I was reading the 23rd Psalm the other day.  I was reading it in the King James version (if it was good enough for Jesus and His disciples . . .)

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

So through two and a half verses, it’s all about me.  Being selfish as I am, this is appropriate.  All of a sudden, though, it changes.

he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Well, now.  He went from nurturing me and coddling me (well, sure, He makes me lie down in green pastures, probably after a picnic.  Go ahead, “make me” do more stuff like that!) to leading me in paths of righteousness.  Not so free and easy, so lackadaisical, so green pastures/restoring/still waters/not wanting-y.  Righteousness – that’s starting to be all about God, not all about me.

And then that final part – for His name’s sake.  For the sake of the name of God.  For protecting His good name.

The God of the universe, the creator of Heaven and Earth (and me) is going to be leading me where He thinks I should go, in order to keep His reputation – His name – from being sullied and soiled.

Let’s take this a bit farther.  God cares how He is viewed – not by other gods, because they’re false, so therefore by people.  He wants His name to be kept pure, so that people (sinners, obviously, since Christians already bless the name of the Lord) will respect His name.  Not his physical name (although I’m sure all the OMG stuff that’s prevalent bothers Him – He is their God, but they don’t realize it yet), but His reputation, His character points, His street cred.  God cares about how He is viewed by the world, and wants the world to look up to Him.  Preferably by choice, although one day by force (or majesty, or . . .).  From Phil 2:9-11

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him [Jesus], and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So once again we see the power of the name of God.  And understand a little better why God is selfish about protecting His name.

This whole “name of God” thing just gets curiouser and curiouser.  And somehow I don’t think I’m done looking into it.

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