THIS WEEK: Lead Me to the Cross…Read the Tablets…Find the Cross!
No one likes their name to be misused. We work hard to build a solid reputation. We are pained when false information is spoken about us. We are discouraged when someone gets the wrong impression of us, even when they don’t know us.
Our name is a powerful thing. It is a summation of all we are and what we do.
God’s name…even more so.
Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Without even thinking we can utter (excuse the phrases to make the point) an “Oh my God!” or a “God damn it” or “Jesus Christ!” and we’re not “calling on the Lord in a day of trouble” or beginning a prayer. We are just flippantly uttering God’s name. (By the way, I challenged my confirmation teacher in 8th grad that “Gosh” was not a name for God. He invited me to look it up…sure enough he was right. “Gosh” is just slang for God.” Dad was right again! J)
Martin Luther put it this way: “We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”
We love when our name is used to call us to help, affirm our work, or acknowledge with thanks and praise what we’ve done. How much more the name of the Lord.
The name of the Lord represents all he is and all he’s done. The name of the Lord is the center of the salvation story and our personal salvation. The name of the Lord is the one who created and sustains us. The list goes on.
Think of the person you respect most. In no way would you misuse their name. Magnify that thought by 100 and we have reasons to properly use God’s name to pray, praise and give thanks.
Idolatry destroys our loyalty to God. Misusing his name diminishes the power of his name. Avoiding time with his name keeps us disconnected from his name.
Modeled after creation week, God directs his people to a Sabbath rest: (Exodus 20:8): “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
In a 24/7 society this has become increasingly difficult…just to rest, but to rest with the Lord. Remember what Jesus said, “Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Martin Luther helps us understand God’s purpose of the third commandment: “We should fear and love God so that we do not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.”
A rhythm of physical and spiritual rest is beneficial for our bodies and souls. Long periods of work are not good for our bodies. Long periods away from the Word of God and worship with his people is not healthy for our souls. We have been through a challenging time with CoVid. I am grateful for technology to bring the Word of God to your homes, but let me encourage you to return soon to your community of believers, to find one, or to visit Cross and Crown. God has designed us to be in community with each other. The writer to the Hebrews (10:23-25) encourages us:
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Have a blessed day honoring the name of the Lord and worshipping the name of the Lord!
Apply: Take an inventory of your use of God’s name. Ask someone to help. Are you using God’s name to “pray, praise and give thanks” or for other vain purposes.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your invitation to find rest in you. Lead me to do that regularly and meaningfully. Amen.