The Commandments: Honor My Name

After working on our verses for Week Three I ended up with far more material than I anticipated…for ONE verse. Therefore, for the sake of keeping things in happy digestible chunks, I’m going to split this lesson in half.

The beauty is you can complete these at your own pace, so no worries anyway! I’m not going to breathe down your neck to see whether or not you have completed the lessons “on time.” These lessons are provided so that you have an opportunity to grow closer to God at your own pace. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying excavating through God’s Word and finding such incredible treasures to share!

I am leaving for Texas on Wednesday evening for my sister’s wedding, but I will be around to answer any questions y’all may leave in the comments below.

With that in mind, here.we.go!

This week’s memory verse is from I Chronicles 16:34 –

VOWs wk03

A perfect song of worship to go along with this week’s lesson 🙂

Read Exodus 20:7. We will begin and end with this verse. I am often surprised at how much God packs into a sentence!

1. How well do you keep the command you just read? Circle a number below, 1 being the worst and 5 the best. Why did you circle that number?

1                                 2                                 3                                 4                                 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For starters, what is God’s Name?

2. Read Exodus 3:12-15. How does God identify Himself to Moses?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hebrew word hayah used for “I Am,” in verse 14 is not an uncommon occurrence in the Old Testament, nor is it exclusively linked with God. However, the phrase we read means more than simply “I am.”

Strong’s Literal Translation brings in more depth, revealing I Am to read: “I am that which I am.”

In other words, God has no specific name like you or I have; nothing He would use as a signature on His checks. Rather, God is revealed through His character. He is our provider, victory, salvation, rock, healer, refuge, and more. Above all, God is love.

As Don Steward the Bible Explorer puts it:

God’s name, as revealed in the Bible, is more than a combination of sounds – it stands for His character. God reveals Himself by making known or proclaiming His name or character.

3.  Wait…how can we break the commandment found in verse seven if we have no “name” to call upon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the sake of argument and to simplify things, we need to recognize that we do indeed use words to represent God in our lives. In fact I just did. I used the word God to specifically refer to the Living God, the Holy One of Heaven.

4. According to the following verses, what are other “names” or attributes we use when we refer to the One True God? Can you list others not included below?

  • Genesis 17:1
  • Genesis 22:14
  • Exodus 15:26
  • Exodus 17:15-16
  • Leviticus 20:7-8
  • Judges6:24
  • Psalms 23:1
  • Jeremiah 23:5-6
  • Revelation 19:6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  When we bring His Son into the picture, we do indeed have a specific Name we can call on. What is that Name above all names?

  • Isaiah 9:6
  • John 1:1
  • Matthew 1:21
  • I Timothy 2:5
  • Hebrews 13:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let us finally answer the question from above. How do we break the command not to misuse the Name of the Lord?

Martin Luther puts it very plainly for us:

God’s name is misused when people speak God’s name uselessly or carelessly, curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name.

The first section, “God’s name is misused when people speak God’s name uselessly or carelessly” is easy enough to understand. Any time we toss around God and His name as if it were common place or less than holy, we break this command. For instance, when we make exclamations like “Oh my god,” “omg,” “Dear lord,” “For Christ’s sake,” or phrases similar, we essentially are throwing God’s name into the mud.

Naturally, if these exclamations are paired with an earnest calling out to God in prayer or praise, then they cease to break this command. However, if we are truly honest with ourselves, when these phrases cross our lips, God is rarely crossing our heart.

6.  What are other exclamations which carelessly use God’s name?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second section, “curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name,” requires a bit more thought and digging.

First, we need to differentiate between cursing and swearing. Cursing and swearing aren’t the same as cussing or using foul language. {Though they absolutely fall into the “unwholesome talk” Paul refers to in Ephesians 4:29.}

Cursing is when we desire or call for misfortune to befall someone or ourselves. This particularly breaks the above command when we call on God to fulfill the curse. Cursing also includes mocking God’s name, similar to what we explored above, but on a larger scale.

7.  How is God blasphemed/cursed in the following passages?

  • Ezekiel 20:27-28
  • II Kings 18:28-35
  • Matthew 27:39-43
  • John 8:48-53

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swearing on the other hand, is when God’s name is used to make an oath or establish someone is speaking the truth.

There are times when calling down curses is paired with swearing.

I swear to God I’m telling the truth! If I’m lying, may God strike me with lightening!

Or

As God as my witness, I’ll be on time, or may I never eat chocolate again!

Adam Clarke explains the command in this way:

This precept not only forbids all false oaths, but all common swearing where the name of God is used, or where he is appealed to as a witness of the truth. It also necessarily forbids all light and irreverent mention of God, or any of his attributes.

8.  Based on what we have explored so far, how would we break the Letter of the Law for this particular command? {hint, some examples have already been given}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ had a few things to say on this matter of taking oaths during His Sermon on the Mount, but before we head to Matthew, we need to dig into a few verses from the Old Testament first.

