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Posts Tagged ‘Christ in me’

The phrase, “for your name’s sake,” almost sounds like a last ditch argument. Almost, the psalmist seems to be saying, well, if you won’t help me for any other reason, at least do it for the sake of your own reputation.

From the Blog, Dark Side of the Moon.

From the Blog, Dark Side of the Moon.

For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;

    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant. [Psalm 143:11-12, NIV]

It’s not a concept we use as much in our contemporary culture. Oh, perhaps on occasion, a parent may go ballistic because his/her child has been maligned at school and a number of conferences ensue to protect the family name. And, we saw a little more patriotism after the terrible events of 9/11, when unexpectedly, everyone seemed to raise the American flag in a furor of national allegiance. For that season, we were all proud to be Americans (but, in my mind, the cost for such public spirit was too high).

However, back in biblical times or even later periods of history, it was much more common practice to defend the family name, or the tribe, or the “House.” It was as though the tribe itself had its own honor, its own personality, its own history to which all were responsible for upholding its good name. They were bound together by their faith in their King, a sovereign whose people were being harmed or killed or scorned. Rise up! They called. Raise the banner. Fight the good fight. Defend! And in those efforts, they would inevitably come to their altars and to their gods and ask for favor, in defense of the “King’s” offspring or servants or knights or countrymen. The people were the King’s representatives, for good for for ill.

But there’s another way to look at this verse which becomes more relevant for me today by examining alternate translations. My favorite is actually the NASB (emphasis mine):

For the sake of Your name, O Lord, revive me.
In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble.
And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies
And destroy all those who afflict my soul,
For I am Your servant. [Psalm 143:11-12, NASB]

This identifies the enemy: the enemy within. The struggles that happen within the heart and soul. Here is where I can understand fully the cry out to God to save me, to heal me, to protect me by casting out the voices of my past, the ingrained habits that threaten to dissolve my peace and hope, the ancient “enemy.” And for only one reason: because I am a Child of God; I have confessed and committed to the Christ Spirit within me; I yield to the One God and serve God wholly. For these reasons, I ask for help in casting off the “old man.” — “We know this: whatever we used to be with our old sinful ways has been nailed to His cross. So our entire record of sin has been canceled, and we no longer have to bow down to sin’s power.” [Romans 6:6, The Voice]

 

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