A few Bibles ago I got interested in the question of what motivated God. As I read through the Bible, I wrote down references to God’s motivation, whether the source of his actions or in the way his people appeal to him in prayer and song. I literally filled the front page of my book with book/chapter/verse references in small print. Most of them went something like the following:
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.
Isaiah 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.
Isaiah 66:19 …from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations.
Numbers 14:11-20 [Moses argues for mercy for rebellious Israel on the basis of God’s fame/reputation]
Ephesians 1:11-12 chosen. . . predestined . . . in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
Psalm 43:3-4 Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight; I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.
Psalm 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Psalm 51 save me, and I’ll become a missionary for you (“sinners will learn”), sacrifices will go down, etc.: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”
Not surprisingly, this becomes a very important motivation for the actions of God’s people:
Haggai 1:8 Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the LORD.
Romans 15:7 Receive one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.