Friday, June 26, 2009

Pray for Mercy on the Basis of God's Love for His Own Name

I'll be away for the weekend, so I thought I'd leave this for you to meditate on in the meantime. First, though, if you haven't watched the sermon in the previous post, I'd strongly recommend you do that.

But this selection is by John Piper, from the sermon The Pleasure of God In His Name, originally preached on February 15, 1987. In the downloadable audio file, this clip is from about 25:00 to about 28:00. I don't offer any comments except to say: (1) Amen, and (2) I desire that all Christians pray this way, because it is the God-honoring way to think, pray, and read the Bible.
1But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel. ... 5The men of Ai struck down about thirty-six of their men, and pursued them from the gate as far as Shebarim and struck them down on the descent, so the hearts of the people melted and became as water. 6Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the LORD until the evening, both he and the elders of Israel; and they put dust on their heads.

Joshua said, "Alas, O Lord GOD, why did You ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan! O Lord, what can I say since Israel has turned their back before their enemies? For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear of it, and they will surround us and cut off our name from the earth. And what will You do for Your great name?" - Joshua 7:1, 5-9

Do you see the Gospel logic he's pressing on God? "What are you going to do for Your name if they wipe us out God?!"

Now let me ask you: do you pray for mercy on the basis of God's love for His own name? Do you ask for help as a sinner on the basis of God's unwavering, eternal commitment always to act for the glory of His name? Do you? Or have you bought in to the American way? What is the basis of hope and joy in America? You are! Self is the basis of the gospel. You are the ground of your joy. You are the ground of your hope. You are the ground of your dignity.

You! You! You! Me! Me! Me! Self! Self! Self!

God saves sinners for His own name's sake! And when you get desperate, plead to God on the basis of God!

Not on the basis of yourself. It is sand, brothers and sisters. It is sand. But there is a Rock. There is a Rock: the impossibility that God will ever, ever act in any way but in conformity to an infinite delight in His own name.

For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.
- Isaiah 48:11 -

O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action!
For Your own sake,
O my God, do not delay,
because Your city and Your people
are called by Your name.
- Daniel 9:19 -

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