Called By Name

God Knows His Own and Calls Them By Name

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There are occasions throughout the Bible where God calls His own by name. What does this mean? It means that He knows our names. He knows us - even when we don't yet know Him.

...he calls his own sheep by name...
John 10:3

Called for a Purpose

“See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,
Exodus 31:2

Bezalel was an extraordinary man, chosen by God and called by name for a specific purpose that would affect generations and represent God's holiness to a nation.

See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft.”
Exodus 31:2-5

While we don't know Bezalel's background beyond the names of his father and grandfather of the tribe of Judah, God knew his heart and saw something very special in him. God spoke specifically to Moses about Bezalel, calling him by name, and indicating not only his purpose, but his giftings. This was a godly man, filled with the Spirit of God to fulfill a mission.

Bezalel was entrusted by God to create the earthly representations of the heavenly kingdom, and the resting place for God's presence among His people. He was given abilities, knowledge, and authority to lead others in this momentous task. He created and oversaw the work of the furnishings of the temple, working in metals, stone, wood, and textiles. Bezalel's artistry was unmatched and truly a gift from God. He was faithful to his call.

Bezalel was called for a purpose.

Called to Know God

Cyrus also had a fascinating story. God called him by name and gave him a unique destiny over 150 years before he was born. He was called to know God and tasked with the jobs of rebuilding the house of God in Jerusalem and freeing the exiles. He was given promises of opportunity and wealth so that he would know God and then make Him known.

"...who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’”
Isaiah 44:28

For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other.
Isaiah 45:4-6

God then promised to stir up righteousness in the heart of Cyrus, helping him to fulfill God's purpose for his life. When Cyrus became king of Persia, he acknowledged God's call in a public proclamation.

.... the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah....
Ezra 1:1-3

We find here that Cyrus knew God, believed God, and obeyed God's call on his life. Cyrus's name is recorded in history as one who acted on God's behalf and wholeheartedly fulfilled the destiny God prepared for him.

Called to Be God's Own

God didn't only call those men by name, but He named all people who are His, beginning with Israel.

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1

Here, we see God call out Jacob and all people of Israel to be His. Later in the chapter, God expands that call to all who are His throughout the earth and throughout time.

...bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Isaiah 43:6-7

It is exciting to realize that, as those who belong to God, we are included in the promises listed here. Let's take a look at some of these powerful and amazing promises of God.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Isaiah 43:2-3

You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.... I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.
Isaiah 43:10-11

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
Isaiah 43:25

These are remarkable promises! God has assured us that He will be with us, protect us, save us, and forgive our sins. As His own, we are secure in His promises. God desires for us to know Him, to trust Him, and to understand who He is. What confidence we can have in knowing that we are His own!

Called to Follow

As Jesus was teaching His followers, He wanted them to understand His deep love for each of us and how trustworthy He is. He gave a powerful and personal example of how He calls us by name and what that signifies.

But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep...The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
John 10:2-3

This is a very intimate relationship between the shepherd and His sheep. Jesus told us that He is the good shepherd and He knows His sheep. He tells us that His sheep are those who hear His voice, believe and follow Him. Jesus promises to lead us, protect us, and keep us, willingly laying down His very life to save us.

This illustration reminds us of the twenty-third Psalm where David paints a beautiful picture of the Lord as our shepherd. He comforts, restores, leads, guides, brings rest, provides, protects, and tenderly cares for His sheep. What a contrast to the greedy shepherds of Ezekiel 34! Jesus is truly the Good Shepherd.

Called For a Future

There is one last time where Jesus says He will call out our names before the Father. This is part of the letter to the church of Sardis where Jesus is encouraging the saints to walk in purity and serve God in truth and action. Jesus then promises to call out our names in heaven, signifying life and eternal reward.

The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments,
and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.
 I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 

How can we do anything other than follow this One who loves us so much and calls us by name?

How can we do anything
other than follow this One
who loves us so much
and calls us by name?

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The ESV text may not be quoted in any publication made available to the public by a Creative Commons license. The ESV may not be translated into any other language.