1 But now, says the Lord—
the one who created you, Jacob,
the one who formed you, Israel:
Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched
and flame won’t burn you.
3 I am the Lord your God,
the holy one of Israel, your savior.
To call each other by name is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to another. A name distinguishes us uniquely from every other human being on the face of the earth. When we know someone’s name, it sets them apart in our minds from the mass of humanity. It moves us from being unknown to being known. When someone takes the time to learn and say your name properly, it shows that you are valued and important.
“I have called you by name; you are mine.” When God says that to the people of Israel, that’s literally true. Jacob receives the name Israel after wrestling with God at Peniel (Genesis 32:28) and becomes the father of a entirely new nation, a people loved and cared for by the God of the whole universe.
Our Creator calls each of us by name, and will never abandon us. God created us uniquely and loves us uniquely. We may have a hard time recognizing our Savior’s presence and care on any given day, but the promise remains: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” Trust in this truth!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
Is it hard to imagine a God who made the whole of the universe caring about the specific details of your life? Have you ever experienced a time when you became absolutely convinced God was watching over you?
Prayer: God, we waver back and forth between feeling that our struggles are the only things that matter and the sense that in the grand scheme our lives don’t matter much at all. Help us to steer our lives between these two understandings so that we understand not only our value, but the value of others around us. Help us to find that sense of calling and purpose that comes from recognizing that we belong to you because you have called us by name. Amen.