Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Not In Vain

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

Most people think they know everything about this commandment. But the fact is, there is much more to what God was saying than merely cussing. To truly dig through this one verse is to find several different levels to this, the third commandment.

First of all, let’s be clear what name we’re talking about here. In the Old Testament, He revealed Himself as Yahweh - the great I AM THAT I AM. This name was (and still is) so sacred to the Jews that they refused to even spell it out in their scriptures. This name is used inside many other common Jewish names. These include one great Jewish name, Yehoshua - Jesus. His name literally means “Yahweh is Salvation. This name is sacred, powerful, and unparalleled.

This is what Paul has to say about Jesus’ name in Philippians 2:9-11: “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” You see, it isn’t just the name that carries the power, since Moses gave this name to Joshua, there has been many Yehoshua’s in this world. But it is the person of God Himself that gives the power to His name!

So, if there is one name that deserves our honor, our respect and our immediate attention, it is the name of Jesus. In learning about the third command, we can see three different levels.

One, don’t use His name as a mere exclamation. This is the most commonly known meaning of this commandment. Don’t  use the name of Jesus to simply express wonder, surprise or frustration. To take the name of our Creator and Savior, the name that is higher than any name, and reduce it to mean “that’s amazing” or “that’s awful” is the ultimate insult.

Two, don’t use His name in empty speech.
How often do people, even many believers, use this awesome name to illicit laughter. How many times have you heard Jesus become the butt of a joke? How many Christians repeated the “Dear Baby Jesus” prayer just to be funny? Do they realize who their talking about? Do they understand that He isn’t a baby anymore and that He carefully watches over the use of His name?
Jokes are the only useless ways that Jesus’ name is brought up. All too often, Christians attach Jesus’ name to prayers that they really don’t believe or even mean. How many times is this powerful name invoked in powerless prayers? This is simply an empty repetition; this is taking His name in vain.

Third, don’t carry His name and do nothing. The Hebrew word for “take” in verse 7 literally means “to bear or to carry.” When we were saved, we began to carry Jesus’ name on our lives. We are literally representing Jesus to this world. When you took His name, did you do it in vain? How have you represented Him in your life? This Christian life isn’t meant to be a pleasure cruise. Every one of us has a role to play in the body of Christ. Don’t take Jesus’ name in vain!

Lastly, pay attention to the warning God attaches to this commandment.
Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

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