I don’t suppose it’s one of the first words that a child learns, but it is one he learns early—and once learned uses emphatically. I’m referring to the word my. It embodies all the innate selfishness and self-centeredness residing in our fallen nature and forcefully expressed from our youngest days. “MY doll!” “MY truck!” “MY blanket!” Few, if any, expressions or actions reveal more succinctly the egocentricity that plagues us from birth. From our earliest days, we define the parameters of our existence with that word and its cognates: me, my, mine. We say, “Hands off; this belongs to me; it’s mine.” What is mine is not to be shared, much less permanently relinquished. As we grow older, our language becomes more subtle, but the selfishness remains undiluted.
My Glory. The Lord uses this possessive pronoun as well. In one clarion instance, He vows: “I will not give My glory to another” (Isa. 42:8). But the next phrase in the verse makes it clear that the Lord is not expressing carnal selfishness, for He continues: “nor My praise to graven images.” To allow dead, powerless idols to claim the glory of His person or work would do a grievous disservice to men. We would be encouraged to put our hope and confidence in a stone or wooden figure, in something as powerless as a gold or silver figurine. It might well be argued that God does nothing more important than to glorify Himself. And in so doing, He reveals to men the only way of salvation, the only hope of deliverance from sin, the only means of avoiding hell. And there can be no greater blessing to lost men than that God jealously guards His glory so that we eschew any other would-be savior or any other so-called plan of salvation.
My Name. The Lord is also jealous, with a holy jealousy, for His name. Part of His last message to His people under the old covenant included the warning that “’If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name, ’says the Lord of hosts,’ then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings’” (Mal. 2:2). Again, God is jealous for His glory; He demands that His name (the expression of all that He is and all that He does) be honored. And so far as mankind is concerned, the only avenue of salvation and blessing is to bow down before the Lord and believe in His name. Failing to honor His name, that is, to deny who He is and what He does, carries with it its own automatic judgment because there is no salvation, or any other blessing, apart from Him. The fact that God pronounces an additional curse underlines the heinousness of the sin and warns the careless to wake up.
My Word. Yet again, the Lord is jealous for His Word. “But to this one I will look,” the Lord promises, “to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My Word” (Isa. 66:2). The Bible closes with a curse upon anyone who adds to or takes away from “the words of the prophecy of this book” (Rev. 22:18). God will not abide tampering with His holy Word. It is spirit; it is life. It is literally impossible to know anything about God or about His salvation apart from His Word. It is impossible to please Him without knowing, believing, and obeying His Word. He guards and protects it for the sake of His honor and for the blessing of salvation it reveals to sinful men.
My Redeemer. We claim exclusive possession of something for our selfish ends. When God claims exclusive possession of something, it is, first of all, to glorify Himself, but in so doing, He places before men our only hope of salvation and blessing. Without that exclusive declaration of “My . . .”, there would be no holiness, no righteousness, no justice, no love, no mercy, and no grace. For all that is good is found in Him and Him alone. The Lord has every right to guard His perfections—both His attributes and His works. And man has every reason to rejoice that He does so. For they are our only hope. Because of God’s perfect faithfulness to guard His work through Jesus Christ, we may, with Job and by faith, call Him “my Redeemer” (Job 19:25).
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