Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"I Will Make Your Name Great"

In my last two posts (Friday, Monday), I have been taking a look at the sin of those who proposed to build the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. As I had mentioned, there was always something curious about that story in my mind. I guess I never really thought it made sense. I didn't know what the big deal was about building a tower. But as I've read it afresh, God's intentions became clear to me. And so in their declaration to build the Tower, we saw that their sin was twofold: that it was directly disobedient to God's command to fill the earth, and that their desire to make a name for themselves was treasonous. And, with our wicked, rebellious, desperately sick hearts, and all of our prideful desires to bring glory to our name, and to steal it from Yahweh who's name is worthy, we found ourselves right there with them, building that Tower.

It's a sad story, because it gives us a realistic look at who we are as human beings. Not "basically good" people who sometimes do bad things but are generally all right, but as rebellious, treasonous subjects who spit on the name of their King in hopes to steal the renown due Him and gain a name for ourselves.

But this study would be incomplete without reading the opening verses of the next chapter in Genesis. Be stunned by this.
  • Genesis 12:1-3 - Now Yahweh said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing; And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
This is so great. There is glory to be given to Yahweh for His sovereignty. The Babel-onians' problem was that they wanted to make a name for themselves. But Yahweh tells us that He is the One who makes names great! He is the source of glory and renown! And no one will decide what's happening with His creatures and His creation but the Creator Himself! Amazing!

But... wait a minute, though. What about how zealously Yahweh pursues glory for His own name, and how He won't give His glory to another? The sin of the Babel-onians was that they wanted to make a name for themselves, and thus steal Yahweh's glory. And now here, Yahweh is talking about making Abram's name great? What sense does this make?

This is so beautiful, friends. This is the wonderful glory of grace! Yahweh our God will have nothing of anyone trying to make their own name great. He will have no pretenders to His throne. But it is of great glory to Him to freely benefit those whom He chooses to benefit. How zealously does He declare that He pursues His own glory! And He does! But how lovely is it that He -- not shares His glory with, but -- is glorified in an unworthy moon worshiper from Ur of the... who? The Chaldeans! The Babylonians! Just a few generations later, Yahweh freely decides to grace a man with a great name from the very land in which He destroyed the plans of the people to make for themselves a great name!

That Yahweh makes His name great and zealously pursues His glory is a great and wonderful thing. It exalts Him high as Lord over all, a God to be feared and worshiped for His great glory. And we should love that about Him!

But that He purposes to make His name great by freely making an unworthy enemy's name great glorifies Him all the more as the God of grace!

Love this grace, Christian! For it has come to you and me. God has freely chosen us rebellious traitors to participate in this great drama of bringing all glory to Himself. Praise God! Grace has come to you and me!

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.
- Titus 2:11 -


Rachael Starke said...

Hi Mike,

Just wanted to check and and say hello. Hope your first semester is going well and you're finding a good community in the enormous universe that is GCC. I'm in the middle of prepping to teach next Wednesday at our womens' Bible study on treasuring God in all of life and love what you've written in this series. Keep going!

God bless you and your dear wife!

Mike Riccardi said...

Hey Rachael!

Thanks for the comment, and for your consideration. They are both very much appreciated! ;o)

First semester is indeed going well. I'm really enjoying my classes and all the work that comes with them. In these past four weeks I've often compared my seminary experience to the Christian life in that they both require you to do things that are joyful to do.

Community in the enormous universe is a bit more difficult. We're still "shopping" for different fellowship groups and praying pretty diligently about where we ought to plug in. There's a lot of factors that go into that, mostly under the headings of opportunities for growth and opportunities for ministry/service. We'd appreciate your prayers for that.

And I'm very blessed to know that you've benefited from the series and I thank you for your encouragement!

Rachael Starke said...

Have you checked out Jim Pile's group - I think it's called Joint Heirs? I was just catching up with him today and he's definitely awash in ministry opportunities - aka, he's pretty swamped. If you meet him, play a little joke with him by telling him that I have sent you personally to minister to him by answering all his vocab and grammar questions because I just can't take all the phone calls any more. :) Seriously, hhe and his wife have been like family since long before I had one. If John is the head of GCC, Jim is definitely the heart.

Ebony Boyd said...

Wonderful story, my The Lord continue to bless you and your wife.