The little phrase ‘for your name’s sake’ showed up in my Bible reading recently and I was so comforted by it that I went looking for other places where that phrase is used. Here are three:
For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me. . . (Psalm 31:3 ESV)
“Though our iniquities testify against us, act, O LORD, for your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many; we have sinned against you.” (Jeremiah 14:7 ESV)
“And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord GOD.” (Ezekiel 20:44 ESV)
Why am I comforted? Because it isn’t about my performance! God is acting out of a commitment to his own name, and we can ask him to act based on that commitment to himself.
I need that perspective. God is for me because of Jesus Christ. God is for my son with multiple disabilities because:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 ESV)
Paul doesn’t have to perform to have value to God – he is valuable to God because he was made by God, and God will act on his behalf for the sake of God’s name.
A long time ago Pastor John did a sermon on 1 Samuel 12:22 (For the Lord will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. RSV) where he offered this:
What is the basis of the fearlessness of God’s people according to this verse? First of all it is the promise that he will not cast them away. In spite of their sin in wanting a king, the verse says, “The Lord will not cast away his people.”
But that is not the deepest foundation of hope and fearlessness in this verse. Why will God not cast away his people? The deepest reason given is in the phrase, “For his great name’s sake.” The rock bottom foundation of our forgiveness and our fearlessness and our joy is the commitment that God has to his own great name. First, he is committed to act for his own name’s sake. And then, for that reason, he is committed to act for his people.
God will act FOR us, for his own name’s sake, offering forgiveness, fearlessness AND joy! I hope you can feel how great this is – God will ACT FOR YOU not because of you (you know how weak you are, really), but because of HIM!