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For The Sake of My Praise

Isaiah 48:9 (ESV) -- For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.

In this life, people who do things for the glory of their name give people a bad taste. Egomaniacs are not our favorite people. Sure, we may watch them on television or on social media, but it isn’t because we like them. They entertain us. They act in ways we could never imagine ourselves acting, so we fixate on them. 

Our passage today reminds us that God does things for the glory of His name. But unlike us, it is right for Him to do it. God says in Isaiah 48:9, “For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.” Notice here God says it is for the sake of His praise that He restrains His anger. Anger at what? Their rebellion and sin. But why is it for the sake of His praise? First, because it won’t be because they’ve earned it or deserve His kindness. Second, He will be praised for the grace and mercy He gives in restraint. Not to mention, He will uphold His word to have Israel as a people for Himself. If He cuts them off, He will go back on His Word. 

The center point for God’s actions and activities is His own glory and praise, not man’s response. He is not going to act because man is the center of the universe. Everything God does is for the sake of His own name. He could not possibly do it for the glory of another. Why? Because if God were to defer His glory and elevate the glory of another, then that thing would be God and worthy of our praise. But the Triune God is the highest of all beings. There isn’t anyone or anything that can be elevated above Him. So it is right and good for God to exalt the praise of His name above everything else in the universe.

This should comfort us as Christians. We should pray in line with this. “Oh God, do it for your name’s sake. Save my lost family member. Restore our country back to godliness. Heal my sickness. For the glory of Your Name, that You may be praised!” God’s glory is His highest aim, and it should be ours too.  

Reflection & Journal:
- How do most people react to egomaniacs?
- Why is it not sin or bad for God to prioritize the praise of His own name?
- What are some ways this Scripture informs our theology and practice?

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