Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake! —Psalm 79:9
God’s glory is the sum total of all His infinite perfections. God, being who He is and how He is, by necessity, does all that He does for the glory of His glory. Nothing exists that is more glorious than God’s glory, more precious than God’s glory, nor more deserving of love and praise than God in all His glory. So it makes sense that since God is perfect love, God must love perfectly with perfect love that which is perfectly worthy of perfect devotion, namely God’s glory.
It took me a while to understand the necessity of those conclusions and, admittedly, it took me even longer to grasp the application that truth requires: If God honors and loves and does all He does for the furtherance of His glory, then it is His glory, not me and my need, for which God primarily acts. God is not all about me. He is all about His glory. Take that, O proud ego of mine!
But here’s the glory of it. God’s pursuit of His glory includes me; it includes my spiritual and temporal well-being; it includes my joy! God’s satisfaction in His glory expands to include us and make us pursuers of His glory with Him, so that we might share in His satisfaction in His glory.
Which brings us to Psalm 79:9. Israel has been invaded and Jerusalem is in ruins. The invading army laid waste to the citizenry. Many are dead, their bodies left unburied, food for scavengers. Israel is the butt of international jokes. God’s anger has been poured out on His wayward, covenant-breaking, faithless people. It is at this point Asaph pours out his plea: “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!”
The psalmist does not here appeal to God’s love or to His mercy, rather to God’s glory. He appeals to that which is most precious to God and most worthy of God’s attention. He does not base his appeal on himself, his need, his country, or the need of his people. He turns to God, rightly, and pleads for God’s glory. Help us for your glory. Deliver us for your glory. Atone for our sins, for your glory. Inherent in this faithful, desperate prayer is the desire for God to make Himself known as He truly is to those who observe Israel’s plight.
It is right to pray, to intercede for ourselves and for others, but what is the best motive for our requests? God’s glory. It is good to seek the Lord and desire His presence and power in our lives, but to what end? God’s glory! We might be tempted to think that God should act on our behalf on account of His love for us. How much better for us when we arrive at the understanding that there is no greater, nobler, perfect motive for God’s action than God’s glory. When we come to desire what God desires, the earth full of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, then we are ready to have our prayers for help, deliverance, and forgiveness answered.
“Our Father, who art in heaven, . . . Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” for your glory.
In this Fighter Verse, the psalmist gives us an example of making God’s glory the focus of his prayer. How would you make God’s glory the focus of your prayers?
Does the knowledge of God’s love for His glory change your motivation in loving others and doing good? How?