Bible StudyWednesday, March 24, 2010The Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake “For My Name’s Sake” Ezekiel 20:39-44 (NIV)
“(39) As for you, O house of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to Me and no longer profane My holy name with your gifts and idols. (40) For on My holy mountain, the high mountain of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD, there in the land the entire house of Israel will serve Me,
and there I will accept them. There I will require your offerings and your choice gifts, along with all your holy sacrifices. (41) I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
(42) Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I bring you into the land of Israel, the land I had sworn with uplifted hand to give to your fathers. (43) There you will remember your conduct and all the actions by which you have defiled yourselves, and you will loathe yourselves for all the evil you have done.
(44) You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name's sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices, O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "
Most parents are fully aware that no matter how hard you try, it is extremely difficult to teach your children to obey you. They have a mind of their own and often make choices that are totally antithetical to our teachings. They are not like the dogs that the psychologist Pavlov placed in a box and taught to obey by conditioning them with rewards and punishment.
The thought processes of humans are quite different from those of animals. The rebellious nature of the human mind is much more difficult to discipline. When children grow up without discipline, they find it difficult to submit to the commandments and teachings of God. That is the reason we are taught to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22-6).
We must submit to the authority of God, or reap the utter consequences of disobedience. • Since we have been created in the image of God, we are obligated to live, not in accordance to what pleases us, but by doing what we must do to bring honor to the name of the Lord.
Although we have been given the freedom of choice, our best choice is to reciprocate God’sgoodness by choosing to be obedient to Him, “FORHISNAME’SSAKE.” • The divine activity of God on our behalf is a clear and definitive indicator of the depth of His love for us. - We have sinned, but He still loves us.
We have chosen other god’s and worshipped idols, but He still embraces us. • We have fallen short of His expectations, but He still encourages us. • We have brought shame to His name, but He has left the door open for us to return and be forgiven. • We have turned our backs on Him, yet He has turned us around - “FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE.”
This is the secret of our hope, faith, and trust. God’s name, not your name - not the name on the labels on your clothes, your shoes, nor your car; the nameofGod is the source of your power, so His name must be honored. The text introduces us to a “Jewish” street prophet and preacher who spent 22 years telling people about the awesome power of God, and the relevance of His name.
The characteristics that define the nature of God should make us feel a sense of loyalty to His name. In Ezekiel 20:39; Ezekiel challenges the Israelites for dishonoring the name of the Lord:“(39) As for you, O house of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward you will surely listen to Me and no longer profane My Holy Name with your gifts and idols.”
The Israelites were worshipingidols and giving gifts to God at the same time. They worshiped God, but did not show respect for His name. They acknowledged the existence of God, but indulged in immoralpleasures. They were hypocritical; as are many who worship God today. We are in attendance at the worship, but we hold on to our idols of money, power, and worldlypleasure.
God has called us for His name’s sake. In verse 41, God reveals what is in store for you when you honor and respect His name. He declares; “(41) I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will show Myself Holy among you in the sight of the nations.”
He expands on the promise in verse 44 by proclaiming; “(44) ‘You will know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for My name’s sake and not according to your evil ways and your corrupt practices,’ O house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
His name is pledged to His word, and His promise involves His name. When God puts His name on your deed, He has guaranteed that His promises will be fulfilled unconditionally. If He fails, His name is dishonored. That is the reason why He never fails. God is honored by His success. You are His workmanship - like a good artist who has finished a masterpiece, God stamps His name on you.
God’s personal character will not allow Him to dishonor His own name. That is the reason why everyone who believes in God should make sure that you live up to what His name stands for: 1. His name is love. 2. His name is righteous. 3. His name is redeemer. 4. His name is holy.
In appreciation for what God has done for you “FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE” you ought never forget to praise His Holy Name. He has forgiven your sins; healed your sickness; redeemed you from death; crowned you with love; and, given you justice, and more.
He did it all “FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE.” In the 103 Psalm, verse 1-2, David responds to thanksgiving to God’s blessings in this way : (1) Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name. (2) Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits-
Our unified declaration of the acknowledgement of God’s name is found in the introduction of the Lord’s Prayer. In Luke 11:2b “…Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.” • The gospel of John 16:23b says, “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.”
The hymn writers let the world know the merits of God’s name. W.C. Martin says, (Hymn 182 verse 1and refrain ) “The Name Of Jesus.” Frederick Whitfield wrote, “There Is A Name I Love To Hear” (verse 1):
“The Name of Jesus” The name of Jesus is so sweet I love its music to repeat It makes my joys full and complete The precious name of Jesus. Refrain: Jesus oh how sweet the name Jesus every day the same Jesus let all saints proclaim Its worthy praise forever.
“There Is A Name I Love To Hear” There is a name I love to hear I love to sing its worth It sounds like music in my ear The sweetest name on earth. Oh how I love Jesus Oh how I love Jesus Oh how I love Jesus Because He first loved me.