Week of February 18
By Skip Heitzig
There's a company in Germany that has produced a limited edition, hand-made pen that has an engraving of Mahatma Gandhi on it. The pens are made of gold and silver, and each one comes with a golden thread that symbolizes the cotton Gandhi used to weave cloth. The thing is, they're selling the pens for $24,000 each! They've run into opposition from a group in India that says a $24,000 pen is the wrong way to honor a man known as an ascetic. This group filed a suit claiming that the pen breaks an Indian law against the improper use of names and emblems.
God also has a law against the improper use of names, specifically His own name. "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7). Some translations render "in vain" as "lightly," "falsely," "frivolously," "profanely," etc. So basically, the name of God should never be used, uttered, sung or written in an empty, frivolous or insincere way.
There are over 300 names for God in the Bible, and each one reveals a part of His nature. "Elohim" speaks of His strength and faithfulness, "Adonai" means Lord and speaks of His being our Master, etc. The orthodox Jews reverence the name of God so much that they won't even write it; instead they write G-d. They won't use His name in a way that isn't true to His character and reputation.
If you were to slur the name of Buddha, you'd probably have the ACLU after you. If you were to defame the name of Moses, you'd hear from the Jewish Anti-Defamation League. If you misuse the name of Mohammed, in some parts of the world they'll kill you. And yet, how many movies and TV shows will use "Oh, God!" or "Oh, Jesus Christ!" not in a way of praise, but in a defaming way? And nobody thinks anything about it.
I have heard people tell me, "You know, God told me such-and-such." I don't deny that God can speak, but I cringe when I hear that because what if He didn't? Then you just took the name of God in vain!
Jesus said, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45), and God's command has to do with careless speech due to an unguarded heart. So here's what I want to ask you. Is your speech careless? Is your heart unguarded? If you belong to God, and if Jesus is your Savior, then you should honor Him by how you live, what you think, and what you say.
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