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For the Sake of….Whose Name?

It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of My holy name. Ezekiel 36:22 (NIV)

In my earnestness to pray for things, I all too quickly forget the most significant reason why God chooses to grant answers.

Yes, He loves me. Yes, His loving-kindness knows no bounds. Yes, He’s compassionate, the God of comfort. And I believe He delights in answering prayers, the heart of a father who is excited for a child to open a gift.

But at the heart of His blessings and the reason He wants to answer my petitions—even those gifts that cause my hands bleed when I open them—aren’t about me.

Let’s say I received a gift from God, an answer to prayer, and you asked, “Who gave you that gift?”

What if I shrugged and said, “I got what I wanted.”

God’s answered prayers aren’t for the sake of answered prayers, to make us comfortable, ease hardship.

They serve the purpose of exalting His name. And if I’m asked, it’s on me to direct attention to the gift Giver.

Multiple times God intervened for His people. Still does today and remains forever in sovereign governance over us and all the happenings in our world. (I expect He’s especially busy these days)

But He doesn’t mince words about the reason why He supplied their needs.

In the day of my trouble I will call to You, for You will answer me…All the nations You have made will come and worship before You, O Lord; they will bring glory to Your name. Psalm 86:7, 9

Glory to…God’s name.

Unlike the Psalmist, I might indulge in a default response where you just listen to me babble on about the fact that the thing that’d been bothering me is no longer an issue, that my burdens were lifted, finances taken care of, marriage strengthened, family or friends healed.

God doesn’t give me stuff just to give me stuff like an undisciplined parent catering to a spoiled child.

He gives me stuff for the sake of His holy name.

Same is true when He withholds answers in order that I may grow to know Jesus more intimately in my suffering.

God does all He does for the sake of His holy name.

“I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake,” declares the sovereign Lord. Ezekiel 36:32

Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel…then they will know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 36: 37-38

It couldn’t be any clearer.

When we receive answers to prayer, it’s not really about us.

In what ways can you more readily turn attention to the Lord and exalt His name when He faithfully answers?


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✏️ Two of my 2019 inspirational articles that were published in Refresh, Online Bible Study Magazine, are featured in this 40 short Bible studies compilation, The Power to Make a Difference Available on Amazon.


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