Called By Name
While the content of this passage clearly indicates God's promises to Israel, personal application may be made, for He who identified Israel as His own, surely also claims the Redeemed Believer as well.
In verse one, this Identification, yea, Possession, is based on creation. We are His, first of all, because He made us. The word used here is 'bara'. It's use has significance here, as in Gen.1:1, because only God can create 'out of nothing'. Often this word is used in conjunction with other words that indicate "to make" or "to form" or "to establish". We find this here in the word "formed" (yatsar). This further emphasizes "create" in that it means "to form" or "squeeze into shape", as does a potter the clay in the process of forming a vessel by squeezing it into the desired shape. This suggests intimacy, a "hands on" experience, as well as the right of possession. There is a relationship which is further enhanced by the resulting "fear not" and even further, "I have redeemed thee". This word refers to the right of the next of kin to buy back a relatives' property, raise up children in the name of the deceased, etc. It carries the sense of one who is a Deliverer as well as an Avenger. It also means "to purchase, ransom or redeem" at a price. We readily understand this with reference to Christ's work on behalf of the Believer. So, by application, we are created, redeemed and then, "called by name". This word, "called" signifies being hailed as when someone calls out to you, using your name in order to gain your personal attention...He identifies by name those that are His.
"I have a maker, He formed my heart, Before even time began, My life was in His hands" writes Francesca Bathstelli.
Since He knows us by name and we are His own possession, it is natural to learn of His Protection (vs 2). Note His Presence in and through these trials, He does not Prevent them, for He knows their Purpose, but He is with us and keeps the trials from overwhelming us. An old hymn says "I'll go with you through the valley...all the way".
We are also mindful of his promises from Ps 23...in the "valley of the shadow of death". Even there, we have His Protection and Provision.
The reason for His care is found in verse 3. "For I am the LORD (Yaweh) they God (Elohim)...the same name used to identify the "I AM", the Covenantor, thus emphasizing His responsibility in Protection and Provision. To Israel, this is profound, as well as to us!
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