Summary: God's name is holy and should be treated with reverence.
"You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." One of the toughest things for me is to visit in jails and prisons. I don’t know why this makes me so nervous. But, there is something about being in a prison among people who have been convicted of crimes. It is always an anxious time for me. But, God didn’t call me to be comfortable, but to minister to everyone.
I read about a pastor who told the story of meeting a man for the first time. He said, when I first saw him, I was impressed about how kind his face was ... no lines, merry eyes, a softness, a smile. They became friends and brothers in Christ. His mother had called from far away, saying, "No one goes to see him. Would you go to visit him?" How can you turn down the tearful plea of a mother?
So every Tuesday between 2:00 and 3:00, the pastor went to the place where he lived awaiting execution, and the pastor remembered thinking, the first time they met, how kind he looked, how his face didn't reflect what he had done.
He had impersonated an officer and enticed a sixteen-year-old student off a campus into his car. He'd driven to a remote place and had raped and killed her.
Now he was going to die.
His face was kind, except at certain times. He learned as the months went by that he could say certain things or names, and it would change this condemned man. At the name of someone he considered an enemy, his face would become hard and his eyes, like daggers. He would grit his teeth and become a different person.
Isn't it interesting the power that some names invoke. Think about certain people in your life, and when their name is mentioned it brings memories, attitudes, and sometimes even evokes certain reactions. When someone calls you and says, "I need help. This is _________." At the hearing of that name, you're on your way to help.
Let me ask you this. What is your attitude and action when you hear the name God? "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name."
I guess Moses was the greatest preacher who never got to the Holy Land. He gave his life to get there. Forty years of his life was spent trying to get hundreds of people there, but he never made it. He gave his life under the calling of God to get those people to that land, but he never got to cross that border. Why?
Numbers 20 gives the strange and puzzling answer to that question. Moses, Aaron, and Miriam had brought those people into the Desert of Zin, and they stopped at Kadesh. It was there, the Scripture tells us, that Miriam, this wonderfully beloved sister of Moses and Aaron, died. Miriam was the one who pulled Moses out of the bulrushes in the little ark that his mother put him in and saved his life. It was Miriam who had leprosy, and Moses had prayed and interceded with God, and the leprosy was cured. Now she was dead and buried there.
She'd been a leader with Moses and Aaron on this venture. Now she was dead, and I'm sure their hearts were broken.
In the midst of this brokenhearted grief, the people strongly confronted Moses and Aaron with their gripes once again. They said, "What have you done to us?
Why didn't you let us die back in Egypt? You talked about a land of figs, grapevines, pomegranates, and grain. Why, nothing is here. There's not even water for us drink."
They confronted Moses and Aaron like this, and those two men did what people should always do when they face a situation that is helpless and hopeless.
They fell on their faces before God, and He blessed them with His presence.
He said to Moses, "I want you to go in front of the big rock and call a meeting. There, I want you to tell the people their Holy God is anxious for them to have water, and He will provide for them. I want you to speak to the rock, and it will open, and water will come out."
Moses called the meeting, and they all came to the big rock. He looked in their faces, and he lost it. He had put up with those griping, nagging, whining, and complaining people all those months, and now they were still angry. I'm sure they were still fussing about having to be there, and Moses just lost it.
He said, "I've had enough."