My Fitness

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

the third commandment

With the understanding that people debate over the numeration of commandments, let's go forward here knowing that I mean Exodus 20:7: 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. It is the same as Deuteronomy 5:11.

When I was a kid, pop culture often used the various names of God as a means of cussing or filling in for "um" or other mental pause. Rarely did I actually hear someone use the name of God as a cuss. Usually it was an exclamation of "wow". I asked why we weren't to use the name of God "in vain" and what did that mean anyway. The best explanation given to me was that God only wanted people using his name to get his attention. Wouldn't I find it annoying if people went around saying, "Lauren" all the time and not wanting to talk to me? 

Well, that's dumb. 

Do people really think that's the reason? I was given so many stupid answers to my theological questions as a kid that I quickly decided to read the Bible for myself and read commentaries and studies because the adults in my life gave really dumb answers. 

God isn't sitting around in the cloud waiting for someone to say his name and then getting disappointed when they weren't actually talking to him. He isn't like some cosmic dog waiting to go for a walk only to be disappointed when his owners pass him by. God knows who is talking to him and who isn't.

So why doesn't he like it? I can think of two reasons.

The first is a different meaning of "taking in vain". 
Matthew 7
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7
These verses lead me to conclude that many Religious People take the name of God such as "Christian" but it's for nothing. Just because you call yourself a Christian does not mean you are a Christian. I took my husband's name when we married, but if I only changed my name that would not make me married to him. I could even bake him things and clean up after him but that would not mean I was married to him. 

The second reason God doesn't want his name used in vain is what it does to our hearts. Along the lines of speaking a word so that it loses its power, when we speak God's name in irreverence we numb our hearts to Him. He says of himself, "I am Who I am" is his name. He is not a god named Yahweh. He is Yahweh. He is not separate from his name. While God's name does not actually lose its power, using it in vain is the product of our hard hearts. Just like all the other commandments are products of sinful hearts, Christ has to explain that it is more than just the action itself that is sinful; it is the heart that is sinful. He wants us to worship him. He deserves our worship. He deserves our reverence. Using his name in vain is disrespectful, rude, and irreverent to God. I wish I were more eloquent and could better articulate and adequately describe what I mean. 

Culturally, some people say "Mr." or "Mrs." and in others "-san" to the end of one's name, but these are not God's cultures. His name is revered based on what he says. And he says "don't take my name in vain."

The take-away is this: check your heart. Are you a "christian" in vain or do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Do you speak the name of the Lord in love and reverence or do you use it to fill a pause in your sentence?

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