Summary: The LORD’s reputation has been much maligned by the devil and the accusations he is bringing against the Christian society of today. What kind of a reputation does God deserve? Where does it come from? Find out.
March 28, 2004 God’s Kingdom Stands and Falls on His Reputation
I. The need for a good reputation
In the 1980’s a young lady dressed in leather by the name of Joan Jett sang a song singing in more vulgar language than this - “I don’t really care about my bad reputation.” She and her “blackhearts” had a heavy influence on the attitude of several of my classmates. They wanted to emulate her song. It wasn’t that they didn’t care about their bad reputation - it was worse than that - they wanted to have a reputation that said to people, “I don’t care what you think of me.” It’s the same attitude you can read in many people who are into body piercing today. They are trying to say to society, “I’m different and I’m not going to succumb to your norms.” They may not want a bad reputation, but they don’t exactly want a good one either.
God wants you to have a good reputation. He is so concerned about your reputation that he even attached a commandment to it when he said, “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” One of the worst crimes you can commit against someone is not to take their car, their money, or their clothing - but their reputation. In the story of Naboth, he had done nothing to harm his own reputation. He was simply a faithful farmer taking care of his inherited vineyard. However, when Ahab the King coveted the vineyard, his wife Jezebel set up two scoundrels to ruin Naboth’s reputation. 1 Kings 21 says that, They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth before the people, saying, “Naboth has cursed both God and the king.” So they took him outside the city and stoned him to death. When Naboth lost his reputation, he also lost his life. Reputations are important.
The presidential candidates understand this very well. In order to win they are both going on smear campaigns in an attempt to ruin the reputation of the other. President Bush has accused John Kerry of being two sided. John Kerry has accused President Bush of lying about weapons of mass destruction and not doing anything about September 11th. Both of them are both vigorously trying to ruin the reputations of the other while defending their own. That’s the way the world works. They realize that reputations are all important if you want to move up in this world.
When we look beyond ourselves and our presidential campaigns and politics, and focus our eyes on the heavenly things - we can see the same struggle occurring in the spiritual realm. In order to convert and rule the world, God doesn’t use guns, spears, money, or armies to gain control of hearts. The kingdom of God rises and falls based on one main thing - and that is His REPUTATION. If He has the right reputation - then people will naturally be drawn to Him and want Him to rule their hearts and lives. There are several key verses in the Scriptures that I believe demonstrate God’s character in the most concise way. The first one is when Moses begged to see God. As God revealed His “back side”, He also revealed to Moses who He was with these words in Exodus 34 -