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!



Blogger Questing Parson said...

"Doesn't want his name 'sullied'."

Now that will preach!


10:14 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Hi... I was doing a search on the net for "name's sake" as I am reading Jeremiah at present and in particular 14vs 20-22. It states "do not abhor us, for Thy Name's sake" and I felt as you, what does that mean? for God not to hate us for His name's sake? Thank you for clearing it up for me (I have already checked out a NUMBER of other sites- to no real avail). Thanks again and many blessings to you

7:34 PM  
Blogger Rev. Dave Moorman said...

The seminary I attended, we did not study Hebrew or Greek. We learned a much more practical language for the pastorate: Euphemism! So I have struggled with "for his name's sake" for years. This week, I ran into a Greek version of the same notion in John 14:13 - "so that the Father may be glorified in his Son."

Thank you for opening up this conundrum.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Joe Varghese said...

The phase "for Your Name's sake.." also appears in Romans Ch 1 vs 5 "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace ....". Your explanation fits in quite well in this context too.

4:09 AM  
Blogger pringles3030 said...

In your post you mention "because of what his name is " His name is truth, justice, the way. I look at it like this. If he did not stay his hand or give them (Jewish nation) what they deserved, then his promises would be broken. Namely bringing up the Jewish nation and Christ's lineage. But God is truth and he keeps his promises. In Jer. 14:20-21 the NLT puts it this way. (NLT)Jeremiah 14:20-21
Lord, we confess our wickedness and that of our ancestors, too. We all have sinned against you. [21] For the sake of your reputation, Lord, do not abandon us. Do not disgrace your own glorious throne. Please remember us, and do not break your covenant with us. For me, this tells me what "for his names sake " means and I can understand why God does what he does.
Great post.
Oregon city OR

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Brenda said...

I have been inspired to search out the meaning of "for His name's sake" and Havel been frustrated with shallow answers that simply did not ring with spiritual depth and truth. This on the other hand rings with truth. Thank you. This puzzling phrase has now become living word. Tomorrow I will attempt to do you proud as I teach this to my employees in our daily devotional, because of who He is!

9:47 PM  
Blogger Tech 15 Blogcast said...

I, too, have been struck by this phrase recently. In our current culture of "me-centered" Christianity, it's a real shocker to realize that God doesn't act just for my benefit. He acts because that's who He is, but I also believe there is an element of not wanting His name sullied. I think it's deeper than that, more like He doesn't want His character defamed. Solomon indicates in I Kings 8:41 that "foreigners" will come to Israel seeking the God whose name (character, reputation) about which they've heard so much about--these people are attracted to God "for His name's sake"! This is why we are exhorted to live lives "worthy of the [name of the] Lord" (Col. 1:10).
Thanks for a great post!

8:51 AM  
Blogger Dionne Hamilton Smith said...

Thank you, thank you for this post! It is a confession I make often - that God leads me into all truth, into righteousness for the sake of His name... It was powerful saying with the understanding that I had. With this understanding... WOW!

Thank you, Father that you lead us into all truth, into all righteousness because of who you are, because of your character, because you can't help being holy and righteous and love and mercy!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Samuel said...

Thank you so much for this post.

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Kyla Pitcher said...

Beautiful explanation!!! Thank you!!

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Pastor Morgan said...

I too have been intrigued with this terminology however I feel in some verses it might be saying name’s sake the original text had no punctuation marks. says
(The ancient Greeks did not have any equivalent to our modern device of punctuation. Sentence punctuation was invented several centuries after the time of Christ. The oldest copies of both the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Old Testament are written with no punctuation.
In addition, the ancient Greeks used no spaces between words or paragraphs. Texts were a continuous string of letters, with an occasional blank line inserted to mark the end of a major section, though even this was not always done.
They also had no equivalent to our lower case letters. Texts were written in all capitals.
While this clearly creates some challenges for Bible translation, those challenge are seldom very large. As a simple test, try reading the English text in the following line:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A namesake is a person named after another.[1][2][3][4] Namesake may also refer to a thing, such as a company, place, ship, building, or concept, named after a person.[3][5]
In general, the second recipient of a name, named for the first, is said to be the namesake of the first. The attribution can, however, go in the opposite direction, with namesake referring to the original holder of the name (the eponym).[3]
The word is first recorded in the mid-seventeenth century, and probably comes from the phrase "for [the, my, his, her] name's sake".[2][3][4][6]

I’m wondering if some of the text could be referring to his namesake the one who carries his name into the future this may be his offspring Jesus or as Strong’s defines 03091 יהושׁוע Yᵉhowshuwa‘ yeh-ho-shoo’- ah or יהושׁע Yᵉhowshu‘a yeh-ho-shoo’- ahfrom 03068 and 03467, Greek 2424 Iησους and 919βαριησους;AV-Joshua 218; 218 Joshua or Jehoshua= "Jehovah is salvation"

Could it be that GOD did or didn’t do some things or pass some judgments because of his future intent to be GOD in CHRIST knowing he would die for the sins of the world as Jesus on the cross ?
Remember in Mt 1:21 the word says “ And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Could that name be GOD’s name’s sake name that was hidden from the Jewish people of old who were so afraid of pronouncing their GOD’S name wrong?

6:24 AM  
Blogger Lisa Ostreim said...

This was very helpful as I am studying psalm 23. Thank you.

10:18 AM  

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