“Open a Bible at random and you will find God’s words speaking to those who live with shame.” I have said this many times and didn’t intend it as exaggeration. But I never put it to the test.
Eyes closed, I opened to… 1 Chronicles 3 and 4. As I scanned the pages, I saw-genealogies! How about best out of two?
I was just about to close the Bible and aim for a more likely passage, when I again noticed the many names. So many names. In a sea of Israelites, God sees individual people and knows their names.
That reminded me of a story.
A mission team from our church was in Ivory Park, a destitute township outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. They were doing kids clubs and were overwhelmed with hundreds of orphans.
What should the team do? They planned crafts for about one hundred. What about some songs? Donna Buddemeier had an inspired thought.
“Let’s sing, ‘He Knows My Name.’” (1)
I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hand
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
Hundreds of children sang this song—many of them having no one who knows their name. They sang with smiles and hand motions. They sang loud and with layered harmonies that rivaled the Soweto Gospel Choir. Witness it and tears stream down your cheeks and your faith in Christ soars, as you believe your Maker might even know your name too.
“Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today” (Luke 19:5). When someone important knows your name, your heart responds—you have been honored! The important person is associating with you.
When you are known by name, you have found favor in the eyes of the person who speaks it (Exodus 33:12).
But best of all is that those who have identified themselves as being with Jesus carry a new name. Those who experience shame often say that their name is shame. Though they are blessed to be known by name, they still feel…dirty. A new name, therefore, is just what they need. As people sometimes take on a new name in marriage, so we will all have a new name that identifies us.
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads (Rev. 22:4).
You might have a hard time believing all this at first, but then read another Bible story, and then—another. They bear witness to the God who “knows” you, in the very best sense. After a few dozen more stories about the Father’s unique interest in the discarded and outcast, you must give up and believe.
He knows your name and will also give you his.
(1) “He Knows My Name” lyrics by Tommy Walker.