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My glory I will not give to another

A few weeks ago, Justin Taylor shared a passage that explains God’s ultimate motivation:

For my name’s sake I defer my anger,
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another.

—Isaiah 48:9-11

Several things are worth pondering here:

  1. The first verse is tremblingly foreboding.  God’s wrath paces restlessly behind the bars of his kindness and forbearance and patience that separate it from its prey.  God will be glorified both in His mercy and His wrath.
  2. What is the result of this wrath?  Our Western notions of autonomy blind us to the fact that our every breath is in his hand.  As a branch, being cut off from the Vine stops the flow of His sustaining grace and results in the shriveling of despair.
  3. God purifies us through pain.  He works all things for good – especially the “bad” things.  It is more loving for God to point us to Himself through pain than to ourselves through comfort.
  4. God is passionate for His own glory.  So is He for us or for Himself? According to Piper: “God is the one Being in all the universe for whom seeking His own praise is the ultimately loving act. For Him self-exaltation is the highest virtue. When He does all things “for the praise of His glory” as Ephesians 1 says, He preserves for us and offers to us the only thing in all the world which can satisfy our longings. God is for us, and therefore has been, is now and always will be, for Himself. Praise the Lord!”
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