Connect 360: Reverence for God’s Name

Lesson 4 in the BaptistWay Press Connect 360 unit “Pillars” focuses on Exodus 20:7.

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  • Lesson 4 in the BaptistWay Press Connect 360 unit “Pillars” focuses on Exodus 20:7.

When a person hears her name called, her ears perk up because she knows that someone is either speaking to her directly or to another about her. The volume, tone, intensity and circumstances all give context to what is trying to be communicated, whether the person wishes to give information, a criticism, a direction or a request. Perhaps the speaker may manipulate by the way he says the name, repeats the name, or even curses the name.

God gave the third commandment “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” God commands people not to misuse his name by frivolously adding it to their frustrations, inconveniences and whims.

God does not tolerate people whining and repeating their wishes to him as if he were Santa Claus or a genie to be instantaneously summoned by people’s beck and call to give them exactly what they want.

Names matter

One’s name is frequently used to designate the entirety of a person, including the uniqueness and authority of an individual. In the Old Testament, this is especially true when referencing God, as the Jews wouldn’t verbally pronounce the sacred name Yahweh.

Knowing a person’s name gives us access to that individual. Knowing God’s name, in the intimate sense of the word, helps us to embrace God’s accessibility to us. In the Old Testament, God is called “Father” only 10 times, and in another seven instances, the people of Israel are called his children. However, Jesus called God “Father” 170 times in the Gospels. The God who disclosed his name to Moses as “I AM,” through Jesus now allows us to call him “Abba.” He desperately desires relationship.

God’s name reflects his character. Since God is holy, so is his name. Because God is righteous, his name is righteous, and to mistreat God’s name is to abuse his character. When we treat God as unholy, he will hold us accountable. There are several instances in the Bible of individuals who were punished for their failure to regard God’s holiness properly.

Are we trivializing God’s name even through our worship? God is not a commodity for sale. He is not an attraction to be used to entertain the crowds. He is not a magic trick that brings prosperity or good luck. God is holy; and we must come before him with brokenness, humility, and praise.

Perhaps the most significant violation of God’s name is when his people fail to call on his name. God wants to hear sincere requests, feelings, and thoughts from his children. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” The Lord wants to commune with his beloved.

Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.

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