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Paul Dickinson wrote a book called Names. He has a hobby of collecting strange and unusual names. He said in in some ways the names he collected seemed almost prophetic. Take these names for instance; Joe Bunt was a baseball coach, Dan Druff was a barber, Zultan Ovary was a gynecologist, P.P. Peters was a urologist, and Joe Outman was a pitcher.
What’s in a name anyway? A lot when it comes to God’s name.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Ex 20:7 ESV
God is serious when it comes to His name. If you are wondering why consider that names represent reputation, character, and authority. When we misuse God’s name we are defaming His reputation, His character, and His authority.
We often think of misusing God’s name in terms of swearing. But misusing God’s name is more than that. Beyond swearing there are other ways we can take His name in vain.
To Insult. People use God name when they swear when they are angry or irritated. But why? It’s because they lack emotional self control. It takes maturity to restrain your emotions or language.
Intimidation. People will often say God said or God told me when they want to get their way. It’s not that God told them anything. They are using God’s name to intimate. Dishonest television evangelists do this all the time.
Forgery is when when people use someone else’s name to get what they want. There are a lot of spiritual forgers out there. If you use God’s name you better know that you know you heard from God.
We Want To Impress Others. People will call God the love of their lives. They will say He is first in everything. But ask them if they pray, give, or serve in the church and they will tell you they do not. We can say a lot with our mouths but it’s our actions that ultimately matter.
Impulsiveness. We can use God’s name as an expression of amazement, shock, sadness, or in exclamation. Don’t let God’s name be merely an exclamation point. Even in worship we can take His name in vain. We can sing words but our thoughts are elsewhere. We are not truly worshipping we are just mouthing words. Have you ever been praying and realize you don’t even know what you just said?
And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men Is 29:13 ESV
God is looking at the intentions of our hearts, not our repetitious and meaningless words. We take His name in vain when we are just going through the motions.
We are not just talking about some minor issue here.
But those who curse the Lord’s name must be put to death. The whole congregation must stone them to death. It makes no difference whether they are Israelites or foreigners. Whoever curses the Lord’s name must die. Lev 24:16 GW
This scripture states that anyone taking the Lord’s name in vain was to be executed. This was not some minor infraction or a slip of the tongue it was literally a capital offense. When you cuss or misuse God’s name you are offending the Creator of the universe. May I suggest you offend someone else besides God.
God promises to bless those that use His name correctly. There are promises galore that state if you honor and reverence His name you will be blessed with peace, success, health, good relationships and prosperity.
But just how should do we use His name correctly?
Reverence God’s name. Treat God’s name with the utmost respect. Use it carefully and lovingly. I don’t mean to step on toes but this includes being careful about the movies we watch. How many movies have you sat through that use His name in vain? Maybe this doesn’t bother you but it should. You wouldn’t let someone talk trash about our mother would you? Listen your mom may be great but she didn’t die for you. It should offend us when people use God’s name like a cuss word or a joke.
Represent His name. If we call ourselves believers we need to act like it. Do we fall short? Yes we do but we can’t stay that way. We need to strive to be great in the Lord. We need to aim high instead of dragging the name of the Lord through the mud with us. Do not be a bad advertisement of the name of the Lord.
- We need to be careful of slang. A lot of slang is just watered down cussing. It’s profanity with a substitute. Gosh darn it is the same as a much worse phrase. Jees is short for Jesus, Gosh is short for God and Heck is short for hell. God sees the intention of every profane statement.
Rely on His Name. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that say that God has made a number of promises to those who rely on His name.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name. Psalm 33:21
Why do you think we pray in the name of Jesus? We have no right to come on our own that’s why. God is perfect and Holy and we are not. Christ is the bridge between us and God.
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Have you been saved? Then glorify this name, reverence this name, and praise the name of Jesus!
Lord, thank you for your Word. Without it I never would have known how careless I am with Your holy name. Scripture says I will be judged for every idle word. I ask you to forgive me for taking Your name in vain and for misrepresenting You. I am asking You to fill me with the fear of the God that I may walk in it. From this day forward Help me to remember You are the God of all creation and You are worthy that I tremble at Your holy name. Help me every day to honor You because You and You alone deserve my worship. In the name of Jesus, Amen!
Meditate On This
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matt 12: 35-37
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