For His Namesake

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October 28, 2021

Numbers 14:13-16 (NIV)

13 Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear about it! By your power you brought these people up from among them. 14 And they will tell the inhabitants of this land about it. They have already heard that you, Lord, are with these people and that you, Lord, have been seen face to face, that your cloud stays over them, and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. 15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

CONSIDER THIS

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

It’s today again! ;0) 

Let’s begin by remembering the last thing God said to Moses in yesterday’s text. 

I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.” v.12

Moses does a fascinating thing here—and quite subversively lawyerly. He doesn’t defend the people. He appeals to the honorable reputation of the Judge. 

If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

Moses’ client, aka the People of Israel, have given him no leg to stand on. They are guilty as charged. He is not appealing for mercy or even one more chance—just yet. He is not throwing himself on the mercy of the court. No, Moses is appealing to the glorious reputation of God. 

Let me take what will seem like a left turn here. In the mornings, on the way to school over the years, I have tried to claim the time to rehearse key texts of Scripture with my children. Sam is the only one left that I still drive to school and he turns sixteen next month; so my days are numbered. For his eighth grade year we rehearsed Psalm 23 every single morning—OK, most of them. For his 9th grade year we did Psalm 24. We are working on Matthew 5:1-10 now (Beatitudes). I will say one verse and he will say the next and so on. Yesterday, as is our custom every few weeks, we do a review. Sam makes an error, almost habitually, every single time we do Psalm 23. Here’s how it goes:

DAD: The Lord is my Shepherd. . .
SAM: I shall not want. . .
DAD: He makes me lie down in green pastures. . .
SAM: For his name’s sake. . .
DAD: He leads me beside still waters. . .
SAM: For his name’s sake. . .
DAD: He leads me in paths of righteousness. . .
SAM: For his name’s sake. . .

“Finally!” I want to say. “For his name’s sake” comes after, “He leads me in paths of righteousness, Sam!” And yesterday, it finally hit me. Sam is exactly right. “For his name’s sake,” comes after everything he does! Thank you, Sam!

This is what Moses was getting at in today’s text: 

15 If you put all these people to death, leaving none alive, the nations who have heard this report about you will say, 16 ‘The Lord was not able to bring these people into the land he promised them on oath, so he slaughtered them in the wilderness.’

For his name’s sake! Anything and everything God does is done for his name’s sake. And here’s the amazing grace part. When his name is exalted, it is simultaneously and irrevocably for his glory, for our gain, and for others’ good. 

So, yes, Lord. Hallowed be your name! For your name’s sake! All the time! 

THE PRAYER

Our Father, for your name’s sake, we live and move and have our being. Make it more so today than it was yesterday. Lord Jesus, yours is the name that is above every name. “Mountains bow down and the sea will roar at the sound of your name!” Thank you for naming me Christian, a name after your own name. Come Holy Spirit and write the name of Love and Holiness on my heart, that my life would be lived for your name’s sake. Yes, Lord, this is my aspiration and ambition. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

“For his namesake.” Write these words in different places today throughout your day– in your journal, on the top of the next meeting agenda, on the napkin at lunch, on a post-it note in the car, on the mirror in your bathroom, on the back of the door on the way outside. “For his namesake.” 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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