1 Save me, O God, by your great name; with pow’r deliver me. 2 Hear, O my God, the words I speak and listen to my plea.
3 For strangers are attacking me; the ruthless seek my life, For they have no regard for God and always stir up strife.
4 Consider this: God is my help; the Lord upholds my way. 5 In faithfulness destroy my foes; their slander, Lord, repay.
6 I’ll bring a sacrifice to you, a free-will offering; Because your name, O LORD, is good, your praises I will sing.
7 For you, O LORD, have rescued me from my distress and woe; My eyes have looked in victory upon my cruel foe.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the tune St Andrew here.
What are the great names in the world today? Donald? George? Angelina? Kim? Vladimir? Beyonce? Teresa? Jeremy? The media is full of names, each bringing a picture or pictures to mind, each having some power to influence people’s thoughts and actions, each touching us for good or ill. The Psalmist would have had his own list, with David and Saul, Abraham and Sarah included in it, but among all those names one name, and one name alone, stood out – the name of God. That name expressed the essence and heart of God and the Psalmist is desperate to connect with that reality.
This Psalm moves us from lament over the cruelty and ruthlessness of humanity to an awareness of our own vulnerability and need. But more than that it connects us with the reality of God as the one and only saviour. It begins with the desperate plea, ‘Save me, O God, by your name’ and then leads us to a place of assurance, with the phrases, ‘God is my help’ and ‘the Lord upholds my way’. The personal tone deepens as the Psalmists turns from describing God’s ways to speaking to God directly, thankfully praying ‘you, O Lord, have rescued me’.
In all this, the goodness of God is underlined and this in turn leads onto a offering of praise and thanksgiving. God’s name is not an oppressive one, stirring up fear or guilt. Instead God’s name rescues, liberates and lifts up the oppressed. May God’s name be praised.
Name above all names, we praise you. The I am of all time, we praise you. The One named in the child Jesus, we praise you. The One who is good above all good, we praise you. The One who brings justice to the oppressed, we praise you. The one whose victory we glimpse, we praise you. Name above all names, we praise you.
The Rev’d Terry Hinks is minister of Trinity High Wycombe and Cores End Churches.