Friday, April 19, 2019
One of the blessings of the way God equipped me for ministry is that He gave me a memory for names and faces. As I have gotten older the ability to remember the correct name that goes with the face has diminished. I used to be able to remember people after just one conversation, but not anymore. But I still have that reputation with my family. Whenever we go somewhere, even out of state, the consistent theme of conversation is, “How long will it be before we run into someone PJ knows?”
This ability to know a person’s name is quite different from what is said in our Scripture passage today about how God knows us by name.
Exodus 33:12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’
There is a much deeper meaning and significance to how we can be known by name to God than how we are known by name to most people. It is the same in the reverse, for there is much more to knowing God than simply knowing His Name.
In the Bible, the name of someone was a representation of their character. Some characters were able to be named before their birth because God knew what their lives would represent – like Jacob. Others had their names changed later in life because of what their lives grew to represent – like Abraham or Paul. Others simply earned a reputation that was attached to their name because of how they lived their lives. That is what is true of most of us.
When God told Moses that He knew him by name, He was stating that He knew and understood his character and reputation, and it pleased Him. When God dug into the deep parts of Moses’ life, he found favor with him. What an incredible thought: Almighty God, perfect and holy, found favor with the way Moses was living his life. Moses was far from perfect, and none of us will ever measure up to the perfection of God. But God saw in Moses the integrity of a maturing character and informed Moses that he was qualified to lead the people.
Our challenge today is two-fold:
- When God looks at the deep parts of our lives, does He find favor with us? Can He say that He truly knows us by name? What is the reputation that is attached to our name because of the way we live?
- Are we following the leaders God has placed over us so that we may attain full maturity in Christ? Paul says it this way in Ephesians 4:11-13, It was he(Jesus) who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Here’s the challenge. A new mother and father know their baby by name, but they will have to be patient to really get to know the child’s character and reputation. It will take time for the child to know their character as well. In the same way, we must move from simply knowing God by name to knowing Him by reputation and character, and to be known by God in the same way. This requires honesty, transparency, and vulnerability. How much more precious is the relationship when we get beyond face and name recognition and move to heart understanding.