Friday, February 19, 2010

2010 – Feb. 19 – Misusing God’s Name

Study from Lev. 19: 20b; 19: 31; 20: 6-8; Deut 18: 9-14; Exod. 22: 18; Lev. 20: 27; Deut. 13: 1-5; Deut. 18: 15-19; 18: 20-22; Deut. 5: 11; Exod. 22: 28; Lev. 24: 10 – 16, 23; Exod. 22: 29-30; Exod. 34: 19, 20; Exod. 22: 29; Exod. 23: 19, 34: 26; Deut. 15: 19-23; Deut. 18: 1-8; Deut. 14: 22-29; Deut. 26: 1-11; Deut. 26; 23-25; Exod. 31- 16, 17; Lev. 19: 30; 26: 2; Lev. 23: 1-3; Exod. 35: 3; Exod. 24: 21; Exod. 31: 12-15: Num. 18: 32-36 … Passage for Reflection: Deuteronomy 5: 11 … NIV 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.

My Journal for Today: Well, it is unlikely that you’ve followed along with me in reading what I have read from God’s word today unless you have the Daily Bible in Chronological Order, which I’m using for my reading adventure through God’s word this year and most certainly today. Being led by Dr. F. LaGard Smith, I’ve been through quite a few passages from the first five books of the Bibles as Smith has brought me to read today about the many laws – laws about everything one could imagine – which were given BY GOD through Moses to/for His people. But in the final offering, Smith settled on one of the Ten Commandments, from Deut. 5: 11, to discuss in some depth today; and you know that one. It’s about not taking the Lord’s Name in vain.

Well, it’s way too much to ask you to dig out and read what my Chronological Bible led me to read today; but reading and meditating on Deut. 5: 11 is not too much to ask. So, I hope you’ve gone back and reviewed those Ten Commandments in Deut. 5, which were also spelled out in detail in Exodus 20 for us believers. And this one, in Deut. 5: 11 points to the reverence we need to have for our God in the use of His Holy Name. And wow, there certainly is a lot of misuse we can use to illustrate how we take God’s Law and trivialize God through the use of His Name!

Before I was a Christian, calling myself an “agnostic,” it always felt wrong to me somehow to cry out, “Jesus Christ!” as a statement of anger. Maybe it was the way I had been raised; but that use of God’s Name just seemed wrong to me. But yet, at that time in my life I totally disclaimed the deity of Jesus Christ. How hypocritical was that?! And how common is that foul use of God’s name these days? But Smith points out something quite interesting as he points out that when someone is surprised, flabbergasted, or angry we never hear them using the name of “Buddha” or “Mohammed.” Yet I know you’ve often heard others say something like, “Oh, … my God!” when they are surprised by something. We hear people say the latter when they are totally surprised by something or even when they taste some luscious piece of cake. And the use of “Jesus Christ!” or “Oh, my Lord!” as exclamation is about as close to prayer as some people in our culture will ever get.

And all of these, of course, flagrantly break with God’s Law in the Ten Commandments. But Dr. Smith then points out a very sad and notorious misuse of God’s Name; and that is how mankind will take oaths, even legal oaths, saying, “… so help me God;” and they are lying at the time or subsequently they break the oath. Taking oaths in “God’s Name” is serious business; and I would expect that the Angels cringe when they hear us humans making or taking an oath in God’s Name than then breaking it. We mock our God when we take an oath in His Name and then fail to carry it out. And that, my friend, is serious business!

But I’m most convicted by probably the most common misuse of God’s Holy Name by Christians, one which I’m afraid I’ve breached God’s Law all too often; and that has to do with invoking the name of Christ, calling myself “Christian,” and then living in a way which misappropriates that blessed Name. Oh, I know that I’m not the only one who does it. Whole Universities do it when the name of the University is labeled as a “Christian” University but where many ungodly things are being taught in the curriculum of the school. But I’m no better when I am called “Reverend” Bill Berry, my title of Ordination, and I do things which dishonor the Name of Christ. And how many of us witnessing in the world as “Christians” do things which dishonor the Name of God?

Oh, may God have mercy on me when I misrepresent My Lord by my choices or my actions, especially when I publically call myself a “Christian.” Well, conviction has been leveled here for me today, my friend; … how about you?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, may my life be a reflection of the Holiness of Your Name; and forgive me when it has not been so. Amen

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