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February 9, 2016, 12:00 AM

Using God's Name In Vain Part 1


Names are important! And God's Name is so important to Him that it makes the "Top Ten" of the commandments that He wants His family to live by.  Remember that the Ten Commandments are God's rules for His family. The Ten Commandments were not given to establish a relationship with God, because the children of Israel already had a relationship with God. The Ten Commandments were not given to establish a relationship with God; they were given to express a relationship with God.  The third commandment is – “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” Exodus 20:7.

Over the years, unfortunately this commandment has been dumbed down. The application of this commandment was always along the lines of not using God's name in anger or using God's name as a curse word and that is a part of this commandment, but there is far more to the commandment than this.  There is one thing we know and that is – God is deadly serious about His name. Here are the top ten commandments, God's top ten, the ten most important things that God wanted to communicate to His children and His family and number three is - "Don't misuse My name." 

We are not talking about some minor issue here. In Leviticus 24, there is the story of a man that was caught taking God's name in vain and when they took the matter before Moses to find out how they should punish him, Moses was instructed by the Lord to give him the death penalty. Misusing God's name was a capital offense.

When you think about it there is a big difference between God's name and our name.  Human beings do not name themselves.  Every one of us was given a name by our parents before we even knew what our name was, but one of the remarkable things about God is that no one ever named Him. We don't tell God who He is - He tells us. God has His own naming rights.  In fact, His name comes before all other names and His name is above all other names and He takes His name deadly seriously. In the Bible a name is more than just a label, it represents the character of a person. 

I don't know about you, but I take my name very seriously.  I am concerned about the reputation that my name carries and that is why we have laws against people who slander, who would call our good name into question, because when they slander your name they slander your person. Jesus Christ had something very important to say about God's name.

If Jesus Christ were to walk onto this platform right now, get behind the pulpit and say to us, "I want to share my most important prayer concerns with you,"  every one of us would grab a piece of paper and we would write down what he told us should be on our prayer list. We don't have to wonder what they are, because when the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, He gave them His greatest prayer concerns. Guess what He began with?

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name” Matthew 6:9.  Jesus Christ said His number one concern is that the name of God be made holy He wanted God's name to be handled with reverence. How do we make sure that we don't misuse God's name?

Be Careful In How You Treat God's Name

Without question we don't really take God's name seriously in the 21st century—at least not as seriously as it was taken thousands of years ago.  When the Jewish scribes were copying the scriptures and they were transcribing God's word from scroll to scroll, when they would come to the name of God (specifically the name of "Yahweh") which we read as "Lord" in our Bible they would put down their pens. They would go and bath themselves. Then they would clothe themselves with brand new clean garments, take a brand new pen, write down that name and then take both the pen and their clothes and burn them. They would then continue to write, but once they came to the name of God, they would go through that same ritual all over again.

My how things have changed! It is obvious that one of the ways that God's name is taken in vain or misused is through profanity.  The word "profane" comes from two Latin words "pro" meaning "out of" and the word "fanum" which means "temple." So, it literally means "to take out of the temple."  In other words, profanity is when you take the name of God out of His holy temple and drag it through the muck and the mire of the world's filthy language.

I remember one time seeing a bumper sticker which said it pretty well.  It read like this: "Damn is not God's last name."  Do you ever wonder why people put the words "God" and "damn" together?  Why don't people say something like, "Buddha damn!"  I believe I know why, because the devil purposely puts it in a man's heart to denigrate the holy name of God, because he hates God so much.

Satan couldn't care less if a false god's name is misused as long as the true God's name is misused. We have a responsibility to remind others to watch what they do when they use God's name in vain. 

There are some ways you can do this that don't have to be necessarily offensive. I realize the vast majority of you reading this never, ever use God's name in that way. Yet, how many of us use God's name as an exclamation point like: "Good God!" or "Oh my Lord!" or "I swear to God!" or "Sweet Jesus!" or even "Jesus Christ!"  I submit to you that every one of those is a flippant misuse of God's name. We misuse God's name when we sign His name to things He would never sign His own name to. 

For example, someone says, "God told me to divorce my husband or divorce my wife and leave my spouse for another person", or "Even though I am a Christian, God has told me it is all right if I marry a non-Christian."  Do you know what forgery is?  Forgery is when you use somebody else's name to get what you want. 

There are a lot of spiritual forgers in the world that misuse God's name by saying, "God told me..." and then they will add something that a clear understanding of the Bible would say is wrong, but they say it that way to justify what they are doing and they misuse God's name.  God says that He will not hold the person guiltless that breaks this commandment. I don't know what all of that means, but I like the way one man explained it.

"One way for a modern American to begin to understand this commandment is to treat God's name as trademark property. In order to gain widespread distribution for his copyrighted repair manual The Bible and also to capture greater market share for His authorized franchise the church God has graciously licensed the use of His name to anyone who will use it according to His written instructions. 

It needs to be understood, however, that God's name has not been released into the public domain. God retains legal control over His name and threatens serious penalties against the unauthorized misuse of this supremely valuable property. All trademark violations will be prosecuted to the full limits of the law. The prosecutor, judge, jury and enforcer is God."

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