“Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us and forgive our sins for Your name’s sake.”
So often in the psalms of lament, we see the psalmist cry for deliverance from the circumstances causing his lamentation. This particular psalm is also an imprecatory prayer in that he calls on God to pour out His wrath on those kingdoms who do no know Him, (Psalm 79:6). Here, as we see in most of these types of psalms, the motivation for the psalmist’s plea is God’s glory. He is calling for God to avenge His holy name.
This should give us pause for a few reasons. First, we must recognize that God’s name is synonymous with His person. In Exodus 3 when Moses inquired of God His name, God responded with “I AM WHO I AM,” (Exodus 3:14). God is the absolute ultimate being, and His name is not a simple moniker. It is, in essence and in reality, who He is. God’s ancient people understood this clearly and forbid His name to be uttered. Jesus also knew this to be true, a fact that gives such gravity to Christ’s words when He said, “…before Abraham was, I AM,” (John 8:58). There, Jesus is saying, just as to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Jesus Christ is, in fullness, God.
Second, we need to understand that God’s care for us is not simply because He’s nice, and we’re so lovable and deserving of good treatment. God is preserving for Himself, “…a people of His own possession,” that we would “…proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called (us) out of darkness into His maervelous light,” (1 Peter 2:9). In short, He has saved us and continues to preserve us for Himself—for His own glory.
Third, we need to feel the full weight of the position this puts us in as His people. We are His, living among people that will look to us to model Christ in a world that grows increasingly more hostile to Him. We cannot claim the salvation of Christ while rejecting the lordship of Christ. He is, to us, both or neither. Our purpose and primary mission is to present Christ to a broken and fallen world regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. We are to faithfully serve Him, and He will take care of the rest.
While it is right for us to pray for God’s care and provision, we must remember that God is absolutely sovereign and He takes His own glory seriously. Likewise, so should we. When we pray for Him to provide for our needs, right our wrongs, and fix our circumstances, is it His name that is supreme in our minds? Or do we think that because we have taken the time to pray that we somehow deserve His favor? We must remember that we are simply clay in the Master Potter’s hand. Pray that what He makes of us will bring Him glory.