“For the sake of your name forgive my iniquity, though it is great.” (Psalm 25:11)
“It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man. God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself.” John Piper
One thing I discovered while beating on Psalm 25 these past 8 months. David is convinced that God has bound himself to him in an unbreakable union. What happens to David somehow reflects upon the glory of God.
God Cherishes His Glory. Before I attempt to show you how this became clear to me, let us remind ourselves how important God’s glory is to God. In Isaiah 48:11, God says it like this: “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” The Lord has just reprimanded the people of Israel for their rebellion in spite of the fact He has graciously displayed his grace among them. He has spoken to them, time and again, speaking prophetic truths, displaying his faithful love to them. Although they have continued their rebellion in spite of all that He has done for them, he has not cut them off. Why? He explains: “For my own sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the fire of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:9-10)
God will not let go. Although Israel deserves to be cast aside, God is still working among them, refining them, burning off the evil that still clings to their hearts. Why is he so patient? Is it because they are precious? Is it because they are good? Is it because they are just ignorant? No. It is because he has chosen Israel to be a people who would bring glory to his name. He will not cast them aside for the sake of his name. When God chooses a man or a woman to be a part of his family, their end, their completion and their success is bound up with God’s purpose to honor his name. He will complete what he began. (Philippians 1:6)
Now, go back to Psalm 25 with me. “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. In you I trust, O my God.” (1) Look at each word. David speaks to a Person. David is in relationship to his God. David stands in his presence. He lifts his soul, all that he is, to the One who not only chose him, but the One who is close to him.
David has one fear: shame. I believe he does not ultimately fear failure in the eyes of men, but failure in the sight of God. When you are chosen by God, you not only fear him but you love him. When I was a boy, I stayed out of trouble, not just because I feared what my father might do to me, but I feared doing something that would bring shame to his name. The privilege of having such an awesome father carried with it a responsibility. My mother used to say it like this: “Others my. You may not.” Where some children may have rebelled against such a rigid standard, I welcomed it. I not only feared my father, I loved and respected him. I welcomed the opportunity to please my Dad and display his character as best I could through my life. Of course I was not perfect, but that fear, the fear of bringing embarrassment to my father, kept me out of a lot of trouble.
Here is a key verse. Listen to the confidence in David’s pronouncement. “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.” Here is why I love “Bible beating.” In my studies I came upon the point of this paper. David feels like he is bound to God. I wrote that in my devotional journal. Then, a few days before I was to preach on these passages, I decided to revisit the word for hope. In verse 2, David expressed his “trust” in his God. It means I “wait” on God. I assumed that the word he used in verse 3, was the same Hebrew word. But, when I looked it up I found out it was different. “No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.” The word for “hope” here means, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it: “To bind together, (perhaps by twisting).” (Strong’s Definitions) The impression that I had earlier was confirmed by beating on the text.
God gave me a nugget. The Lord allowed me to uncover a nugget that confirmed my impression. It may sound like a small thing to you, but it wasn’t for me. My God was working with me, not only to clarify the Word, but letting me know he was for me.
So, what was David saying? Here is what I think. He was saying, “Lord, you have bound me to yourself. You will keep me from shame because I am bound to you. Your glory is entwined with my success. You are my God. No matter what, I am safe in you.”
Why would God forgive great sin? That is what David was referring to when he prayed: “For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquities, though they are great.” (11) David was fully aware of God’s holiness. He knew that God hates sin. He wrote in Psalm 5:5, “you hate all who do wrong.” So, David was not toying with God’s white hot hatred towards sin. But he had hope. God had attached the glory of his name to his welfare. God would not separate from David, even though his iniquity was great.
The Root of our confidence: The root of this confidence is found in this truth: Everything God does, he does to display his glory. Whether it is in creation (Psalm 19:10); or in the incarnation (John 13:31-32); or, in our redemption (John 17:1-5). And, in everything we do, even if it is in mundane things like eating or drinking, our aim is to display the glory of God. We live for His sake; as Moses did (Hebrews 11:26) and as Paul did (Philippians 3:7).
How we can glorify Him in Trouble. If the purpose of our lives is to treasure the glory of God’s name, David reveals one way we do it. God is glorified when we maintain our hope in Him, when we take refuge in him, even in the darkest of moments. “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”(Psalm 34:8) “The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in him.” (Psalm 37:40) Believing God’s promises, taking refuge in him when surrounded by enemies, and trusting him to forgive us of all of our sins, are some of the ways we glorify Him.
What shall we take from this study? 1) God has bound believers to his purpose to glorify himself (Isaiah 43:6; 1 Peter 2:9). 2) Because of this, he will see to it, that though we stumble, we will not fall. He will uphold us with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24). 3) With that assurance, we can a live a life of faith that refuses to settle for comfort and safety (Philippians 3:12-14). 4) Finally, our greatest joy and our highest privilege is to display the glory of God by living the kind of life that brings honor to his Name. (1 Corinthians 10:31)