Perhaps the most pervasive theme in all of Scripture is God’s passion for God. No, that’s not a misprint. Many would have preferred that I say, “God’s passion for you,” but if God isn’t first and foremost committed to himself and the pursuit and praise of his own glory, his love for you wouldn’t amount to much at all.
But let me return to this notion of God’s commitment to God. On what biblical grounds do I dare make what appears, at first glance, to be an outrageous and disheartening statement? Would it surprise you to discover that it is explicitly made known in over two hundred biblical texts? But my concern is with what we read in Psalm 23:3.
It may come as quite a shock to discover that in this psalm so beloved by Christians everywhere, a psalm typically understood as focusing on God’s commitment to us, that I would find God’s commitment to God! But there it is, in v. 23: “He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Does it surprise you to learn that the driving force in God’s heart in restoring your soul and providing guidance for your life and enabling you to walk in righteousness is the fame of HIS name?
Before you too quickly dismiss me as heretical, consider these other explicit declarations, both in the Old and New Testaments, in which the fame of God’s name is his aim in all he does.
In Psalm 79:9, Asaph echoes this remarkable truth with this prayer: ”
“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake.”
One of the more vivid examples of this is found in 1 Samuel 12:22. There we read that,
“the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself.”
Samuel says this on the heels of Israel’s demand that God give them a king. He repeatedly reminds them that to demand a king is evil and wicked and warns them of the disastrous consequences of not being satisfied with God as their Sovereign. Nevertheless, Samuel counsels them not to be afraid that God might abandon them or cast them aside. It would have made perfectly good sense had he done so, at least to our way of thinking. But he won’t, and here’s why: for his great name’s sake!
The underlying reason for God’s commitment to his people is his prior and more fundamental commitment to himself! God’s name is at stake in your destiny, says Samuel. What happens to you reflects on the glory of God’s reputation. That is why he will not cast you away.