"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
Names bore significance in ancient times in that it carried the bearer's characters or personality, reputation and authority.
Even today, no one in their right mind would name a child born in America 'Adolph' or 'Osama' or 'Saddam.' Why? Because those names symbolize tyranny and terrorism.
A woman who marries forsakes her maiden name and changes it to that of her husband's. But it isn't only her last name that is changed: she must change her way of life, her priorities, her attitude and more often than not, her preferences.
When we call God as our Father, King, Lord and Savior, it follows that such proclamation must carry with it inevitable and logical change in our way of life and attitude.
So how does one misuse or better put misrepresent God's Name?
Exodus 3:13-14 records the conversation between God and Moses when the eighty-year old ex-prince of Egypt is receiving his calling to lead a nation of slaves out of one of the most powerful nation on earth during that time.
Moses asks God what Name he ought to bring before the people of Israel when he presents his case about God who will deliver them from bondage.
In essence, Moses was asking God to demonstrate to the people his ability and willingness to save His people. God's Name, when heard, would allow the people to believe.
God gives an answer: "I AM"
The Self-Existent One. The Uncreated One.
After receiving such revelation from God at the burning bush, Moses receives one of the greatest revelation mankind had ever received.
He sees God's glory. He doesn't see His face, but hidden in teh cleft of the rock, Moses sees the back of God as He passes him.
When God proclaims His name, God doesn't list some name as we would expect, He proclaims His attributes:
Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” Exodus 34:5-7 (emphasis added)
His character WAS His Name, the LORD.
In Numbers 20:8-12, a tragic event takes place.
When Moses angrily struck the rock twice to bring forth water to quench the thirst of millions of Israelites wandering in the desert going from one complaint to another, God denies this powerfully used prophet the one thing he desired above all else - entrance into the Land of Promise, Canaan.
Why such harsh punishment for mere burst of anger at rebelliousness of the people toward God?
The answer is in God's reason in verse 12:
"Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."
Moses received the greatest revelation of the Name of the Lord. His life was punctuated by revelatory communion with the living God who used him mightily for His purposes.
But when Moses failed to represent God in the way he was called to do - when he misrepresented God's patience, goodness, forbearing love - he had broken the third commandment (which by the way Moses had brought down from the mountain himself after two 40-day fasting).
We can honor God's name in Worship and in Prayer.
Many people assume this third commandment has to do with cursing, using foul language or profanities.
It is so much more than a command to clean up our speech.
When we praise God in worship, we are making an audible and heartfelt confession of who He is. In other words, we are proclaiming God's name.
But if our lives do not coincide with our profession of faith in the Author of that faith, we dishonor God and misuse His name.
And when in prayer, despite the fact we prayed a prayer in the strong Name of Jesus, we fail to truly believe God is able to help us and hear our prayers, we are dishonoring the powerful Name of Jesus.
Our lives reflect what we believe in.
Does your life reflect the incredibly bold proclamations of God's faithfulness in your life? Do you live a life that shows you truly serve a might God who can never fail?
--from Nakwon EM Feb 11 Sunday Worship Service