Encouragement for Today
He Calls you by Name
Sharon Jaynes - Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine” (NASB).
There have been several people in my life who never seem to remember my name. A few of my more popular aliases are Sarah James, Susan James, Shannon James, and Jane Jaynes. Then there are the people who just can’t remember me altogether and don’t try to fish a name from their memory pool. To tell you the truth, it never has really bothered me, after all I’m not very good with names either.
But names are very important to God. In the Bible, a person’s name revealed a unique quality of their character. Moses meant, “Drawn out of water.” Ruth meant “woman friend.” Naomi meant “pleasant,” and she changed it to “Mara” which meant “bitter.” Her two sons’ names meant “Puny” and Piney.” Needless to say, these two fellows weren’t exactly strapping young he-men, and both died at an early age. If a person had an encounter with the living God, many times He changed their name to better fit the experiences he had planned for their futures. Abram was changed to Abraham. Sarai was changed to Sarah. Saul was changed to Paul.
Yes, names are very important. That’s why when someone very dear to me forgot mine, it broke my heart.
My father accepted Jesus as his Savior when I was 21 years old. The transformation I saw in him was nothing short of miraculous. One of the benefits that I received was that he did learn how to love me. In my father’s later years, we had a very tender and dear relationship. But it was short lived.
A few years after dad committed his life to Christ, I noticed him becoming very forgetful. At first it was small idiosyncrasies: forgetting an order at work, misplacing his shoes or keys, not remembering what day it was, drawing a blank on a close friend’s name. Then it progressed to more serious absent-minded behavior: forgetting where he parked in a parking deck (and even which parking deck), coming home to take my mother to the market forgetting he had already taken her an hour before, and becoming confused when taking measurements for cabinets which he had been doing for over forty years. In 1987, our greatest fears were confirmed. Dad had Alzheimer’s disease. He was fifty-five-years-old.
My dad had been a tough cookie as a young man. From the time he was fifty-five to sixty-five, I watched a strapping quick witted entrepreneur reduced to a man who could not remember how to speak, button his shirt or move a spoon from his plate to his mouth. But what pained me the most was the day he forgot my name.
I still remember holding his face in my hands and saying, “Daddy, it’s me. Do you know who I am?” But I was only met by a childish grin and eyes that seemed to look straight through me.
Names. They are important. In Isaiah 43:1, God says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine” (NASB). In Isaiah 49:1, the prophet announces, “Before I was born, the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name” (NIV).
As God’s child, He has called you by name and the Bible promises He will never forget it. Your name is engraved on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16).
On a Friday morning in May of 1996, the Lord graciously came and took my earthly father to his new home in glory. He’s probably up there right now measuring for cabinets and working on all those mansions we’ve read so much about. His memory has been restored and I look forward to the day when my earthly father and my heavenly Father welcome me with open arms and say, “Welcome, Sharon, my daughter, my child.”
What a joy to have a daddy who loves me.
My prayer for today:
Dear Father, sometimes when I think of you calling my name, I am moved to tears. You know my name! You have it engraved in the palm of your hand. Thank you Lord that you will never forget me. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen
As we have seen that names are important, the most important name in the entire universe is God’s name. Do you ever say His name flippantly or without reverence? (“Oh my God,” for example.) How do you think God feels about His name being used as an explicative? (Exodus 20:7) Make a commitment today to always speak God’s name in reverence and holiness.
What does it mean to you that God knows you by name?
Write a prayer of thanksgiving to God expressing the joy of knowing that your name is engraved on the palm of His hand.
Leviticus 19:12 says, "Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.” Think about how many times you hear the name of the God (or Jesus Christ) misused on any giving day. This week, every time you hear His name spoken without reverence, whisper a prayer, “I praise your holy name.”
After God spoke to Hagar, she gave Him a name. “She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered” (Genesis 16:13-14 NIV). This name, El Roi means the God who sees.
Have you ever had an encounter with God or experienced Him in a new way that caused you to give Him a name (Provider, Counselor, etc.)? If so, list them.
Why do you think God changed a man’s or woman’s name after He called them to do a special task for Him? (Example: Genesis 17:5-8)
span style='font-family:Tahoma'>We are called the Bride of Christ. As the bride of your husband, you most likely changed your name. Why? Now, correlate that with God changing our name when we come to Him. We go from sinner to saint, from unholy to holy, from defiled to pure. Can you think of more example of how our name was changed when we came to saving faith?
Names are important…especially the name of God. What does the Bible tells us about the holiness of God’s name? (Exodus 20:7)
You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Deuteronomy 5:11 NIV)
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1 NIV)
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isaiah 49:16)
God says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 34:1 NASB).
“Before I was born, the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name” (Isaiah 49:1 NIV).
Dreams of a Woman – God’s Plan for Fulfilling Your Dreams by Sharon Jaynes