It feels good to be known. That feeling and desire is captured perfectly in the theme song for the TV show “Cheers” in which the lyrics say, “you wanna be where everybody knows your name.” We do, don’t we? We want to walk into a room and have people know us, care about us, and be interested in what’s going on with us. We want to have people – acquaintances, co-workers, friends, or family – who know us at some level. Being known makes us feel loved and valuable.
“We’re on a first name basis.” Have you ever heard someone make that statement? When you first interact with someone, especially someone with a title or rank, you will likely address them formally – Mister, Misses, Doctor, etc. If I met the President of the United States, for example, I most certainly would not shake his hand and say “how’s it going Barak?” It would be disrespectful, because I’m not on a first name basis with the president. But imagine if I walked into the oval office, and out of a crowd, I heard my name called out. “Jon…Jon Cook! How nice to see you buddy.” I would still likely reply to him formally, saying “hello Mr. President,” but imagine if he insisted on me calling him by his first name. There begins the basis for knowing and being known personally. This is the idea behind dating, right? To get to know each other, a couple will spend hours together, talking, sharing about themselves, and asking questions. For my wife and I, we’ve spent so much time together and know each other so well now that we have similar responses to things – we literally finish each other’s sentences. We do that because we know each other well.
If it feels good to be known by people, if it provides a sense of security and a feeling of being loved, then being known by God is that and so much more. God knows us, and He invites us to know Him too.
Psalm 139:1-6 says “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
God knows us. He’s aware of our circumstances and our actions, even the mundane stuff like when we sit down or get up. He knows our thoughts even better than we do, and it’s more than finishing sentences for God – He knows what we’re saying before we know what we’re saying. Because of this, the Psalmist says that it’s “too wonderful” and “too lofty” to really get our heads around. We don’t have to feel as if God is far away and detached from our circumstances. He knows us, and knows what’s going on.
God isn’t just aware of our actions. He knows us inside and out. Later in Psalm 139, verse 13 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Matthew 10:30 says “And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
Jesus tells us that He knows his sheep personally. John 10:14-15 says “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.” The level of closeness conveyed in this passage is mind-blowing! Jesus is saying that He knows and is known by His sheep in the same way that He and the Father are known by each other. You can’t get any more of a perfect model for closeness, intimacy, and complete knowledge than the Trinity. We are invited to be one of His sheep; to know Him personally and to be on that first name basis with Him, calling Him daddy instead of just sir. Romans 8:15b says “the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” When we accept Christ, we receive that spirit and are invited to personally know God and be known by Him.
He knows you. He understands what you’re walking through. He’s gone before you and come behind you. He is the good shepherd. If you’re walking through something and you feel alone, be encouraged that God knows where you’re at. If you’re struggling to figure out why you’re feeling a certain way, be encouraged that God knows you better than you know yourself. And if you feel lonely, know that God knows your name and wants you to know Him personally.