Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
There is a new book out called “Persecution, how the Liberals are waging war upon Christianity.” I do not know if the author is a Christian, but what he does is systematically tell of what all has been going on in our nation for some years. He documents a well orchestrated war against Jehovah God and His son Jesus Christ. The writer documents how the courts, the media, Hollywood, the Universities, the schools and even the governments cringes and recoils at the mention of the name of God.
One example from the book. Before snack time in her kindergarten class, a little girl in California held hands with two of her classmates and recited this prayer. “God is great; God is good, thank you God for my food.” The alert teacher pounced on the child, rebuked her and then reported her to the administration. In short order the headmaster sends a sternly worded letter to her parents stating that their little girl is not allowed to pray aloud in school or with others. But that is not all. The school board then issued a triumphant press release crowing about a victory over a kindergartner praying for snack time and thus they declared that creeping theocracy in Saratoga Springs was stopped dead in its tracks. The girl’s mother filed a lawsuit against the school to allow her girl to pray before eating and she won, but the little girl was prohibited from holding hands with others while she prayed. The names of the girl and the school are all given in the book.
Look at the irony. In the New York school system they can teach sex techniques to first graders but the name of God is forbidden from being mentioned. The irony is that you can blaspheme the name of God 24 hours a day and that is totally accepted in our society, but to honor and respect or revere the name of Jehovah God is a crime in some areas. Of course the rest of the book would make you weep.
Compare this modern day commitment to stamp the name of God out of public life and society and their cussing or not revering the name of God, or abusing and misusing the name of God with that of how generations of old thought of the name of God.
Leviticus 23:27-28 “Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.”
His name was held so sacred it was pronounced only one day a year by the High Priest when he was pronouncing the blessing on the Day of Atonement. Israel came to value the name of God so much that when the scribes were copying the words in scripture and they came to the name of Jehovah, they would stop and go take a bath and get cleanly dressed and come back and get a new pen that had never been used before writing the name of Jehovah. To them, the name of Jehovah was so awesome, so personal, so covenantal, so promise keeping that they can not misuse the name of the Lord.
That is why the third commandment is unlike the first two. The first two commandments are in the first person and Verses 2-5 of Exodus 20 say, “I am the LORD thy God, …Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God,” then He comes to the third commandment and God switches from the first person to the third person. God wants to draw attention to who He is, He wants to draw attention to His covenant name, Yahweh or Jehovah as we translate it.
This is the name revealed long before the wilderness time. When Moses said, Lord, when I go to the Israelites in Egypt, who shall I saw sent me? The Lord said, say the Lord Jehovah, Yahweh, the God of your fathers. Yahweh means I am who I am. Why is that so important? It is so important because it speaks to us and reveals to us about God’s self-existence and about Gods self-sufficiency. It speaks to us about God’s self reliance and of God’s supreme sovereignty in the universe. Yahweh, the Lord, is more than just a name. His very identity is in the name. "I AM WHO I AM" is a very literal rendering of the Hebrew text, expressing God's real, perfect, unconditional, independent existence. God exists in a way that no one and nothing else does. He is without beginning or end. He is the only Being who is self-existent. All other existence is dependent upon His uncaused existence. He can only be defined in terms of Himself, but He is revealed by what He says and what He does.
Consider Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” In all these verses in Exodus and Isaiah the term “I AM” and above “I” in “I the LORD” are the Hebrew word hayah, haw-yaw' which is the word from which Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw'; comes which is translated LORD in all these verses and in most cases in the English translation of the scriptures. The English Jehovah only appears four times in scripture, however, it is the same Hebrew word and it appears in the Hebrew Scriptures 5,321 times.
To us a name is just a label and means nothing to us. To the Hebrews, names were not just a label or something to give their children because everyone had to have one but expressed inward identity of who they were or who their parents hoped they would be, who they are.
God’s name doesn’t just represent His identity but it represents His personality and character. Today when a woman gets pregnant, they research names and pick something that sounds good to them or a name after a favorite relative. In bible times they didn’t think or care about how a name sounded so they gave names like Mephiboseth or Ichabod or Ioami. Today that would almost be called child abuse. But those names were given to show the direction of their lives, who they would become and what they represented. Where do you think the people of God got the idea of giving a name to their children that showed their personality and who they were? They learned it from God. Because God’s name to them, revealed who He is, they named their children to reveal who they were and what they hoped they would be.
Well what is so important about not misusing the name of the Lord that it is the third commandment? Because the name of the Lord is holy and to misuse His name is to desecrate why He is holy. The name of the Lord has power and misusing the name of the Lord is like a child playing with dynamite that can explode in his face. Because the name of the Lord is worthy and taking it lightly is saying, whether you mean it or not, “God, you are worthless and meaningless.” To treat God’s name as nothing is to treat God as nothing!
You might say, “Well I don’t misuse the name of God.” Since I became a Christian I don’t cuss and use His name in vain. So how can a Christian misuse the name of God? I have three reasons, three things in which Christian’s sometime misuse the name of the Lord. (1) Perjury, (2) To intimidate others, (3) Casualness in the use of the name of the Lord.
