Wednesday, August 27, 2008

For His Name's Sake

“For His Name’s sake…”

Does that phrase ever bug you?

The other night I couldn’t sleep, so I finally got up and was reading in my Daily Bible (of which I am woefully behind schedule!) And I was reading in the book of Ezekiel.

In Ezekiel 20, God is relating to the elders of Israel (through Ezekiel) about how He brought them out of Egypt, only they kept rebelling and rejecting His laws.

Several times God says that He would have poured out His wrath, but that, “I withheld My hand and for the sake of My Name, I did what would keep it from being profaned in the eyes of the nations…” (emphasis added)

Over and over in Scripture we keep reading “for His Name’s sake…” It sounds like God does things to keep His name “looking good” and just for “the sake of His Name” so that no one will think badly of His Name. In other words, it looks like He doesn’t want His Name “sullied.”

It’s sorta like when parents tell their children “When you go out, you represent this house, so behave for our ‘name’s sake’…”

“For His Name’s sake”, sounds like God is protecting His Name - His Image…

But, that’s not what it means at all.

It means “for the ‘sake’ of His Name.” In the Hebrew, the word for “sake” is “ma-an” and means “intent” or “purpose”. And as an adverb means “on account of.”

In my study software, in the KJV with Hebrew numbers, we are always given 2 Hebrew words for “sake.” One is always H4616, which is ma-an, but the second word corresponds to the subject matter - whether mercy, or righteousness, or pardon, etc, and therefore means “on account of… His mercy” or “on account of… His Righteousness” or “on account of… His pardon…”

In other words, it is because of what His Name is that He “leads me in the path of righteousness.”

Because of what His Name is, He withholds His hand of anger. Because of what His Name is, He pardons, etc.

It is, actually, an indication of God’s very character!

“For His Name’s sake” is our greatest assurance of His presence and love because it is, Who He is!

Father, for Your very Name’s sake, guide our lives this day! In Jesus’ Name… and for His sake - Amen!


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Unstillness in Prayer

You know it's been a long time since you posted to your blog when you have to stop and think about what your password is...

And then, once you've gotten to the page you find it's been almost 2 months! Wow! June and July went by in a blur, what with - new pastors coming in, seminars to host and speak at, friends in very freak accidents, vegetable gardens to be maintained (2 of my own and now my friend's), surprise 90th birthday parties and family reunions to be planned, implemented, and experienced (and then recouped from!)

And now, all the produce from the above mentioned gardens are coming in and need to be harvested and "put up." And this doesn't even take into account my Art and Antiques Studio work... (guess that's what "employees" are for, huh?) Whew - makes me tired just reading all this!

But, in speaking of being "busy", I am sharing a prayer on just that very subject, which an e-mail newsletter sparked. If you love Bible Study, and reading the "classics" on theology and prayer, check out . (Christian Classics Ethereal Library) You'll love it!

But now...

Unstillness in Prayer

I come this morning, Father, as one who doesn’t know how to pray as she should. I come full of an “uneasiness”; a… trepidation; a… fear…

No wonder people seek to stay “busy”, because if we become still, we are so aware that “we” don’t know what we’re doing.

We “say” we’re so busy, and we are; we truly are! Or at least we’ve allowed ourselves to get that way. We have our work, our homes, our responsibilities, and we are so overwhelmed with all the “stuff” of life…

We are “connected” on every hand, and feel that we must be able to be “reached” at all hours of the day and night. And for many of us, it’s not just an “imagined” need; we have children, or parents who truly need to be able to reach us. They depend on us…

But then again, many times… far too many times, we use this “connectability” as a crutch, or perhaps an umbilical cord, connecting us to the world, not only physically, but emotionally as well.

And so, our minds are so filled with all the things that we’ve allowed (even unconsciously) to fill them, but if we really probe deeply enough, Father, I think we’ll find that this is really the way that we want it to be…

Oh, we “say” we’d like to have more time; we’d like to shed some of our responsibilities. We “say” we’d like to spend more quiet time; more meditative time in solitude… but when those “still” moments come upon us, even so briefly… we become antsy, nervous, and uneasy in being alone with You.

When those of “the world” have these “still” moments, they immediately seek to fill them. Are we any different? Most of the time we do the same thing. But, as we grow in our walk, and we seek to draw closer to You, and we “set aside” time to pray… it is then that we realize how “uncomfortable” silence and stillness really is…

And we realize that we come, as one who doesn’t know how to pray as he or she should…

So, what do we do? Well, if we’re “Scripturally sound” we hold to the scripture that says that we don’t know how to pray as we should, so the Holy Spirit intercedes for us “with groans and utterances too deep for words…”

But quite frankly God, I think that’s a cop-out… Sure, there are times when the feelings are too deep for words, but most of the time, we just simply don’t want to take the time to learn how to pray, or we don’t want to take the time to listen for Your voice…

The “world” speaks of “evolution”, but in actuality, we are devolving… One has only to read the “Church fathers’” writings on prayer; or read “classics” from only a century ago on theology or prayer; or even read prayers from just a generation ago to realize, we don’t have a clue as to what they’re saying.

“Well, ‘language’ is different,” we say. And it certainly is. We have devolved into a society of acronyms and invented words; we coin phrases to reflect our surrounding culture which takes us farther and farther away from being able to read and understand Your Holy Word.

Father, forgive us, and in this fast-paced world (perhaps “spinning out of control world” would be more like it!) help us to come to You as the disciples came to Jesus and say, “Lord, teach us how (and teach us now) to pray…

In Jesus’ Name - Amen.