Summary: 2nd in a 5 part series applying Biblical answers to family concerns. Using the 10 commandments as the Biblical basis.
"THE LANGUAGE OF THE FAMILY"
Paul Dickson has written a book entitled, What’s In A Name? In that book he shares some of the most unusual names he’s come across. How would you like to have any of these for your name? Cletus Clodfelter, Rotten Earp, Jinglebells Kaplan, and Boomfa Umfumpa. Can you imagine? "Hey Boomfa!" I could add another cruel name to his list. I actually know of a preacher, an associate minister in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, who’s last name is Odor. His parents gave him the first name of.. Ivan! Ivan Odor! It’s no wonder he always uses his middle initial, Ivan C. Odor. Dickson, also writes that some people seem to be destined to certain occupations by their names. Joe Bunt became a baseball coach. Dan Druff became a barber. Two men with the last names of Goforth and Ketchum actually became partners in a police force. Would you feel secure hiring a plaster contractor by the name of Will Crumble?
What’s in a name? Well, God says there is a great deal of importance to a name when it’s His name. Today we look another commandment that we need to apply as individuals and as families. It’s printed in your bulletin.. Let’s read it together out loud.. "You must not use the name of the Lord your God thoughtlessly; the Lord will punish anyone who misuses his name."(NCV) Now, this commandment certainly forbids profanity. We’re not to use the name of God or Jesus Christ as an obscenity. But is that all God is referring to? Let’s study this 3rd commandment and make sure that we understand what it means, that we comprehend the ways we can break it and then apply it to our lives and the lives of our families so that we can bring God glory and honor by properly using His name.
I. AN EXTENSIVE DEFINITION: UNDERSTANDING THIS COMMAND
What does it mean to use the name of God "thoughtlessly" or, as the NIV says, to “misuse the name of God” or as the K.J.V. reads: (“not take the Lord thy God’s name in vain.”) In his book, These Ten Words, Roy L. Honeycutt says this verse could be translated literally as, "You shall not lift up the name of the Lord, Your God, with emptiness or frivolity." In other words we are never to use the name of God without the honor it is due. We know that God’s name is important to Him if for no other reason than because of the way the Lord’s prayer begins.. "Our Father who are in heaven.." what? "Hallowed be Thy Name." or as the Living Bible has it: “We honor your Holy name..”
Now, why is God so sensitive about His name? Well, the Bible tells us that a name reveals at least 3 things that helps us answer that question. (1) It reveals His reputation. You’ve heard people say, "He’s really making a name for himself." What are they talking about? His reputation. And when I say certain names you automatically associate a certain reputation with them. When I say, "Elvis" you think of a certain reputation. When I say "Bill Clinton" you may associate another reputation. That’s true of Bible names too. Out of all the babies that have been born to our church none of the girls have been named "Jezebel," and none of the boys "Judas." Why? Reputation. (2) It reveals His character. What you are cannot be separated from what your name is, once it is identified together. In fact, in the Bible, they often would name their children after certain character qualities like honesty, justice, salvation. Many times in the Scriptures when God changed their life they were given a new name to describe their character. Abram was changed to Abraham which meant "father of many." Jacob, after he had wrestled with an angel had his name changed to Israel which meant "to strive with God." In the NT Simon was changed to "Peter" which meant bedrock. God made those changes because it described an attribute of character. (3) It reveals His authority. When a police officer stops you what could he say? "Stop in the name of the" what? "the law." Why? Because he represents the authority behind the law. If you are eating dinner this week and somebody calls and your wife says, "It’s Bill Jones..." You say, "Tell him I’ll call him after I finish eating." But if she says, "It’s George W. Bush.." and it’s really President George Bush, I don’t care what you think of his politics you are probably going to answer the phone. Why? Because that name represents the authority of the President of the United States. Well, God says, "When you misuse my name it is a big deal! Because when you use it flippantly, or without the meaning that it is intended, you are defaming My reputation, My character and My authority."