Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 54. (MsgB)
God, for Your sake, help me!
Use Your influence to clear me.
Listen, God—I’m desperate.
Don’t be too busy to hear me.
For your sake. For my sake.
For heaven’s sake!
We use the word all the time, but what, for Pete’s sake, is a ‘sake’ anyway?
Not to be confused with a sake (sa-kee), which in the Japanese language refers to an alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice, Webster’s tells us that a ‘sake’ is a noun meaning an ultimate end, or a purpose. ‘For the sake of argument’ is the expression we commonly use, which means that you and I need to have a healthy discussion, even to the point of blows if necessary, in order to arrive at a common end or an agreed purpose.
Webster goes on to further define ‘sake’ as the good, well-being, advantage, or enhancement of some person or entity. So when I do or say something for the ‘sake’ of God, I’m doing or saying those things for God’s personal benefit or interest; choosing His welfare and well-being over and above that of others or myself.
Seems to me that when David is found crying out to the heavens in Psalm 54, “God, for Your sake, help me!” doesn’t it actually seem to you that ole King David just might be as interested in his own well-being and personal benefit as he is for God’s?
Well, I guess only God knows the real heart and true motives of a man or woman who says that he or she is doing something ‘for the sake of God.’
As I see it, when I regularly add “For Your name’s sake” at the end of my prayers here in this blog series, I’m trying to convey to my Savior, my Creator/King, that I’m truly not interested in building up my own kingdom, my own domain; but His.
But like David, am I simply fooling myself when I say that everything and anything I do is for the sake of God. I mean, come on guys. If I’m not interested in building my own domain or watching out for my own sake, why do I have a web domain called pastorboller.com?
Ahh yes. The truth is out.
Even though we say we want everything to be about Him, that old flesh side still has a way, like in David’s case in Psalm 54, of saying, “Hey God, getting me out of this jam will sure look good on Your resume!”
“But quite honestly, Lord, it wouldn’t do me too bad either!”
So here I am. The man who wants to be about living for the sake of God, but in all honesty, still struggling everyday to make sure my sake doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. And maybe. Just maybe. God is OK with that.
Maybe my Creator/King knows that I’m never going to be completely self-less, and despite that, He still loves me. He still looks out for my sake, for His sake!
For heaven’s sake.
And that’s all I have to say about that, for Christ’s sake!
My prayer: For heaven’s sake, Father, You know as well as I do that I am so often found saying and doing things for Your sake, but secretly doing those things for my benefit as well as for Yours! And yet, You still love me. You still look out for me. You still care for my sake. Thank You that You have a wonderful way of overlooking my selfishness and self-centeredness and, for Your sake, keep loving me. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So whose ‘sake’ am I really after most of the time? What are my personal agendas that drive things in my life, making everything be all about my benefit or my well-being? How might I become less ‘self-saking’ and more generous in my actions, allowing much more of my life to truly be lived for God’s sake, alone?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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