June 11, 2009

God’s Name

Written by Boyd Bailey

God’s Name… “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

Be cautious how you use God’s name. Certainly using God’s name with crude and obscene language is obviously inappropriate. This feeble attempt at dragging deity down to the sewer of man’s pathetic state is both ignorant and embarrassing for the offender. But there are more subtle uses of God’s name that constitute as misusing and mishandling of his name. It is taking the Lord’s name in vain, just in a more sophisticated manner.

For example, be very careful what you ascribe to God and how you communicate this. Avoid the statement, “God wants me to quit my job, what do you think?” This may be true, but wouldn’t a humble heart say something like, “I am praying about quitting my job, what do you think?” In this instance you are really seeking godly counsel, while in the first example you trumped any solid advice with the ‘God card’. It is hard to question what you say with what God is telling you. Humility waits on prayerful validation from God and man.

The temptation is to drop God’s name and credit him with pending decisions. These are decisions in our heart of hearts we know need more prayer and counsel. But in our haste and impatience we blame God. Be careful, we can talk ourselves into anything and proxy God in along the way. What is He really saying? Should we think twice before we glibly say, “The Lord wants this or that, or the Lord is leading me to do this.” How do you know? What is your objective criteria? Or, are you just using God’s name to justify and get something you want so badly? Or, is it spiritual pride? Honor His name with wise words.

With some of us, it is a way to sound spiritual and attempt to gain the admiration and approval of others. Yes, do use God’s name very prayerfully, appropriately, and with respect and awe. His name is like an expensive and rare ointment, to be applied on occasion with a gentle and direct application. Use His name, but use it responsibly and with great humility. “If anyone thinks himself to be religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26, NASB).

Related Readings: Deuteronomy 10:20; Numbers 30:2; Matthew 5:33; Galatians 6:7

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