Have you ever been alone in a busy place? Maybe you were traveling, and are surrounded in the street or market with an unfamiliar language being spoken. Maybe you were in a new class or a new workplace where you didn’t know anyone. The rest of the people around you are doing their own things, maybe talking with each other or just passing through by themselves.
In these cases, sometimes it’s interesting for me to ponder the fact that I am probably not going to make a lasting impression on any of these people. They likely won’t remember me tomorrow, even if I do something cool, or if I trip and embarrass myself. I vaguely remember a comedian (maybe Steven Wright?) who suggested standing up and insisting something like, “I am not background noise for your lives!”
Having said that, if I’m having a bad day, it is actually pretty encouraging to think that my mistakes of today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Over the past couple of articles, we’ve looked at the Israelite’s behavior in the time of Ezekiel the prophet (and priest), and found that not only was gross unrighteousness being practiced, but the name of God was being defamed.
As a result, God is going to do something, but maybe not what others would expect.
“Therefore say to the Israelites, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.
Ezekiel 36:22-23 NIV
So, God is about to do something, but He’s not going to do it because the people somehow earned His favor. In fact, He’s going to do something despite the fact that they are openly bringing insult to His name.
Note that God’s name is holy: it is set apart from everything else, both His creation and false gods created by people. God is separate from them, special and unique and apart (even though He has reached out to us and seeks a personal relationship with us).
This is important for us to remember: God (including God’s name) isn’t just “one more thing” in our lives. He isn’t just “another god” or just “another part of the universe”. Instead, He is holy, and not the same as anything else that we encounter, whether in the spiritual, physical, or intellectual realms.
So, if any of us is treating God as just another part of our life, it’s time for a wake-up call. We need to step back and appreciate that, as the song says, “There is None Like You” (probably based on Psalm 86:8). God can’t be merely another voice in our lives, or just another relationship; He must be the primary relationship in our lives, and the standard against which everything else is measured.
As a result, let’s ask ourselves some questions:
- Is God holy in our lives, unique and special among other voices that we listen to?
- Do our words and our actions bring glory to God’s name, or do they bring offense to Him?
- Is our behavior such that God can reward our righteousness, or are we just hoping to be caught up with positive results of Him protecting His name?
God will be honored and glorified. The question is whether or not we will voluntarily give Him the glory, or be faced with a reality so great and powerful that we must yield to Him. Philippians 2:9-11. gives us a great example (see also Isaiah 45:22-25, Romans 14:11), and reading these verses would be a great place for each of us to start a conversation with God today about how we can bring glory to His name.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for September 11, 2022
- The Lookout, September 11, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.