Our names can be used in so many different ways. When my mom screamed out, “Sherry Lee Worel,” I knew I was in trouble. Yet, when the President of the Seminary called out, “Sherry Lee Worel,” I walked across the stage with tears of pride.
During my early years in college, I was happy to sail under the radar with my professors unaware of my name. Once I got serious about learning, I loved it when a teacher would call me by name.
Having our name called identifies us among a crowd. Our personal name ensures our identity, and when it is used, it conveys worth and value. So, I love the stories in the Bible where the Lord calls people by name. The circumstances are all different, but in each instance, God did something remarkable and changed their lives forever.
When Abraham heard his name called in Genesis 22, God was testing him. When it was all over, the Lord declared, “I will surely bless you…” (Genesis 22:15). Jacob heard his name called on a night when he was gripped with fear, but the Lord reminded him that, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid…” (Genesis 46:3).
Moses heard his name coming out of a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-10). Samuel heard it as a child and learned how to surrender himself to the Lord’s will (1 Samuel 3:10). Martha heard her name used as a preamble to a life lesson. After he heard his name called, Saul (Paul) was asked why he was resisting the nudges of the Lord (Acts 9:4).
Simon Peter heard his name called the night before He betrayed Jesus. But in the midst of a significant rebuke, Peter also heard the Lord say, “I have prayed for you Simon, that your faith may not fail.”
People in the Scriptures heard the Lord call them by name in difficult situations—when they needed to change a behavior, when He wanted to redirect their course, and when He just wanted to encourage them. Still, in every situation, that encounter changed their lives forever.
God is still calling people by name, and when He calls, our lives change. We may not hear an audible sound with our ears, but we clearly hear from Him as we read His Word and pray.
This week, let’s anticipate some remarkable changes in our lives. Let’s listen for our name to be called and respond like Samuel did: “Speak Lord, your servant is listening…”