Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, 1Ch 3:7
And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:17 NIV
I was recently reading devotionally in 1 Chronicles. In my reading each day, I look for something in the chapter that particularly speaks to me. The chapter for that day was nothing but names, and very strange names, at that. As I came to the end, I thought to myself, “Well, so much for that! There’s nothing in there that says a thing.” I understood why those names were important to the Chronicler. He was establishing the continuity between those desperate people who had come back from captivity in Babylon with their whole history back to Abraham, and beyond him to Adam. Yes, he is saying, despite that awful tragedy, we can still know ourselves to be the people of God.
But, I thought, why does it matter to God? Why put those interminable lists into the canon of Scripture for all the rest of us to read down through the ages? Then I heard a whisper, “I know you by name,” and it dawned on me that God likes rehearsing all those names. They were people whom he knew, and knows. We are not just momentary bubbles on the surface of an endless ocean, here for a moment and then gone without a trace. No, each one of us is, I was going to say, cataloged, but better than that, known, in the fathomless mind of God. There will never be another Nogah, or Nepheg, or Japhia, and God delights in knowing each of them with everything that makes them who they are, talents and foibles alike. Do you feel like a cog in a machine, or a cipher on a page? Don’t; God delights to know you by name, and will do so through all eternity. He can never forget you; your name is written on his heart.