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!