Wednesday, April 23, 2014

For His Name's Sake

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” – Psalms 23:3

I was named after my grandmother, Faithie Maurine Guier Pope.  She died when my mom was 14, so I never got to know her.  But what I do know of her is that she played piano at church, knew her Bible well, had great faith, and was intimate with her God.  She taught Sunday school and loved her family.  She sung on the radio on Sunday mornings in a gospel quartet.  She had many friends, several of which made her a quilt while she was sick – by hand.  And last of all, she died of cancer at a young age, and boldly left this world without fear of her future.

Though I’ve never met her, there’s something about being named after a person that affects how you see yourself, and how you respond to life.  We all live up to what we’re called, and believe it to be true.  For example, if you call a child “stupid”, eventually they will believe you.  I have understood all my life that I am somehow to be a reflection of her.  She was the definition of a “Faithie” in my understanding.  I’m not saying I’m there, because she was a powerfully good woman.  I know that some of the things I’ve done have brought dishonor to her name.  But being her name’s sake has had its effect.

In Psalms 23 we read that God restores our soul and leads us in the path of righteousness.  It’s a beautiful chapter hat pronounces God’s many blessings on us.  But that’s not all it says.  The verse gives His ulterior motive.  He does these things “for His name’s sake”.  We are called “Children of God”.  We are to be a reflection of who He is, because we are named after Him. 

A quick Bible word study of “in My Name’s Sake” will show you God’s ulterior motive in all His blessing on us is to make much of Him, to bring glory to Himself.  And as David Platt so perfectly put it in “Radical”, who else would we want Him to glorify?  If He were to choose to glorify any other man or power He would no longer be Almighty God, the authority of everything.  God does not bow to anyone. He alone is God.  How messed up would our world be if He blessed us for our own glorification and our own honor!  That would be no better than “employee of the month” or “student of the week” contests.  What He gives us, both in blessings and in trials, are all “for His name’s sake”.

In Ezekiel 20:19 God speaks of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, and how He instructed them to not follow the ways of their parents, but told them I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them”.  It goes on to tell that they did not follow God, and in verse 22 God says “Nevertheless I withdrew My hand and acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the Gentiles, in whose sight I had brought them out.  For God’s name sake, they were spared. Why?  God needed the Gentiles (non-Jewish) to be able to see and understand God’s love and mercy for His people.

Isaiah 48:10-11 speaks of God getting glory from us through the process of trials that lead us closer to Him by saying “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it;  For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.”  The trials we go through are not for our good, but ultimately to bring Him glory.   

While all things, good and bad, work together for our good (Romans 8:28), we are not the focus of God’s actions.  He doesn’t bless us for our benefit, or correct us for our benefit.  His being glorified through us is the focus.  It is all about HIM, and not about US.  Yes, God loves us, and He seeks to bring us closer to Him in everything He does, but it’s not for our sole benefit.  We are to make much of God because He needs to be exalted in a world that desperately needs Him.  We are given His name, being called “Children of God”.  Our lives should honor that name and fulfill our purpose for life, which is to bring God glory and honor – nothing less. 


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