January 03, 2014

Names Matter

Ezra 2:1, 64-70

These are the people of the province who came up from the captivity of the exiles, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had taken captive to Babylon.
—Ezra 2:1


At the end of a movie, do you watch all the credits? Not many people do. The names of the makeup artists or stunt drivers really don’t matter to the average moviegoer. Most people aren’t interested in that long list of names.

Ezra 2 contains a long list of the names of Israelites who re-turned from exile. We know very little about most of them, but the Bible takes names seriously because they are connected to the God who knows their stories. These are people who remembered that they were exiled, and God brought them back to live as his people once again.

Ezra kept a careful record of the people who saw God’s faithfulness while they were under God’s judgment. They knew the story of God’s grace as he sustained them during the ordeal of exile. Every person had a story about God’s amazing faithfulness to tell to the next generation.

Our names matter to God! Behind each name is a marvelous story of God’s faithfulness, forgiveness, and presence. Our names matter because we are under the Name that saves and redeems us for a greater purpose: the resurrected Jesus. In the name of Jesus, we have a new life, a sure hope, and a secure future. Everyone under the name of Jesus has their name written in the book of life. Is yours?

Father God, thank you that my name has been written into your Book of Life. I know I belong to you alone because you know my name. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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