Monday, January 5, 2009

The Logic of God's Loving Self-Exaltation

As I was preaching on the first petition of the Lord's prayer this week, it struck me that Jesus tells us to pray for God's Name to be hallowed. In other words, God wants us to pray that his Name will be set apart as holy, glorified, crowned with all praise! In fact, all of Scripture demonstrates that everything from creation to redemption is for the glory of God's Name. God is relentlessly pursuing the praise of his own glory. He wants his character to be displayed and rejoiced in. This begs a question:

How God can be loving and yet so self-exalting? How can God be relentlessly self-interested and still be love? Doesn't the Bible tell us love is not self-seeking (1 Cor. 13)?

Yes, the Bible does tell us love is not self-seeking. For any man to seek his own exaltation and glory would be the ultimately unloving act. So, how can it be loving for God to pursue his own glory?

Let me answer this by giving you a series of 7 questions that provide the biblical logic for God's loving self-exaltation:

1. What is more loving than providing the object of your love joy?
2. What provides more earthly joy than that which transcends self, is grander than us, more beautiful than us, more awe-inspiring than us? (Just think of the joy you receive in a sunset on the beach, or the birth of your child, or your wedding day, or a great sports moment, or a great sacrificial act).
3. What is the consummation of your moments of earthly joy, if it is not praise? Is your praise not the fulfillment of your joy? (Simply think of the spontaneous praise offered during a great sports moment).
4. If the moments of joy we experience on earth are temporal, would it not be superior to receive that which can bring eternal joy?
5. What can bring eternal joy, which consummates in praise, other than the only eternally praise-worthy Lord of all? If you can experience the only eternally joy-inducing and most glorious, majestic, beautiful, and awe-inspiring God of all, why would you settle for some lesser and temporal joy?
6. What would be more unloving than to point the object of your love away from the all-sufficient, eternal joy of God, so that they can rejoice in a temporal moment alone?
7. What could be more loving than for God, in whose right hand is found joy forevermore, to continue to display his glory, so that the objects of his love have the privilege of consummating their joy in eternal praise?

Therefore, for Jesus to bid us to pray, "Hallowed be Your Name," is the most loving prayer in which he could direct us. For it is in God answering this prayer that we receive eternal joy which consummates in the praise of his glory!

No comments: