For Thy Name's Sake
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” (Psalm 31:3)
In this psalm of misery and mercy, we see David’s testimony. “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness” (Psalm 31:1). His faith was strong, but afflictions and opposition were on all sides. He appeals to God for relief (Psalm 31:2) and is confident of the reply, and that that reply will reflect God’s omnipotence and grace. His total trust was in this benevolent God. “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth” (v. 5), which, of course, was quoted by Christ at the moment of His death on the cross (Luke 23:46).
But note David’s grounds for appeal to God for action: “For thy name’s sake,” as recorded in our text. David’s heartfelt desire here is more than merely relief from his persecution, as desperate as was that need, but for the glory of God and the honor of His name.
God’s name and reputation are at stake when His children are being persecuted. Indeed, the national leaders of Israel had frequently prayed for God to act on the same grounds (for example, see Exodus 32:12). Even in the New Testament we are encouraged to pray in that name: “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).
Even though we are always warranted in using this plea in our praying, we must do so in recognition of and submission to the fact that there are limitations. God will never contradict His nature or His Word, and in His sovereignty He knows better solutions to each problem than we can ask for. His greater plans must always take precedence. But when these prerequisites are recognized and accepted, the prayer in His name and for His glory is the one which prevails. JDM