We have briefly been reminded what the first two commandments require of us as God’s children- to worship God alone, and do not make idols. In other words the most important thing in life is to always KEEP GOD FIRST, love Him, worship Him, serve and obey Him, and seek Him above anything or anyone else.
Also, I reminded us according to God’s Word we live by grace through faith, and that though we are to be obedient, we are not saved by obedience, but by grace through faith because we believe in Jesus and He is our Lord. Still, we are called to obedience and it is by grace we can depend on God’s strength in us to do what we cannot do, and to lead us to repentance when we are disobedient. But the 10 Commandments are important as ever, though our society is swiftly letting them vanish from our culture. We must restore them and obey them and remember their meaning. The 10 Commandments are as desperately needed and powerful as ever.
What is the 3rd Commandment given to Moses and written on the stone tablets?
You have probably heard it translated as, “Do not take the Lord thy God’s name in vain.” How often do we all do this? How often do we excuse it for other people instead of pointing it out? How often in one Hollywood movie or cable news program does the Lord’s name get misused, or taken in vain? ALL THE TIME! We must restore our respect and honor for the Lord by appropriately using and holding sacred His name.
What does it mean to misuse God’s name? It is as simple as it sounds. No reason to complicate it. Misusing His name can be by using it in any way that does not directly address Him with respect, and/or refers to Him without any sacred honor. For instance, using His name before the words ‘damn it.’ Or saying, ‘Oh my God!’ Or using the name of ‘Jesus’ when you’re simply exasperated and expressing frustration or surprise. Or using an unholy name, the name of a false god or idol, in place of God like ‘Allah’ or Buddha.’ God’s names reflect His character, who He is. And His character is holy, thus His name is holy, and should be used appropriately. What are the true names of God? God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Jehovah, Emmanuel, Lord, Savior, all of the sacred Hebrew names including Adonai and El Shaddai, Yahweh, and also Creator, Father, etc. Any name for God found in His Word, the Bible, is appropriate.
I believe entirely that God looks at the heart and desires close-knit relationship with us. So if we address Him in prayer as Papa, or Abba, or even Master or King it is appropriate because we are showing Him affection along with respect. He doesn’t mind not being addressed as… ‘Most holy God of the galaxies, ruler of the solar systems, magnificent King and Judge of Creation, most High on the throne of eternity…” He doesn’t require all the flattery we may religiously throw at Him. He wants you to be comfortable in His presence, confident in His love, and resting in His grace, but He does also require you to be honoring of His name by simply having respect, if not even affection and adoration.
(Consider this as well… perhaps living as someone who belongs to this world and yet claiming you belong to the Lord, is a form of misusing His name and breaking the third commandment. The Bible teaches us many will call Him Lord, but He will say to them, I never knew you. This is because they claim Him but never surrender to Him. Honoring the name of God is a heart issue and should be reflected not only in our speech but in how we live.)
So let us choose today to honor our God by loving and holding sacred His name(s), living in submission to Him, and keeping others accountable to this in a gracious but solid manner. After all, He is holy. He is love.
I had a friend once who every time he overheard someone misuse God’s name, usually swearing by it or using it in a cursing phrase, he would boldly shout, “Bless the name of the Lord!” or “Praise His name!” just to counter the negative with a proclamation of honor to God. We could all use more of that, let His praises flow from our lips.
In His wonderful Name, the name above all names,
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