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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 2012

The Second Commandment
You Shall Not Misuse the Name of the Lord Your God

What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, steeor, use Satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.

Every explanation of a commandment in the Small Catechism is broken up into two parts: first, it explains what the commandment forbids and second, it explains what God expects from us, or said another way, how we were created to live, His will. So, in the Second Commandment we see that it is not God's will that we use God's name in order to harm others or for selfish, personal gain. Rather, we are to speak it in faith.

As the Large Catechism says, "Just as the first commandment instructs the heart and teaches faith, so this commandment leads us outward and directs the lips and tongue into a right relationship with God. For the first things that burst forth and emerge from the heart are words." The name of God is a great gift given to His people. It is how we know Him. It is the name that is placed upon us when we are baptized (in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). So precious was the name of God to the ancient Israelites that they wouldn't even speak or write it, lest the holy name be found on sinful lips or coming from a sinful hand. The name of God is that name which ought to be most sacred amongst us.

Yet we find it abused in so many ways. We say, "Oh my God" when trivial annoyances creep into our lives. We in essence are saying, "God means so little to me that I trash His holy name when I stubbed my toe." We abuse God's name simply because we are inconvenienced. It is pretty pathetic, actually.

Another way this commandment is broken is when false teaching is spread in God's name. This commandment speaks out against false doctrine. False doctrine is nothing more than speaking where God has not spoken, saying what God has not said, and then blaming it on or attributing it to Him. Such teaching is most dangerous as Exodus says, "For the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name" (Exodus 20:7).

There are many other ways we can abuse God's name and there is not enough space to deal with all of them here. Suffice it to say that God does not give us His name to be misused or abused for our own purposes. Rather, He gives us His name so that we can trust in Him. We are on a first name basis, you might say, with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To the Israelites He said He was to be known as the "God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," that is, a God who keeps promises. He said, "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (Exodus 20:2) so as to be known as the God who saves. And now, the Father has given the Son, Jesus, the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:10) so that we know God as the one who put on our flesh, died, rose, and reigns for the sake of us who have been baptized into His name. We know God as our savior from sin, death, and hell who promises to make us His own.

With this we can call upon God, by name, in faith, trusting that He is a good God who loves us and provides for us. He calls us to invoke His name in times of trouble for help and at times of blessing in praise and thanksgiving. We can speak hope and love to others in the name of Jesus because God has given us His name. We can trust in the name of the Lord our God, for by giving us His name, He proves Himself trustworthy!

Pastor Bob

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Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email