By Name

By Name

The LORD said to Moses, “. . . I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:17)

In his novel, To the Last Man, Jeff Shaara paints a particular scene something like this: New York, 1919. The Great War is over. Roscoe lingers on the deck of the passenger ship. He watches as the other soldiers walk down the gangplank and into the arms of their families. Roscoe waits until he can no longer avoid it. He steps off the ship and descends to the dock. And there he stands. No one is there for him, and he knows it. He is alone. In a sea of people laughing, smiling, crying, Roscoe is alone. And then he hears his name.

At first, he thinks he’s imagined it. But then he hears it again. He follows the voice. It belongs to the face of a smiling old man—a man he does not know. But then the smiling old man introduces himself, “I’m Gino’s father. Gino told us all about you in his letters. Welcome home. Let’s get something to eat.” And in that moment, Roscoe experiences what is, perhaps, the greatest act of kindness in his life. The father of his dead friend wanted to make sure that Roscoe was not alone when he got back from the war. And so he had waited day after day until Roscoe finally arrived. And then the smiling old man had called out his name.

If you’ve ever experienced something even remotely similar to this, you don’t forget it. You’re in a strange place, surrounded by people, and don’t know anyone. No one cares who you are. You feel lost, awkward, out of place, alone. And then you hear someone call you by name.

The Lord assured Moses, “I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” As extraordinary a figure as Moses is, however, this privilege does not belong just to Moses. God, in Christ Jesus, has cleansed you of your sins by the blood of his Son. He has blanketed you with the holiness of Christ. And now, through faith in our risen Savior, he has adopted you into his family. You belong. You are his. He calls you by name.

In a world where loneliness can seem so rampant, this is a sweet truth indeed.

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, through your Son, you know me by name. Thank you. Amen.

Peace in Jesus,
Pastor John Gensmer

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