But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. (Ezekiel 20:9)
For My Name’s Sake
The third commandment given to Moses by the Lord at Sinai warned against profaning the name of God. Taking the name of the Lord in vain was punishable by death. The people who heard a man curse the name of God would put their hands on his head and all the congregation would stone him to death. It was a grievous sin to worship idols and to fall down before carved images and taking the name of God in vain was a capital offense deserving of execution. Using God’s name in vain can be viewed with disregard but one of the most important elements to the character of the Lord is the sanctity of His name.
During the captivity of Israel in Babylon, Ezekiel the prophet explained the purpose of the bondage of God’s people in a foreign land. In telling the history of the children of Abraham, Ezekiel reminds the captives of the patience and longsuffering of God towards the people as they left Egypt and began their march to the land promised to Abraham. The forty years of wilderness wanderings came as a result of the rebellion of Israel to obey the word of the Lord. God had pleaded with His people to give up their idols of Egypt but they refused. He poured out His fury and His anger upon the nation. At Sinai, the Lord was going to utterly destroy the people had it not been for the intercession of Moses. Throughout the next forty years, the people murmured, complained, rebelled, and acted in every rebellious manner imaginable and through it all God’s love and mercy allowed the people to live. Ezekiel is reminding the captives in Babylon that their salvation was not because of their worth that God did those things. Everything God did for Israel was for His name’s sake.
Every action of God is for the name of the Lord; it is not for the glory of man. Much of what the Lord did for and against Israel had as much to do with the impact on others as upon the Hebrews. The Lord acted to protect the honor of His name not allowing shame to be brought on His name among the surrounding nations. Delivering the Hebrews from Egypt brought fear to the citizens of Jericho forty years later. Rahab knew the Lord had given the land to Israel and the terror of them had made the inhabitants fearful of the power of the one who dried up the water of the Red Sea and defeated the kings of the Amorites. God’s name was glorified by His power but the action of the Israelites brought shame to the name of God. Now in captivity, Ezekiel reminds the people allowing Babylon to enter the city of Jerusalem and destroy the temple was by the will of the Lord and for the glory of God.
There is a powerful lesson for the nation of God in the church to realize the influence of the lives of His people will either bring honor to the name of the Lord or dishonor. God acts in a way that brings glory to His name so that His name will be exalted among all people. No matter what man does, God’s name will be exalted on high. However, the character of the person of God can impact the name of God by the way they act, how they talk, the manner of the dress (or lack thereof), and the attitudes of the heart seen by the world. The church is heavily impacted by the lives of members who live like the world because they bring shame and reproach to the name of God. The Lord acts for the glory of His name. All of those who call upon His name should wear His name in purity, nobility, and honesty. The name Christian bears the name of God’s Son. No man or woman should call themselves a Christian if they are not willing to live up to the name that is to be holy, sacred, and revered. God acts for His name’s sake. Let my life reflect that honor.