Friday, March 4, 2016

the ten: His holy name (part 5)

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." (Exodus 20:7)

When you hear the name Michael Jordan, Martha Stewart, Al Gore, Harrison Ford... what image do you see? How about Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden... what personal characteristics do you default to? Do you remember their physical details, abilities, actions? Do you recall certain events they were present? Are you emotionally affected because they represent something good or evil to you? Of course.

We all know facts and hold opinions pertaining to the names of others. Why? Because each person's name represents an image, a reputation - something we know about the actual person. By merely hearing someone's name, we jump to our own conclusions about their character and the "who, what, and how" that mankind attaches to the value of someone's life: Who they were? What they did? How they lived?

Now tell me, when you hear the name of God (Jesus, Jehovah, Christ)... what image do you see? What personal characteristics do you default to? What physical details, abilities, actions do you relate? Do you recall certain events where He was present? Are you emotionally affected because His name represents something to you? What reputation does He carry in your eyes?

Perhaps you think of God's name in a vain, empty way because it's meaning lacks substance or worth to you. OR...Perhaps you have never really cared to know God, so He holds no avail or purpose in your day-to-day life. OR... perhaps you think of God with contempt and disdain - despising the very thought of Him. You scorn others for even considering His so-called existence, finding the whole matter an unworthy and disappointing enterprise conjured up by insecure men of history. OR... perhaps you view Him as I do - in awe of His holiness. Perhaps you see God as scripture presents Him - as set apart and sacred. He is perfect, divine, transcendent, blessed, pure and should be revered as the King above all other kings and the one true Savior to the world.

Irrespective of how any one of us chooses to accept and believe in the name of God, the Bible is clear that ultimately, He will be revealed to all men. The Bible is also clear that our hearts toward God will be revealed by the words we choose to confess or reject Him.

"The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:8-10)

Whatever is in the heart will come out of the mouth. You see, the mouth will always expose the opinions and feelings of what is truly in a person's heart... where their core beliefs reside. For the heart and mouth are linked together. So much so, that Jesus repeated this point not once... not twice... but three times:

"You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks." (Matthew 12:13)

"But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean." (Matthew 15:18)

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. " (Luke 6:45)

Think on this carefully. Whenever we speak the name of God in a negative way, a profane way... with disregard or neglect... with ignorance, defiance, ridicule, jest or unconcern... we are speaking about THE NAME in whom every Christian has claimed eternal salvation and hope for everlasting life. We are bringing down the One whose name has already outlasted all other names and has proven eternal, set apart, worthy. So, whatever we choose to say about God, we are ultimately exposing our true heart... our real opinions, feelings and overall acceptance for the One who will one day be worshipped by all nations.

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)

Commandment #3 of "the ten" is not to be taken lightly. We are not to misuse the name of God in any way. If we do, God says it will carry consequences. YIKES! Because of this, we must carefully consider how we speak about and to our Creator. For example, reflect on how you pray to God. Consider your attitude when you begin addressing Him with your requests, "Dear God... Faithful Father... Precious Lord..." Is He really dear to you? Is He faithful and precious? Are you offering yourself to Him with this in mind when you pray? Are you deliberately thinking about WHO's throne you are approaching? Does your heart hold reverence to match the words being spoken through your lips? If not, it is sin.

Think about the infinite times you have spoken God's name at the end of a prayer, " Jesus Name, Amen." In truth, many of us do not take the time to really consider Jesus name at all. We do not thoughtfully bear in mind what we have asked of Him. We have not pondered on our requests with purpose. We do not care if what we want is really what Christ wants. No, we are basically approaching God's throne and spitting in His face. We haughtily go to Him and say, "OK God, these are all the things I wish for you to do for me... to cater to my wants. For now, I think I've told you all that comes to mind. So, I'm gonna sign off until I can think of more for you to do for me later. Oh, and let me dangle the name of your Son in front of you to seal the deal as I exit out of this one-way conversation. Amen."

