A Look at Nehemiah: What’s Your Name?

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I’m terrible with names. I can meet someone and have a whole conversation with them and forget their name by the time we part ways. Sometimes, even months later, I can remember the whole conversation, what they were wearing, where we were, or some other obscure details, but I cannot recall the person’s name. Our names are so important that it stinks when I overlook that detail.

The truth is that our names are really important to us. Our names are what we answer to. They’re what we’re known by. And our names hold a lot of weight in our lives.

Nehemiah 7 is such an amazing chapter to me because it shows us just how intentional God is and reminds us that he knows our names.

Nothing is lost on God. He doesn’t forget where we are nor can we lose him, despite some of us giving it our best effort. He is detail-oriented and knows who we are and where we are. He knows the seasons we’re in, the communities we’re apart of, and what’s next for each of us. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, our fears, and our motivations—he knows both the good and the bad.

I would imagine that the exile of the people of Israel did not happen in an orderly fashion. There probably wasn’t tracking of who went to which country when. And the technology wasn’t available to them to see where everyone was. They had to rely on word of mouth to make sure that everyone was okay. Yet God knew exactly who had been exiled and exactly where they went. He was never confused and this reading of the census wasn’t for God’s benefit—that was for the people. I can’t help but wonder if this was strategically done so that the people could marvel at the hand of God. It was an invitation to celebrate him bringing everyone back home.

I think it can be easy to forget that God is detail-oriented because he’s so big. He created the entire cosmos, the whole universe, and this big floating marble we call earth. He made the trees and the mountains and the oceans. He’s so great and mighty and powerful. But he’s also in the details.

The earth is tilted on its axis and spins at the right speed to support human life. My brain is connected to the rest of my body in such a way that as I think these words, my fingers are able to type them out. Your eyes relay the information they’re receiving to your brain so that it can turn these inputs into something meaningful. Those are some pretty complex and detailed processes!

So it should be no surprise to us that God knows us intimately and calls us by name. He won’t forget your name like I likely will—he loves and has called you. He didn’t pick you by accident, but intentionally chose you because he loves you. It’s simple, but it’s a life-changing truth if we meditated on it and applied it to our lives.

How does knowing that you’re chosen by God change how you live?

Do you struggle to think of God as detail-oriented? Why or why not?

To go Deeper: Read WTML: Present Over Perfect, What’s in Your Name? 

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