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2 Samuel 8:13 -

Getting a name.

"David gat him a name," There appears to have been something special in the campaign against the Syrians (or rather Edomites, 1 Chronicles 18:12 ), and in David's part therein, which rendered his victory peculiarly signal and memorable. Hence he obtained an honourable "name;" his reputation and fame were greatly increased. A large proportion of the names that men have won have been gained in war. But others more honourable have been obtained by the arts and victories of peace. Most to be valued are those acquired by eminence in goodness and usefulness.


1 . A good name—a reputation for what is good. Better than a merely great name. Some names, widely known and for centuries, are so much infamy. Better be totally unknown than have a name for ill doing. All may have some reputation, though in a small circle and for a brief period, for sincere piety and Christian excellence; for unselfishness, benevolence, activity in doing good, liberality, self-denial in helping others, meekness, humility, long suffering, patience, and the like. And such a name is more to be desired than riches ( Proverbs 22:1 ), infinitely more than a great name which has been obtained by unscrupulous ambition.

2 . A good name which arises from and represents reality. A mere name conferred through ignorance or flattery, or assumed and pushed into notice to gratify vanity or secure gain, is utterly worthless, and worse than worthless. So it is with a mere name for wisdom, or learning, or liberality ( Isaiah 32:5 ), or public spirit, or philanthropy; worst of all the name which a hypocrite sometimes gets for sanctity. How withering the reproach addressed to the Church at Sardis, "Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" ( Revelation 3:1 )!


1 . It is a just source of satisfaction to ourselves, when our own consciousness testifies to its substantial truth. The good opinion of others, especially of the good and discerning, is part of the reward of goodness. It is one of the ways by which God expresses his favourable judgment of us.

2 . It sustains and stimulates in the course of conduct from which it has arisen. We are influenced by it to strive more and more to be worthy of it.

3 . It is adapted to do good to others. It attracts attention to the excellence it designates, and may lead to imitation. It awakens confidence in those who have won it, which gives force to their instructions or admonitions, and it gives them in other ways greater influence for good. On all these accounts it is a heinous sin to injure or destroy another's deserved good name by slander.

III. HOW IT SHOULD BE SOUGHT . It should scarcely be sought at all. The way to obtain it is, not to seek it, but to practise the virtues from which it arises. To seek it is to set our hearts on the approval of men, which is perilous. Let us labour to be accepted of God, and he will take care of our reputation among men, so far as it is good for us and adapted to honour him and benefit our fellow men. "It is a very small thing to be judged of man's judgment He that judgeth us is the Lord" ( 1 Corinthians 4:3 , 1 Corinthians 4:4 ). At the same time, for the reasons given under division II ; we should not needlessly defy or sacrifice the good opinion of others, though we should willingly do so when fidelity to truth and God requires the sacrifice.

In conclusion. The grandest instance of getting a name is that of our Lord and Saviour. By his self-humiliation and self-sacrifice, in love to us and obedience "unto death, even the death of the cross," he obtained "a Name which is above every name," as well in its significance as in its power with God and men ( Philippians 2:5-11 ).—G.W.

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