Friday, December 27, 2013

Valued Names

O. T. #197  "Valued Names"
Dec. 27, 2013
Exodus 20-Part 4
Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh  His name in vain.  Exodus 20:7


I value my name. I have been using it and been known by it for some fifty odd years now. There are only two people which I allow to call me by my first and middle name. They are both good friends. One was a neighbor gal when I grew up, my sister's friend and a dear friend of the family. The other is a brother in the ministry whose wife passed away a few years ago. Her first name was my middle name. So I am honored when he calls me by both of my names.
What about your name?

The Israelites valued names. A person's name often reflected his or her character. God warned His people about the misuse of His name. God had revealed His name "I AM THAT I AM" to Moses at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. The Israelites decided God's name was too sacred even to be spoken out loud, or written. They substituted Adonai (Lord) in their reading of Scripture.

In Strong's Exhaustive Concordance,  LORD (Yhovah/ Yeh-ho-vaw')means Self-Existent or Eternal, Jehovah; and  God  (Elohiym/el-o-heem') refers to Supreme God.

Young's Analytical Concordance says God refers to He who is, read Adonai.

Taking the name of the LORD thy God in vain has to do with using God's holy name for purposes other than worship. Also, Christian ought to shun minced oaths such as the use of Gee, Gosh, and Golly. (Falwell)

We can break the third commandment through profanity (using the name of God in blasphemy and cursing); frivolity (using the name of God in a superficial, stupid way), and hypocrisy (claiming the name of God but acting in a way that disgraces Him). The strength of this command has led to strange traditions among the Jewish people. Some go to extreme lengths in attempting to fulfill this command, refusing to even write out the name of God, in the fear that the paper might be destroyed and the name of God be written in vain. (Guzik)

To use God's name in such a way as to bring disrepute upon His character or deeds was to irreverently misuse His name. To fail to perform an oath in which His name had been legitimately uttered (Lev. 19:12; Deut. 6:13) was to call into question His existence, since the guilty party evidently had no further thought of the God whose name he had used to improve his integrity.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible mentions five ways of taking the name of the LORD in vain:
  1. by hypocrisy
  2. by covenant-breaking
  3. by rash swearing
  4. by false swearing
  5. by using it lightly and carelessly.
God will Himself be the Avenger of those that take His name in vain, and they will find it a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

How careful are we when we use God's name? Is it with reverence and love we speak His name?
When I hear someone use God's name in an irreverent way, I tell them not to speak like that about my Heavenly Father.


What does the New Testament have to say about this verse?

In Matthew 5:33-37 NIV, Jesus said, "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' but I tell you, do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. simply let you 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one."

In what we call The Lord's Prayer, Jesus tells us to pray, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. (Matthew 6:9 NIV)

James repeats Matthew 5:34-37 in his letter, James 5:12.

The way our society is now days, the name of the LORD God is not often valued. Do we let it go by without bringing it to one's attention when they use it in a swearing manner, or do we stand up and defend our Lord and Savior's holy and honorable name?


Honor the Lord with my words.

Stand up for His holy name.

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