Making a Name for Himself
Let’s read some verses and talk about each of them and draw some conclusions. I’m reading from the New King James version and the first is from 2 Samuel.
“And who is like Your people, like Israel, the one nation on the earth whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people, to make for Himself a name—and to do for Yourself great and awesome deeds for Your land—before Your people whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt, the nations, and their gods?” (2 Samuel 7:23).
Who is like you, oh Israel? You are that people, the one nation on the earth that the God of heaven and earth went to redeem. He did this to make for Himself a Name and to do for you great and awesome deeds.
If you were to search out that idea, that pattern, “to make for Himself a name,” you would find that it is God’s heart above all things to have an inheritance in His people. In Ephesians 1, again and again it says, “to the praise of His glory,” “to the praise of His glory”…that He might have an inheritance. In the book of Ezekiel by itself, that idea comes up over and over again in chapters 20 and 36, “…to make for Himself a Name..” “…for My holy Name…”
David said, “You, my God, have revealed to your servant that you will build a house for him. So your servant has found courage to pray to you. O Lord, you are God!” (1 Chron. 17:25-26).
It’s God’s heart and God’s will that He would build a church that the gates of hell won’t prevail against. It’s His will that He would be manifested to destroy the works of the evil one and that He would make a great name for Himself, on earth as it is in heaven. Because that’s His desire, it’s got to be our passion too—that God would make a name for Himself.
“Who is like you, oh Israel?” You among all the nations—you, Church, have been chosen. All the nations are ruled by Jesus “for the church” (Ephesians 1:22-23). God gave Him a name and a place above every name, above every authority and above every kingdom in the seen and the unseen world. It’s for the purpose of redeeming His Church and bringing His Church to a place where the gates of hell won’t prevail against it. It is God’s will to make a name for Himself, and in the process He will do great and awesome deeds for your land.
“Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, ‘Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.’ Then he said, ‘Do it a second time,’ and they did it a second time; and he said, ‘Do it a third time,’ and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water” (1 Kings 18: 32-35).
Just before this Elijah was marching around and making a mockery out of the prophets of baal saying, “Oh, your god must be on vacation! Maybe he’s asleep. Yell a little bit louder. Wake him up.”
Where did Elijah get the courage to do that? Here he is against the 450 prophets of baal and Jezebel. To everyone else, it seems like he’s there all alone. Yet he won’t just leave well enough alone and stand there quivering and biting his fingernails, waiting to see what God might do. Instead he made a big production out of it and had a great time really hamming it up. Then he poured water all over it just to add to the whole drama of it.
“And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.’ Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!’ And Elijah said to them, ‘Seize the prophets of baal! Do not let one of them escape!’ So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there” (1 Kings 18:36-40).
You can see the war and the battle that is going on. That same warfare exists in this room over your own hearts, your families and your lives. It exists in our work places and in the neighborhoods we live in.
“Who is the Lord God?” And Elijah said, “Show them. Bring down fire from heaven. Hear my prayer so that everyone will know that this is of God. This isn’t philosophy. This isn’t just a way to believe in order that we might have a better life. Show them, oh God, that this is You.”
That same battle still exists today. Our battle is not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers. It’s not just a philosophy of living and behavior modification so we can all be happy. We will be happy if we live God’s way, because He designed us so that His Word is what rightly orders our lives. But it’s certainly not limited to that and that’s not the real issue.
The real issue is in Ephesians 3:10 where it says that God, through the Church, will make known His glorious manifold wisdom to the principalities and powers. That’s where the real issue is. This universe exists so that all of the demons and the authorities and principalities and powers—everything that’s not subject to Jesus—would be humiliated and put under His feet. That work was begun and actually finished on the Cross when Jesus made a public spectacle of the principalities and powers, triumphing over them (Col. 2:15). Now we’re enforcing and proclaiming and declaring that. That’s where the issue is.
So, in Elijah’s life it wasn’t just a matter of his getting his own way. Rather, it was “Show them that You are the Lord God! Show them that all of the heavens and the earth bow before Your Name. Manifest Your presence here to humiliate the enemies of Christ, the enemies of Almighty God. Do this to show them that it was at Your Word that I’ve done all these things.”
Again, that has got to be our heart as we go out into the world. We’ve got to be crying out as Elijah was, that God would do something to show Himself to be a great and an awesome God. There has to be something beyond just our words. The Kingdom of God does not consist of mere words, but of power. We’ll look at that some more a little bit later.