Friday, June 2, 2017

Loving God: Part 3

Commandment 3:

"You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."

Okay, this is a little misunderstood, or at least not fully understood by many Christians today. This commandment isn’t saying, “Don’t say ‘Oh my ___”, and it’s not about avoiding using God's name in that way. Those things may feed into what’s really being said in this commandment, but it doesn’t begin and end there.  The main point with commandment 3 is that you are not to distort who God is, or to misrepresent him. YHWH means “The one who is” or “The one who creates.”  In this culture, name and character were intimately connected.  Your name described you; who you were.  You were not to associate YHWH’s name, then, with something that was not in line with who God is.  Do not speak the name of YHWH and associate him with anything other than who he is.  He’s the one who creates.  He’s the one who is.  He’s the one who pulled you out of Egypt.  He’s the one who has made a covenant with Abraham, and now you, making you his people.  Don't. Misrepresent. Him.
This is important for us to remember.  Some Christians get really upset when they hear somebody say “Oh my _____.”  But if the real meaning behind this commandment is that we aren’t to misrepresent God, then we need to be doing a lot more than watching our language.  We need to be regularly in the Word.  We need to be reading those who have committed their lives to studying this Word.  We need to be in discussion with other Christians about what’s going on in the Bible.  If we don’t want to misrepresent God, then we’d better be constantly pursuing the knowledge of who God is.  Are you in the Word on a consistent basis?  Are you familiarizing yourself with who God is?  Why do groups like Westboro Baptist make most of us uncomfortable?  They make us uncomfortable and angry because we've looked at Scripture, and have tried to familiarize ourselves with who God is, and we think pretty strongly that screaming hate at people while they’re grieving and speaking about God’s hate toward certain people groups is not in line with the God of love that we see in scripture.  Televangelists who use the name of God to ask for large sums of money that they then squander have been in the news again lately.  Why does this make us uncomfortable?  Because the God that we see in scripture does not bless those who ask for money in the name of God, and then buy a private jet.  It makes us uncomfortable when people misrepresent God.  Let’s you and I work hard at representing God correctly.  Let’s not take the name of YHWH in vain.


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