GOD CALLS YOU BY NAME

Names are very important in the Bible. They may refer to who a person is, or the conditions of the person’s birth, or what happened at that location. Today’s One Year Bible reading in Genesis 35 includes several explanations of the names of places and of people.

I’d like to look at two of these. Previously, in Genesis 32:28, God had changed Jacob’s name from Jacob, which means “he betrays,” to Israel, which means “God Strives.” Now, in Genesis 35:9, God reaffirmed that name change. In the past Jacob had been a schemer in his dealings with his father Isaac, his brother Esau, and his father-in-law Laban. But now he was a different man, and his new name reflected that.

Throughout the Scriptures God refers to Himself by various names, reflecting the aspect of His character the situation called for. Here, in verse 11, God refers to Himself as El-Shaddai — “God Almighty.” God reiterates to Jacob/Israel the promises He had made to Abraham and to Isaac: He would give Israel’s descendants the land He had promised to Abraham and Isaac, and would form them into a great nation. And He was able to do all this, because He is God Almighty.

Our names today may not reflect our character or origin the way names did in ancient Israel, but God knows our names, too. In Isaiah 43:1, God told Israel, “I have called you by name; you are mine.” Not only does God know our names, He knows who, where, and how we are. And whatever our need, God is sufficient for it. May we experience His sufficiency as we trust and rest in Him.

by Darrel Eppler, Chairman of the Elder Board

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