Through Ezekiel, God gives us some hints on how he sees his relationship with his people. He recounts and explains what he has done for his people and also discusses why.
For example, in Ezekiel 20, he recounts the Exodus, the time that God moved to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt. Even though they were still worshipping idols and rebelling against him, God still brought the people out of Egypt. Why? Here is the scripture:
But for the sake of my name, I brought them out of Egypt. I did it to keep my name from being profaned in the eyes of the nations among whom they lived and in whose sight I had revealed myself to the Israelites.Ezekiel 20:9
God doesn’t just have grace and mercy on the Israelites because he loves them and wants to be their God. Even though they are worshipping idols and foreign gods, God is making sure that his name will not be profaned. He has brought them out of Egypt, out of slavery, and now he will carry them through his plan, even though they are rebelling against him. He does this because his name will be glorified. Despite the rebellion of the Israelites, the nations will give glory to the God of Israel because he is a powerful God, a mighty God, and clearly also a merciful God. He has done all of this in the sight of the nations so that they will glorify him. They, the nations, are his eventual aim, the people that he desires to reach. They must know his power and love for his people, and so it is for this reason that he will show this power and love in the sight of the nations.
We can relate this also to our times today. We should ask ourselves this question, I think: Why would God send Jesus to pursue us, to save us? Haven’t we been too much trouble? Every time he tries to pursue us, we rebel against him, we sin against him, running to other “gods”, other solutions. We are just like the Israelites!
I’ve heard many people say that God loves us. That is why he came for us.
Or that God is a God who wants to be in relationship. Look at the Trinity – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is a God who lives and works in relationship, so he must save us, his creation, so that he will be in relationship with us and we will be in relationship with him.
Those explanations may be correct. I wouldn’t say that they are incorrect, but at the least, I think we can say that they are incomplete. God came for us so that he would be glorified. It isn’t just about how valuable I am, or we are. It is more about how valuable God is and that he should be recognized for his worth and his value.
Jesus came to save us, despite our sin and rebellion, for the sake of the name of the Father. Take a look at this interaction between the Son and the Father just before Jesus is ready to head to the cross:
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”John 12:27-28
The very reason that Jesus is approaching this “hour” where he will be horribly killed by crucifixion is to bring glory to the name of the Father. And this is exactly God’s intention. He has brought glory to his name and intends to continue to do so.
We, therefore, must live to give glory to God. Our lives must be wrapped up in this plan. God intends to give glory to God. We must live for him, not for us, and do the same.