Sunday, January 15, 2012

BIBLE PICK 'EMS - Reputation On the Line


It's an important thing.

The dictionary defines the word this way:


1. (a): overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general
(b): recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability

2. a place in public esteem or regard; good name

Have you ever been in a position where people spread rumors about you?

Have you ever had your reputation doubted, attacked, soiled?

A long time ago, I did something that was out of character for me, and it affected my reputation.

I was a senior in high school(I told you it was a long time ago!) At the time, I was considering a career as a teacher. So, my good friend and I enrolled in a Teacher Observation class. Once a week, we were allowed to leave campus to visit a local elementary classroom.

It was a pretty big deal – for one thing, my high school was a closed campus. That meant that we weren't allowed to leave school grounds until our day was done. No open lunchno venturing off campus if you happened to have a gap in your schedule.

So, this was a real privilege to be able to leave for a class.

However, after a couple of months, my friend convinced me that we could just tell our teachers that we had an "assembly" at school, and we wouldn't be coming to the classroom that day. Then, we'd go eat and have some fun.

After awhile, my mentor teacher caught on (I suppose he questioned two or three assemblies a month, always on the same day of the week)and he reported us.


Our supervisor called us into her office and read us the riot act.

The worst thing was all the accusations she threw at me about my character. You see, I was a VERY. GOOD. GIRL. A solid citizen, an honor student, a pretty compliant and rule-following person.

And she accused me, among other things, of being a slacker, a cheater, a liar.

It hurt.

I flashed back on this incident when I read today's "Bible Pick 'Ems." It's found in the book of Daniel.

First, a little background information.

It is the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede – (the son of Ahasuerus) – who had become the king of the Babylonian Empire. During this first year, Daniel learned that Jerusalem must lie desolate for 70 years.

I love how Daniel says it, in his very own words:

"…I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting…I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed…"

You know, you gotta love Daniel.

Here he is, trapped in exile, and yet he is faithful to his God, and to the reading of His Word. And, not only does he read the Word, he is responsive and obedient to it – he does NOT stop at reading – he acts in faith.

His prayer is beautiful.

But it's this particular passage that has me pondering:

"'Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary. O my God, lean down and listen to me. Open your eyes and see our despair. See how your city – the city that bears your name – lies in ruins. We make this plea, not because we deserve help, but because of your mercy. O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For your own sake, do not delay, O my God, for your people and your city bear your name.'"
(Daniel 9:17-19)

And here's what I'm pondering.

It's the way that Daniel prays. He prays for himself and his people, yes. But it's not what he prays for that is interesting to me – it's how he prays for it.

He calls on God's reputation.

Do you see it?!

Phrases –

For YOUR own sake, Lord, smile again…

See how YOUR city – the city that bears YOUR name…

We make this plea…because of YOUR mercy…

For YOUR own sake, do not delay…

For YOUR people and YOUR city bear YOUR name…

I've read passages like this before in the Bible. Where someone calls upon God's own reputation to move Him to act. I've often wondered about this.

Is it manipulative?

Is it self-serving?

Is it wrong?

It doesn't seem to be. At least if it's done from the proper heart-position. So, what am I missing?

I try to think of a human corollary. For instance, let's say hypothetically my son says something to me like this:

"Hey Mom, you might not want to wear your sweatpants outfit to pick me up, for your own sake."

Is he thinking about me? Or about HIS reputation – and the possible embarrassment from a sweatpants-wearing mom? Or is it somehow a combination of both?

I'm not sure I have the answers on this one, but I'm pondering.

God seems to welcome these kinds of prayers. Sometimes He even honors them.


I think it's that heart-position thing.

Daniel started his prayer with confession and repentance. He started with a humble heart, and a spirit willing to be obedient. He called on God's reputation, because he held God in such HIGH esteem. He KNEW God – and He didn't want God's reputation to be soiled because of His faulty and flawed people.

That makes sense to me.

Maybe if I begin to align my heart more truly with the God that I so highly admire and esteem – the LORD who inspires awe and reverent fear in me – then I can also ask for answered prayers for the sake of HIS honor – (of course, always yielding to His Sovereign will).

Lord, we bear Your name. Sometimes we don't wear it very well. But, in spite of all our failings, make us better ambassadors for Christ.

And for the sake of YOUR reputation, please show us mercy.

"I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, FOR MY OWN SAKE, and remembers your sins no more." (Isaiah 43:25, NIV)

What do you think about this? What does it mean to call on God's reputation in prayer?

Linked today with Charlotte at SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS and Peggy at SOAKING ON SONDAY!

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. I have never really considered this aspect of prayer - calling on God's reputation. It's something I'm certainly going to be thinking about. THANK YOU!

  2. Great thoughts, Sharon! Maybe Daniel did this because it was one what he could honor God by declaring the truth about him and because God cannot go against who he declares himself to be, Daniel appeals to his merciful nature. Certainly, not an easy answer to your question. Thanks for sharing your illustration from high school and we moms are very familiar with a teenager's honest statements to us--whatever their motive.
    May we be more Daniel-like in our prayers.

  3. About a reputation - I only care what God thinks. Sandie

  4. Wonderful thoughts, thanks for sharing.

  5. Another great pick ems, Sharon. I think the reputation of the Almighty God is two fold, too. In the same way that He protects His own reputation, we're called to protect it as well. I remember an early Bible teacher explaining the concept of "glorifying God" as making sure that His reputation reflects His character. It's all part and parcel of full extent of His Name. His Name isn't just a name, it is a reflection of all that He is.

    It frustrates me to see folks dumbing down the command not to take that Name in vain to an admonition against profanity. It's so very much more. It includes the calling ourselves by His holy name in a meaningless and empty way, without a true devotion to His holy character.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with your wonderful post. Sorry. I just started thinking and ended up meandering to this comment.

  6. What an interesting post Sharon. Like you, I've noticed throughout the Bible the people who've prayed this way (Moses did it a LOT), but I'd never really considered it a practical method of prayer for myself.

    I think that the points you made were spot-on, especially the point about the heart - when we esteem His reputation, we will be able to pray that way from a genuine desire to see Him esteemed in the eyes of the world.

    The other thing that occurred to me was that these men understood their guilt and the guilt of their people. They understood just how undeserving they were. They couldn't ask because of their righteousness (like Job did ... and failed), and the only other thing was to remind God of His goodness- and the way His actions would be perceived in that light.

  7. I love Daniel. We can learn so much from his life and from his writings. Thank you for sharing these interesting observations from his life and how it relates to us today.


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)