Ugh. Would you not agree that our prayers are hindered because we are focused on our own "idols", we have negated and misused God's name, and we have failed to seek His way first? I would. We must rethink our words and wake up to how we pray! We must stop and think about who we are approaching. We must realize whom we are speaking to and what we are presenting before Him.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." (Matthew 6:5-13)

I cringe every time I hear someone say, "Oh, my G--!" That term has become so commonplace that even our children blurt it out without thought or concern. In fact, there are so many socially accepted ways where our society has blindly allowed God's name to be misused. The angels must shudder on our behalf every time we callously speak against His holiness.

I am always saddened when I hear others speak about my Redeemer in careless jest or selfish anger. For we are not to live carelessly or selfishly. We are to live deliberately and with Him as our focus. When we jokingly refer to God as "The Big Guy Upstairs" or when we habitually blurt out "G--, damn it" and similar profanities, we must consider... are we really thinking about God... THE GOD?? Do we really want to talk about Him that way? Do we really want to ask God to damn anything or anyone? Do we understand what we are saying? Do we understand what we are asking of Him?

God gave us the third commandment so that we would make a point to hold His name in high esteem. It is for our own good that we do not lower our Redeemer or denounce His platform to something less than He truly is. For He holds the plans to our lives. We have hope in Him because He is GOD!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

God's name should never be negligently spoken. No, His name is THE NAME to which every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess. His name carries life and salvation. His name is not casual or random. It is holy, hallowed, set apart. Read with me from Revelation. Take in WHO God is in these passages:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:

"You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth."

Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!"

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: "Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!"

Then one of the elders asked me, "These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?" I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 5 and 7)

Ladies, the events written in Revelation will indeed take place in the near future. I am certain that if we actually reflected on this and meditated on His glory day and night - and if we carried in our hearts an accurate image of WHO God really is, we would never, ever speak His name without first pausing in awe and then taking great care to honor Him with very few and deliberate words. We would hold Him up with the respect He so clearly deserves. I am certain that if we did this, we would forget many of our selfish concerns and earthly issues. Rather in all things, we would give Him our thanks. We would love Him and each other.

"Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." (1 Chronicles 29:13)

"Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages. Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." (Revelation 14:3-4)

For all of us who have, at one point or another, misused the Lord's name, I encourage you to turn from your sin and be refreshed and renewed in His promises to make us new creatures in Jesus. Read David's words in Psalm 130. Even though God keeps track of every idle word we may speak, He also promises forgiveness and redemption to those who seek Him. Our God is sooooo good!

"Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins." (Psalm 130)

I encourage every DW to take time out to confess speaking the name of our Lord inappropriately. I further encourage you to move forward in His forgiveness by living your life in honor of His holy name. Remember that He is always present. He hears everything, sees everything, knows everything. By realizing this and practicing God's presence in your speech, you will be more careful to consider what comes out of your mouth, and ultimately your heart.

Remember WHO He is, ladies. Remember to take care when you speak the holy holy holy name of Jesus Christ! Put Him first and respect His headship always.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:12-13)

Precious Lord Jesus, please touch our lips and make them clean. Put a guard over our mouths and help us to be mindful to never take YOU for granted or speak foolishly on your behalf. Help us to carefully avoid glib prayers that offer empty worship and dishonor your throne. Remind us of WHO you are each and every day. Help us to keep our hearts focused on you. Continue to make us new so that our mouths speak only of your glory and honor. We praise you and thank you for loving us first and giving us life in your Son's name. We praise you for every circumstance and trial that you use to mold us to become more holy. Your bride eagerly awaits your return, dear Savior. We will live out our days honoring your dearest name - THE NAME above all others! You are faithful and precious in our sight. We love you, Lord. Worthy... so very worthy is the Lamb who was slain! Amen.


~ Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this study! To be honest... At first, I was not going to take the time to read the full article because I never thought of myself as one to mis-use name of God... but I couldn't stop reading! and I'm glad... because I had to admit that during some hurried prayers I have not properly considered my intentions or the magnitude of the ONE I was approaching with my petitions... So I had to repent so again Thank You for the opportunity to recieve correction! sincerely, Annette Knowles, From Hueytown Alabama.


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