28 May 2016
Reading: Proverbs 7-9; Romans 9
27 Isaiah maintained this same emphasis: If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled “chosen of God,” They’d be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by personal selection. 28 God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus. (Romans 9:27-28 MSG)
In Romans 9, Paul is explaining his love for his own people and the fine line between the plans God makes and the choices people make. In the midst of explaining about the sovereign will of God and the free will of individuals, Paul quotes from Isaiah 10:22-23 and says, “God doesn’t count us, he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus.”
Paul’s application of this quote from Isaiah is that God doesn’t simply deal with masses of people and eons of time, but God chooses and calls people by name—each person chosen and called for a specific role in his plan of the ages.
I’m encouraged and reminded that God isn’t just doing cosmic arithmetic and collecting a certain number of warm bodies to plug into his processes, but God is selecting individuals for eternal purposes. “God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name!”
We will never be only statistics to God. God knows numbers, but he also knows names! He knows the number of the stars in heaven, but he also calls them by name. God knows the number of Christ-followers on the earth at any given moment, but he also knows each of us by name.
God personally chose each one of us to be his child and at the same time he somehow also gave us free will to choose salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. God knows how many of us there are at any given time, but we’ll never ever be just another statistic to him.
Father, Please help me to appreciate this more today—that you called me by my name! Help me to never look at another person as a statistic rather than as a person with a name. I know statistics have value in measuring what needs to be done and what gets done, but I also know arithmetic is not your focus. Amen.