When you take an oath to tell the truth and then lie, it is perjury. It is taking the name of the Lord in vain and misusing the name of the Lord if you swear to tell the truth and then tell a lie. When our government leaders are sworn into office and they say, “so help me God” and then don’t uphold the Constitution they swore to uphold, as so many of our liberal judicial activists today, they are taking God’s name in vain and violating that commandment and God will not hold them guildless. It is misusing the name of the Lord.
Perjury is taken very lightly today in our society because we had a president who perjured himself and got away with it, so everyone else says, “Why can’t I do it too. If he can do it, I should be able to do it.” So we justify lying for personal gain or to protect ourselves or for any reason we deem of personal benefit. The thinking is, “Well, I’m not hurting anyone else and if it helps me, as to get a job by lying on a resume, or whatever, so what.” All is fair in this dog eat dog society. So from the time that our President lied with impudence and mocked truth, it has become almost like a national pastime or a joke. People laugh about it, tell jokes about it, but it is still a serious affront to God even if it isn’t in our courts of law or to our Congress who thought Clinton’s perjury was nothing. It is a serious offense against a Holy God and he will find that out very soon.
Jesus gives the best example of this in Matthew 26:63 “But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” The cross is waiting for Jesus. Jesus could have kept His mouth shut or said; that is what they say about me. And that would have been true in and of itself. He knew that if He answers that question as asked it will take Him to the cross. What did Jesus do? He answered, “Yes, it is as you say.” Knowing that His integrity in declaring who He is would take Him to the cross and cost Him His life. Jesus is saying, even if your life depends on it, tell the truth.
The word lie is found 155 times in scripture, lying 57 times, liars 8 times and lied 4 times. How serious is it? Revelation 21:8 says it so plainly that it can’t be misunderstood’ “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” All liars, is very inclusive and note the company they will keep in eternal damnation. And yet today our politicians and judges think nothing of taking an oath they have no intention of keeping, knowing when they take it that they are lying even then before a holy God and taking His Holy Name in vain, thereby breaking two commandments at once by taking His Name in vain and bearing false witness. Misuse of the name of the Lord takes place by Intimidation as Christians try to intimidate each other or impress others. How? By flippantly saying, “God told me.” I am amazed at how freely men claim that God was the source of something they did or say and then it turns out to be and is proven to be false. If god told them to do or say that which was false, then I just ask; which god? They are misusing the name of the Lord and saying, you’re not arguing with me, but with God. I have actually been told such personally. This is what God told me and God this and God that and it is all self and presumption.
To be able to truthfully say; “God told me,” can only be true if you are quoting scripture, which is God’s specific Word to us all or you are a prophet called by God and you literally, physically hear the voice of God speaking to you as prophets of old. The person claiming “God said” or “God told me” is usually just using the name of the Lord to manipulate another person to get them to do what they want them to do. In other words, in is said in deception, to deceive and cause someone else to believe a lie, when most of the time the one speaking knows better and that it isn’t the truth. In some instances, the person is just simply deceived by the devil into thinking it is true and they deceive themselves.
Making such a statement should be done with fear and trepidation of heart and not lightly. The name of God in saying “God told me” or “God said” is used way too often and to lightly and in a way that is not different than witchcraft. Witchcraft is nothing more than trying to get others to do what you want, to influence others to get your way. That is what is behind the magic in Harry Potter. We try to manipulate others the same way, but by using God’s name. That is sad and that is taking His name in vain. Many say, God told me this or that, but it is inconsistent with the written Word of God and unquestionably your own words and not the words of God. Also, others say “God said” and then circumstances and time doesn’t prove what they said out because they said God told them to do something or that God would do something and it never comes to pass. Then, God didn’t tell them to do it, they wanted to do it, but this is misusing the name of God.
We need to have a greater love for and respect for the Lord our God, Yehovah, elohiym. I really do wish that the name of God were not transliterated into Lord or God in English, even at times translating two different Hebrew words the same within one verse, as in Psalm 110:1 in which David wrote; “The LORD said unto my Lord,” because it would be far richer if we had the original words Yehovah, yeh-ho-vaw' and 'adown, aw-done' placed there, even if one was in parenthesis. The first is the Father, the self-existent one, the second is referring to Jesus meaning sovereign, master, ruler.
Think of how many times the Hebrew scribe in writing a copy of the Scriptures had to wash, change clothes and get a new pen – every time he can to the name Yehovah. We take God’s name far too lightly, when it is awesome and holy and to be taken with gravity and all respect. Yet today in America, you can curse by no other God or name than that of the Christians. No one would dare to curse in the name of Allah or some other false god. There would be such screaming and demands of apology and if that person were in any public or government position they would demand that person be fired. Muslims would want to kill such a one for blasphemy. And yet, God’s name and the name of Jesus can be cursed and used in cursing all day long and it is nothing and fair game to the wicked of this country and who complains? Why have Christians put up with and allowed our nation to come to this? Why do we accept it? This is one thing we will have to give an account for. How many times we listened to such blasphemy and said or done nothing.
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