Third Command
Friday, January 8, 2010


“This then is how you should pray, ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Mt. 6:9)

                Christians today are barraged by foul language.  The “F” word and the Lord’s name being used as a curse word litter our conversations, our entertainment, and even our politics.  It has become such an onslaught of indecency that which was once illegal, has now become commonplace and the protesting listeners are the ones who are looked down upon.  And, we have come to believe that using God’s name as a curse word is the essence of the third commandment, “You shall not use the Lord’s name in vain.”  But in reality, saying g..d.. is but a very small part of violation of that command.

                A better way to explain this command is to shift from the negative of the Old Testament to the positive of the New Testament.  Jesus tells us when we pray, that before we pray for anything else, we should pray that God’s name be hallowed, that is He be holy in our lives, in our families, in our churches, and in our land.  That is the fundamental basis for which Jesus instructed prayer – hallowing the name of God.  And that does not mean giving God a few platitudes in our morning prayer.  It means recognizing that if the name of God is not hallowed in our hearts and our world, then little else is going to go right. 

Let me put it another way.  Many times I am asked the question, “what is it that gives faith such power?”  How can faith in God do what “doing good” cannot?  It all has to do with hallowing God’s name.  For you see, to see God as holy is to trust in His Word.  It means that we hold firmly to all His promises – that we count every promise as true.  Nothing can be more meaningful than trusting what someone has to say.  As Martin Luther said, “Nothing more excellent than this can be ascribed to God.”  We honor His name, we hallow His name by trusting in His promises.  The highest form of worship is to say God, “You are right,” and that hallows His name.  The flip side of that is to not trust or hallow in the name of God.  When we believe that His promises are empty, then we are calling Him a liar.  And when that happens, we see why this commandment closely follows the first and second commandment.  For when we don’t hallow God’s name, we set ourselves up as truth and by doing so we deny God and make ourselves an idol.  So when we damn something God has done, we say, “God we know better,” and because we say we know better we become god in our own hearts.

                Every person who loves their parents can, at least in part, understand the importance of this command.  We take pride in our father’s name and we wear it with dignity.  Allow me a personal story. I will never forget the tears in Daddy’s eyes when he proudly went to the bank to pledge his $500.  The donation was to build a hospital in our home town.  Oh, we had a hospital, but it was old, antiquated, and unable to meet the modern demands of medicine.  His tears, however, were not tears of pride, but tears of rejection.  The banker – the one in charge of the fund-raising – always took a personal delight in cutting my father down.  This day would be no exception.  As Daddy proudly signed his pledge card, the banker told him he had no business pledging income when he owed the bank money.  Like I said, I will never forget that day.  My dad was dishonored.  No children, who deeply love their parents, ever want to see them dishonored.                This is a very practical lesson we must not forget.  What child would ever want his or her parent dishonored? Have you ever heard little boys on the playgrounds of school telling of the heroics of their fathers?  It is a natural instinct to exalt the ones we love.  Because we love them, we want others to see their value.  The problem with our earthly parents is that they have flaws.  They have sinned; made dumb mistakes; and let’s face it, they may not be winners in earthly terms.  But our Father in heaven has never sinned; makes the wisest of the wise look foolish; and has never been defeated.  He is all goodness, mercy, and power wrapped into a magnificent, beautiful, and awesome Being who is fully worthy of our praise.                So when you hear the Lord’s name being used as a curse word, you can know two things instinctively.  First, you know the person cursing is not a person of faith, because they willingly drag God’s name in the muck in order to exalt their own selves (who is their one true god).  And secondly, we can know they do not love God because they are willing to dishonor His name.  And when we see how God and Christ’s name is dishonored in our language, we can learn a great deal about the rest of the sins of our culture.

Kingdom Road Ministries
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10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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