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Friday, May 20, 2022

2022.05.20 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 20:7

Read Exodus 20:7

Questions from the Scripture text: What shall we not carry (“take”) in the wrong way? Whose/which Name? What relation does He have to us? In what way shall we not carry that name? Who will punish the breaking of this commandment? What will He not do for them (cf. Matthew 12:31)? 

As creatures made in God’s image (cf. Genesis 1:26), man has always had a special responsibility to display and apply Lordship of God in all the creation (cf. Genesis 1:28).  But rather than view subjection to God as a display of His Lordship, man attempted to be Lord over himself (cf. Genesis 3:5–6). Still, marvelously, even from among sinners, God has chosen to save some to be His own special people (cf. Exodus 20:2). This amazing note rings out of each of the first five commandments: “before Me” (Exodus 20:3), “Yahweh your God” (Exodus 20:5), “Yahweh your God” (Exodus 20:7), “Yahweh  your God” (Exodus 20:10), “Yahweh your God” (Exodus 20:12).

So, while all humanity has a special duty among the creation for the honoring of God’s Name, those whom He has redeemed have a special duty even among humanity for the honoring of God’s Name. He gave man speech, so that we could call upon His Name, and the capacity for worship so that we would praise His Name. And He has redeemed sinners so that they will call upon His Name for salvation, and so that they will praise His Name for redeeming them (cf. Revelation 5:9). 

What a weighty thing is the speech of a Christian! It is on this basis that the Spirit warns us against any improper use of our mouths whatsoever (cf. James 3:9–10). But that which is true so intensely with respect to our mouths is also true of our lives as a whole. The people of God are always to be a reflection upon the God of the people (cf. Deuteronomy 4:6–8). 

If we are not careful and intentional about how we speak and how we live, then we treat the Name of God as an empty thing.

If we come thoughtlessly or heartlessly to worship itself, then we treat the Name of God as an empty thing.

If we use the gospel as an excuse for remaining the same, rather than as an assurance that the pursuit of holiness will ultimately succeed, then we treat the Name of God as an empty thing.

If we treat empty pleasures as if they are joyous and the worship of God as if it is dreary, then we treat the Name of God as an empty thing.

If we use the Name of God to add force to our empty words, rather than as a reminder that we are always before Him and dependent upon Him, then we treat the Name of God as an empty thing.

If we use that which is foul or crass to add weight to our words, rather than carefully choosing what comes out of worship-lips, we treat the Name of God as an empty thing. 

If we treat worship as a superstitious magic by which we act in the spiritual realm, rather than an engaging of God Himself; or if we treat worship as a way to feel a certain way, rather than a felt interaction with God; then, we treat the Name of God as an empty thing.

But there is something greatly dangerous about treating the Name of God as an empty thing. By “the Name of God” we mean every part of how He communicates Himself to us. And if He is not divinely weighty unto us, there is no way that we can be saved. His divine weightiness is what makes us see the true guilt of our sin. His divine weightiness is what makes us see the true salvation that there is in the Savior.

Whenever we speak or live irreverently—and especially whenever we do this in worship—we expose the kind of thinking that demands us to ask, “will God really hold me guiltless?” Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain!

When are you most tempted to be silly or crass? What most hinders your reverence in worship?

Sample prayer:  Lord, how marvelous that You have put Your glorious Name upon our lips and upon us ourselves! Grant unto us to speak and live as those in whom You have invested Your glorious Name, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP8 “LORD, Our Lord, in All the Earth” or TPH174 “The Ten Commandments”

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