9.  What do the following verses say about making an oath in the Lord’s Name?

  • Leviticus 19:12
  • Numbers 30:2
  • Deuteronomy 6:13
  • Jeremiah 4:2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wait. Here we have Scripture telling us it’s ok to make an oath in the Lord’s Name as long as we fulfill the oath entirely. Somehow I doubt many of us make a worthwhile oath with the Lord more than once or twice in our lifetime. We are all familiar with the “save me” oaths we have made in a desperate moment.

Lord, I swear I will never not study again if you help me pass this test!

Lord, I promise I will never miss church again if you heal me.

Lord I swear I’ll _____________________ if you _______________.

What then does Christ have to say about making oaths? Is there any time where we are able to make a “worthwhile” oath without breaking this command? Or is every oath made a frivolous one?

10.  Read Matthew 5:33-37. What is Christ’s Word on oaths?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can sum up these verses in one simple phrase:

…let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’

But let’s break these verses down a wee bit further…just for giggles.

11.  Why can’t we swear on heaven, earth, or our own head?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y’all, we can’t swear on heaven or earth because neither one belongs to us! How would breaking our oath on these make any difference on either one? It’s the same with swearing on ourselves. Though my students would make an argument for hair dye, we understand Christ is saying we do not belong to ourselves. God has created us in His image and He is the only one who can affect to core of who we are.

So then, what about when we make a testimony in court? Do we not make an oath to speak the truth?

Or for those who make an oath when taking office, or the oaths made by police, firefighters, and those entering the military? I took an oath when I became a DCE. Did I break His command?

For my friends out there who are married, didn’t we each make an oath before the Lord and our families the day we said “I do.”? What about when we went through the Rite of Confirmation? Then there’s those of us who were Baptized as adults, or spoke on behalf of our child/godchild at their Baptism.

What then? How do we reconcile the oaths we have made with Christ’s command not to make an oath at all?

In all of the examples above, we have the opportunity to make an oath or to affirm the statement given, regardless of what the statement encompasses. Most churches are careful with the wording used for Baptism, the Rite of Confirmation, and marriage vows to ensure adherence to God’s Word. Even our court system gives us the opportunity to affirm rather than the movie style making an oath in with your hand on a Bible and the “so help you God” portion.

Y’all, if you think you have inadvertently made an oath with any of the above examples, ask yourself two simple questions:

1.  Did my oath intend to bring honor and glory to God’s Name?

2.  In the case of an oath made in court, was the oath made for the good of another and not made to falsely accuse?

If the answer was yes to either one, breathe a sigh of relief. When love is the motivating factor, rest assured, it is unlikely you sinned at the same time.

Onward and upward! The second half “use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name,” is much simpler to unravel.

12.  What are a few examples of satanic arts that come to your mind?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I imagine using a Ouija board, practicing witchcraft, calling on the dead, and being a worshiper of Satan were among your list. Others could include relying on horoscopes or the stars to foretell the future, visiting a fortune-teller, and maybe even checking out that fortune in your fortune cookie {mine are always lame anyway.}.

It’s interesting to note, the use of satanic arts can also be included in our previous command not to have any other gods.

Lying and deceiving by His name are also pretty self-explanatory. Using God’s name to make people believe something is true when in fact it is not, is a no-no.

Y’all, this includes more than trying to convince someone you are telling the truth when you aren’t.

13.  Each of these Bible references is a different form of breaking this part of the commandment.

  • Deuteronomy 12:32 and I Kings 13:18-19
  • Matthew 15:8 and Matthew 23:13-33

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only are we not to carelessly use His Name, make a frivolous oath, or lie using His Name, but ensure we do not use His Name to teach something which is against His Word or lie about our faith in His Son Jesus.

14.  We have plenty of “do nots,” how then do we uphold this command and honor God’s Name?

  • Psalm 50:15
  • Psalm 118:1
  • Jeremiah 29:12-13
  • Luke 17:15-16
  • Philippians 4:6-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lord of all creation offers us the strangest invitation. We, who are dust, gone in the blink of an eye are invited to call on the Lord when we are going through struggles. In addition, we have this incredible opportunity to offer Him praise and thanksgiving for all He has done in our lives and for the sake of our eternity with Him.

15.  Pause for a prayer of praise and thanksgiving for all God has done for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.  Revisit the number line above, now that you have a deeper understanding of this command, how well do you keep them? Circle a number below, 1 being the worst and 5 the best. Did you circle something different this time? If so why?

1                                 2                                 3                                 4                                 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week, we will dig into verses 8-11 together and I can hardly wait!


Resources:

  1. Self-Study Bible for cross-references.
  2. Blue Letter Bible for Greek and Hebrew.
  3. Luther’s Small Catechism.
  4. Quick Verse software for more Greek and Hebrew and some Commentaries.
  5. The Florida Notary Law Primer to check up on oaths versus affirmations {I’m a FL Notary Public}

 

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4 thoughts on “The Commandments: Honor My Name

  1. Wow! Such rich and new information on cursing and swearing. Teachings I have never heard before. Thank you for all the hard word you have put into this lesson. I also can never hear enough how important God’s names are because they relate to His character. It is HOW we can know our great God. I just put the finishing touches and sent off my manuscript yesterday for my book on the names of God. Such a God thing and great affirmation to be reading your words this morning!

    Blessings,

    Wendy

    Like

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