The Bare Soul
October 16, 2011
Psalm 75:1 - We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, for Your Name is near; Men declare Your wondrous works.
Years ago, a young lady who attended our church wore a button from time to time out in public which caused quite a stir. I guess you could say it was a campaign button of sorts. In large block letters it read: CONTRARY TO POPULAR BELIEF, GOD'S LAST NAME IS NOT DAMN! She was on a crusade to make people realize how flippant the vast majority of folks are with God's Name. Of all people, she understood the power of the Name. In the mid-1970s, her husband was within days of succumbing to cancer. All of his hair was gone from chemotherapy and radiation treatments and he was emaciated from the long struggle. Simply, he was a mere shell of a man after cancer had its way with him. A group of believers, led by a faith-filled preacher, stood around his bed and prayed for his healing. Miraculously, he was healed instantly. Within days, his strength had returned and his hair began to grow back. That is about the time I met this beautiful couple. We were all new Christians and were energized by this move of God upon this young man's life. (This healing was documented by The 700 Club and confirmed by his doctors in 1977.) Through this ordeal and subsequent healing, I believe the Lord gave his wife a revelation of the Name of Jesus. That blessed, wonderful Name healed her husband of the cancer that almost destroyed him. Her "campaign button" was merely her tongue-in-cheek way of telling others that God's Name means so much more than a glib expression uttered in anger or exclaim.
Today, OMG is touted by many as one of the most used abbreviations in text messaging. Every generation, including this one, seems to find new ways to marginalize God's Name. Using the Lord's Name in a curse word, or to glibly say " Oh My God!" or "Jesus Christ!" is definitely taking the Lord's Name in vain. However, these often just scratch the proverbial surface. There are much more serious instances of breaking the third commandment (Exodus 20:7). The Lord God Almighty gave Moses this instruction on Mount Sinai over 1400 years before the birth of Christ. But, even then, it was in the heart of the Father for His Son to present a similar commandment on a different mount early in His Son's ministry. When Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, he taught his disciples to pray in the sixth chapter of Matthew. The Lord began His instruction by first acknowledging the greatness of His Father's eminence by His location in the eternal heavens -- Our Father who is in heaven. Of great importance is His next statement: Hallowed (or holy) be Your Name! (Matthew 6:9). Jesus not only declared His Father's omnipotence by His preeminence, ruling over heaven and earth, but He also instructed humankind to regard the Name as holy. We might read or hear this and the significance might not really sink into our understanding. However, the holiness of the Name implies that it is set apart for everything beholden to the nature of the Most High.
The Name not only characterizes God, but it explains His attributes or His way He interacts with His creation. Even as Yeshua's (Jesus') Name means "Jehovah is Salvation", the Son of God understood the significance of both His Name and that of His Father's. Their Names were inextricably linked through their relationship of the Godhead, thus allowing the Name to have the same power on earth, as it did in heaven. So, if God the Father's nature meant love, salvation, mercy, healing, wisdom, and many more, than the Name would also be synonymous with His nature. That's why Jesus proclaimed the importance in John 16:23 of us asking in His Name, because then the Father would release the answers to our prayers. However, there is one provision. We must "hallow" His Name, regarding the Name as holy and not trivialized by vain requests. A religious mind-set devoid of any true relationship with God may often be guilty of taking the Lord's Name in vain in ways we may not have considered. If we don't regard Him truly as "Father" by faith, then we seek Him through our own works. When we approach God in this manner, we hold to a form of godliness, although we have denied its power (II Timothy 3:5).
Taking the Lord's Name in vain is a travesty. If we call ourselves Christians and we don't cringe when we hear someone damn something by the Beautiful Name, then we should question our faith and whom we've believed. If we don't consider Yahweh or His Son Yeshua's Name as holy, we won't hold it with reverence concerning how we invoke His Name in our supposed relationship with Him. As Psalm 75:1 states, when the Name of God (whether Jehovah, Yahweh, or Yeshua [Jesus]) is near to us, we will declare the goodness of that Name with all its "wondrous works". Our thanksgiving for God revealing His glorious Name to us will fill us with awe and reverence. Never more will we regard the Name to be used in a vain way, whether through flippant text-messaging or through a life that vainly seeks God in such a way denying the very power of the Name which wrought salvation for all. Much like my friend from years ago, we will recoil from those who would objectify the Name as a vanity upon the lips of mankind, where it means nothing but a curse. For those spiritually in tune with the Spirit of the Lord, we will further understand when we or others are living vain lives that purport God but which deny Him and the power of His Name. The rapturous beauty of the revealed Son within our lives will provoke relationship rather than a vain pursuit that leads to emptiness. May we all seek the Lord until He would reveal Himself to each of us, showing us the holy power that transforms us all through the revelation of the Name.
Heavenly Father, Great Jehovah, we humbly bow before Your throne of grace, asking You to reveal Your Name and the power thereof. We ask to understand, by Your great wisdom, all You desire for us to experience in this relationship with You and Your Son. May we never take Your Name in vain, either by word or by deed. Help us to hallow Your Name everyday, in everyway. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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