God’s Name on You (Numbers 6:22-27)

Numbers 6

Big Idea: God has given you his name. He owns you; he bought you; you represent him.

One of the most significant events of your life took place without you having much to do about it.

One day, a long time ago, someone gave you a name. You were just lying there. They looked at you and made a decision about what you would be called from that point on. Maybe they’d already decided. Maybe they chose a name that was already meaningful. Maybe you reminded them of a certain name. But on that day, they gave you a name. And, for most of us, that name has shaped our identity from that point on.

Another one of the most significant events of our lives happens as we receive another name.

In Numbers 6, God instructs Aaron, the high priest, to pronounce a blessing on the people. This is a blessing from the heart of God himself. It’s a blessing that conveys his protection, his smile, and peace. It’s a microcosm of the gospel itself. And at the end of it, God says: “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them” (Numbers 6:27).

In other words, what we have in this passage is not only a blessing but a naming ceremony. As these words from God himself are pronounced on the people, God himself puts his name on the people.

The question is: what does this mean? This is not just something that Israel got to experience; it’s something that we get to experience too. Revelation 22:4 speaks of the new heavens and the new earth: “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”

God’s name is a precious thing. A name represents the person and the totality of their identity. “Our name is not tangential to our being. It marks us and identifies us. Over time, as people get to know us, our name embodies who we are,” says Kevin DeYoung.

So when God puts his name on his people, it’s deeply personal. God’s name can’t be separated from God himself. This blessing is meant not only to give you God’s blessing, but for God to put his name and his blessing on your life.

But what does that mean? That’s what I want to look at today. It means three things.

One: It means that God owns you.

When God puts his name on us means so much. It means that he chooses to identify with us. It means that he identifies us as his people, the objects of his blessing. It means that he claims us as his own, that he marks us as his people.

I love books. The first thing that I do when I get a book is to open the cover and put my name on the first page. Why? Because I love books so much that I don’t want other people thinking that my books are their books, and so I put my name upon it and claim it as my own. To put our name on something means that we claim ownership of that item and declare to everyone that we own it; that it belongs to us.

And that’s what God does with his people too. God blesses them. He protects them, smiles upon them, and looks after them, and the whole purpose is this: that they become his. He writes their name on them. He claims them as his own.

It goes with what God said to them earlier in Exodus 19:5-6:

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

God has made his people his exclusive possession. God’s people are his royal property. God is so committed to his people that he declares his ownership over them, that they belong to him. God states that everything already belongs to him — all people and people groups. And yet, despite this, his intention is “to bring close to himself a people that will join him for all eternity as adopted members of his family” (Douglas Stuart).

Israel could go through the wilderness and know that they had a unique relationship with God that no other nation had.

Similarly, if you are a follower of Jesus, you can go through your life and know what you also have a unique relationship with God. God has placed his name on you. This is the heart of what God intends for us. It’s why he saves a people: so we can belong to him.

If you have trusted Christ, God wants you to understand that you belong to him. You are not your own. He has written his name on you as one of his people. You are part of his treasured possession.

But this has a flip side. It also means that you don’t own you. The first question of the Heidelberg Catechism says this:

Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?
A. That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

In his book You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World, Alan Noble says:

A proper understanding of our personhood requires we recognize that we are not our own. At our core, we belong to Christ. This doesn’t just mean that we give mental allegiance to Christ or discover our true identity in Him … belonging to His body, the church, and to our families and neighbors. An anthropology defined by our belonging to God is diametrically opposed to the contemporary belief that we are autonomous, free, atomistic individuals who find our greatest fulfillment in breaking free from all external norms. Our selves belong to God, and we are joyfully limited and restrained by the obligations, virtues, and love that naturally come from this belonging.

You belong to God. You are his. He cares for you. You were purchased at a great price. But that also means that you no longer belong to yourself. You belong to him, so you live for him, not for yourself. No part of our lives belongs just to us. It all belongs to him. We don’t get to determine what is right and wrong. If you are a follower of Jesus, you no longer belong to yourself because you are his treasured possession, and you must do what he says.

