Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, is still a big fan of the old TV sitcom Cheers. The 1980s show was set in a Boston Bar (Cheers) where customers were known by their first names. Not only did everyone know Norm’s name but other regulars like Cliff, and Fraser. Customers were not only on first name bases with each other, but with the staff: Sam, Woody, Carla, and Diane. The TV show made it clear everyone wants to go to a place where everyone knows your name?
The opposite side of everyone knows my name is nobody knows my name. There isn’t much security or cheerfulness when no one knows your name or cares to know it. In the Old Testament, God often reminded the Israelites that He created and called them to be his special people as their only Savior. The Israelites questioned if God really knew them when they suffered from war, famine, and other disasters. They also forgot to love and honor God when their lives were going well.
In Isaiah, God told the Israelites whom he had created and formed: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by my name, you are mine. I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you. Fear not, for I am with you.”
We may feel that when others know our names, it gives us identity and security, but that may be very limited. Others who know our names may not hold us as precious in their eyes. To know the identity of another person doesn’t mean you necessarily like or love them. Those who know our name may not be willing to be our savior from debt or physical attack. Positive recognition by our family, friends, and neighbors, etc. is good but God's acceptance of us is what matters most.
God had a vested interest in the Israelites as his chosen people because through them he would bless all people on earth. God knew that without his help, we will always be capable of both great good and great evil. Without God's intervention, we will still be our own worst enemies. Without God's word, there is no consciousness of sin. Because all people sin and fall short of the glory of God, He needed to act to save us from the hold of sin within us. God sent his Son Jesus Christ to call sinners to repentance that they might enjoy His forgiveness and renewed life now and in heaven to come.
God wants all people to know that through trust or faith in Jesus Christ his Son, that they are precious in his eyes. God has loved and honored all sinners in his Son that they may live without fear for He/God is with them through the joys and sorrows of their lives.
Jesus said that if a woman loses one of her coins she sweeps and searches the house until she finds the coin. When she finds the coin, she calls her friends and neighbors to celebrate that her lost coin was found. In the same way, there is rejoicing in the presence of angels of God over one sinner who repents.