When I was in high school and had my freshly printed driver’s license, my father would always tell me this before I left the house. It was a simple reminder to remember my upbringin’, and to not do anything stupid. He heard it from his father, and I’ll pass it to my daughters.
Psalm 79 is a tough read. There’s been a major disaster that was caused by the invasion of an enemy, which has caused the author great stress. In this Psalm, he begs God for relief from the suffering. Look what he writes in Psalm 79:8-9,
Do not remember the iniquities of our forefathers against us; let Your compassion come quickly to meet us; for we are brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and forgive our sins, for Your name’s sake.
He’s asking God to remember who He is. As if God needed reminding!
God has lots of names in the Bible, all revealing something about Him and His character. The name that inspired the most (for lack of a better term) reverence was YHWH (depending on which vowels are used, is pronounced “Yahweh” or “Jehovah”). Ancient scribes took the name of God so seriously that when they were copying the scripture, they would stop before writing the name of God, go wash and change their clothes, and then come back and write his name. The ancient Jews refrained from saying this name of God for fear they would break the third commandment (the one about taking God’s name in vain). Jesus got Himself in trouble with the Jewish leaders by referring to Himself with this name (see the end of John 8).
In this Psalm, the author asks God to help, deliver, and forgive for the glory and sake of His name. Everything God does brings glory to His name. Sometimes, we (like the author of this psalm) don’t understand how our present circumstances bring glory to God’s name, but He does. It’s when we look back on the situation, sometimes months or years after it has passed, that we see how the situation brought glory to God’s name.
So if everything God does brings glory to His name, what do we do to bring glory to it… or shame to it? Sin brings shame on His name, and yet even that has brought glory to His name–through the cross of Jesus. For those of us who follow Jesus, the cross must motivate us to live lives that glorify His name.
Because we wear it (Christian… “little Christ”).