But here’s a second thing that it means. Not only does it mean that he owns you, but:

Second, it means that he bought you.

In other words, this blessing has a cost. You didn’t pay it, but God did. When he puts his name on you, it cost him something.

What did it cost God to make Israel his people? God told them. Before telling Israel that they’re his treasured possession, God reminds Israel shat he did to make them his: “You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself” (Exodus 19:4). God went to a lot of trouble to make them his own.

That’s Israel. What about you? How much did God do to make you his own? 1 Corinthians 6 says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). We were freed from slavery at the price of Jesus’ blood.

When I was 23 years old, I made the biggest purchase of my life up until that point. I bought a diamond engagement ring. The reason is because I wanted Char to belong to me, and I also wanted to belong to her. And so it was nothing for me to pay a lot of money to get a ring, because she was that valuable to me.

When God wanted to make you his own, he paid an even greater price. He paid with the life of his own Son. He has put his name on you, but the price of his ownership was high, and yet he was willing to pay it.

There are more privileges of bearing God’s name, but that’s a good start. God has written his name over you. He’s declared that you are his own. He cares for you. He always takes good care of what’s his. And he also paid a high price to make you his own. You have the privilege of knowing these things and living in light of them.

Because of that, you can be encouraged. You can know that you are not just some random person. You belong to God. You are God’s treasured possession. He cares for you.

You are not an accident of nature. God has chosen you, saved you, and put his name on you. You exist under the umbrella of his care. Because you bear his name, you matter to him.

The Puritan John Flavel said, “If we were to understand how dear we are to God, our relation to him, our value in his eyes, and how he protects us by his faithful promises and gracious presence, we would not tremble at every appearance of danger.”

You belong to him. He is especially attuned to you because he cares for you so much. I love what Jesus says in his famous Sermon on the Mount when he gets to the part about worry. He talks about how birds don’t worry, and then he says, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26). Here’s one way of putting what Jesus says: birds aren’t God’s treasured possession, but he takes very good care of them. If he takes good care of creatures that aren’t his treasured possession, how much more will he care for you? You belong to God, and he takes very good care of what he owns. You have the privilege of knowing that God cares for you.

You don’t belong to yourself, which turns out to be very good news, because he’s invested in you. He cares for you, because you belong to him.

God has placed his name on you. This means that he owns you, that he bought you at great price. But it means one more thing.

Three: It means that you represent him.

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 says:

The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he swore to you, if you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you bear the LORD’s name, and they will stand in awe of you. (Deuteronomy 28:9-10)

The fact that we belong to God isn’t just something for us to enjoy. It’s something that the world is supposed to know. Deuteronomy outlines all the responsibilities that come from our relationship with God, and one of them is the responsibility to represent God well in the world by obeying him. When we bear God’s name, we have a responsibility to act in such a way that brings God glory.

You know this. You have a family name. You understand that how you act not only reflects on you, but on your family as well.

In fact, this is probably what the third commandment means: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). We often think this is about blaspheming God’s name, but it’s more. One scholar writes:

Exodus 20:7 may mean to say, "You must never bear the name of the Lord your God frivolously." Thus, basically, one who "bears the name" is one who has God's name on them; that is, he or she is a member of the covenant God made with Israel at Sinai. What they do, therefore, represents God, and to do so frivolously in any part of their life is to dishonor rather than honor God….
If one accepts this interpretation, the third commandment is metaphorical for the bearing of Gods name by the way they lived in ancient Israel. It applies to us in the same way. The word name can also mean "reputation." We can give the Lord a good or a bad reputation by the way we represent him in the world. (Richard Averbeck)

Christian, you represent God in the world. You bear God’s name. Don’t bear it in vain. Bring him honor in how you live. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

The good news of the gospel is that God has done everything necessary to bless us through Jesus. Through Jesus we have the blessing we need: protection, God’s smile, and peace. But it also means that God has placed his name upon you. God has given you his name. He owns you; he bought you; you represent him.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits. (1 Peter 2:9-12 CSB)
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada