Our verse for today comes from 2 Samuel 15:7, ” And at the end of four years Absalom said to the king, ‘Please, let me go to Hebron and pay the vow which I made to the Lord.’ “
Rule number three. Or more traditionally, commandment number three. Using the King’s English we would say, ” Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain. ” Back in the day, and by ” day ” I mean the times of Abraham, Moses, Daniel, and Jesus, a name meant something. To use someone’s name, or to make a claim under the authority of another, carried tremendous weight. In some situations, the weight was life or death. In fact, God’s own people became so afraid of misusing His name that they usually substituted more generic words for Lord whenever they wished to speak His name. But through the years perceptions change, wouldn’t you say? Now, instead of avoiding God’s name, people blurt it out as frequently as they say ” like ” or ” very. ” In social media, it’s shortened as part of the acronym OMG, but not out of respect. It’s just quicker to type only one letter per word. And so, our treatment of the third commandment has changed as well. Rather than ascribing to God’s name all the honor and majesty it deserves, and being sure to not invoke His authority inappropriately or indiscriminately, we have reworked His command to now mean we should not use His name as a cuss word. And since the vast majority of us do not speak in that manner, we think we’ve got good ole commandment three squared away. But I hardly think that’s the case. When a name has such power and authority that every person in history will one day bow at its utterance, somehow avoiding a cuss word doesn’t quite measure up.
Absalom referenced a vow he made to God in the ruse he was pulling on King David. His intent was not to worship, but his appearance certainly was. And that sounds much closer to how we treat the holy name of our God. Sunday’s intentions become Tuesday’s omissions. We can talk a good game, but our strength is still in ourselves. If you’ve made a vow that you intend on keeping, live it out rather than merely saying it. Bring back the day when His name meant something.
As we seek Him today, show forth the honor of His name with your actions as well as your words.