. He came to make redemption even more clear, to explain it in a way that was closer to the heart. People can be dull of mind sometimes, and Jesus came to reach through to clarity and teach truth.
In Matthew 7:21-23 he said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Those that do the will of our Divine Father will enter heaven and find all of God’s good. And what is the will of God? – to love. The word ‘know’ has layers of meaning. “I never knew you,” refers to a deeper meaning than just intellectual. It delves into a relational level, an intimate, personal, and harmonious connection. Both parties are assenting and complicit. We are told in Genesis 4:1 that “Adam knew his wife Eve and she conceived and bore a son.” Implicit in this description is more than just sexual relations; there is an intimate spiritual union, a coming together to create something more.
That is what Christ was teaching – that the ones who do the will of my Father will come together in Spirit and enter God’s Kingdom. They will be the ones who are known to God, called by name, and redeemed. When we ignore the commandment of Christ and the will of God – to love each other – we do more than we understand to ourselves. We blind our eyes to God’s good and deafen our ears to God’s call. The call is there, but we do not hear it.
We read in John10:3, 14 - “3The sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep.” Among even eight billion of His children, God knows us, loves us, thinks about us, and never abandons us. We may turn away from this love, but it is always there. It’s like holding our breath – we may starve ourself of oxygen, but it is always around us, even when we are denying its entry into our lungs. Just because we cannot see God’s love in this world doesn’t mean that it is not there. We are just holding our breath, denying its entry and influence in our live.
But what happens after a bit of holding our breath? We give up and breathe. It is a natural process. God’s love is the same; we cannot deny its natural process forever. Eventually, we will either give in to love or pass out. And while we are holding our breath, we start to squirm and fight our need for air. That is how I see the chaos and division of the world; it is a result of our resistance to a natural process that we greatly need.
God knows our name. He knows our true nature and whether we are holding our breath and squirming. But it is all OK. We can’t deny oxygen into our systems for long; we will pass out, and when we do, we will involuntarily start breathing again. Eventually, we will start loving again, because there is something within us that wants and needs God’s love to flow through us. It is part of our spiritual nature that wants to be freed, forgiven, and redeemed.
We do not belong to the world, although these physical bodies need the world to survive. But we are not the world’s; we are God’s. “You are mine,” we are told. Each of us are as important to Him as any other Child of God. Matthew 10:26–31 tells us - And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid….” He knows how many hairs we have. The Bible tells us that God knew us before we were even born! This means that we matter to God.
For God to know us by name means that He chose us on purpose for a purpose. God has good plans for each of us. The plan for our life is different from the one He has for anyone else, and His plans are marvelous. Our Maker knows us intimately and has created each of us with unique gifts that can bless the world. We are important and integral to God's work on earth in this lifetime.
Yes, God knows our name, the essential nature of who we are, and names are important. The names we call others is also important. It can hurt them or encourage them.
There was a teacher who asked her students to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. For the most part, the students gave the usual responses—doctor, lawyer, policeman, nurse, pilot, and firefighter. Then the teacher asked Lucy. She said, “I want to be possible.”
“Possible?” asked the teacher.
“Yes,” she replied, “because my mom tells me all the time that I'm impossible. So, I want to grow up to be possible.”
What names are we using to describe others? I suspect that if they agree with us, vote like us, act like us, think, dream, and live like us there is one set of names. But then there is another set for those that don’t. The names that we call others does not affect the call of God on those individuals or the nature that God sees in them. But it does affect how we see them. The names and descriptions that we secretly give to people changes us, not them. If we feel a darkness toward ‘those people,’ it is not affecting them; it is affecting us. We are denying how God sees them, as His children worthy of His love. If they are hurting others, God still loves them and sees them as deserving of His Light, His redemption, guidance, and education. But through our denial of how God views those individuals we are stopping our hearts and ears to God’s call.
God knows our name and calls us by name. I pray that we are open to that soft sigh. It is my prayer that we stop, be still, listen, hear, and respond to that sweet call. I pray that we hear and feel the forgiveness, acceptance, freedom, wholeness, and love whispered directly to our hearts from the loving lips and heart of God.