Bible Society of South Africa

To the glory of His Name – 8 June 2020

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

7“Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the LORD your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.

Exodus 20:7GNBOpen in Bible reader

What is in a name is an often-asked question. To many people, it is very important to name a child after a family member, while others would choose a beautiful-sounding name or honour a special sportsperson. To people in biblical times, names were very important. Names were often chosen to express the hopes and expectations the parents had for the child or to remember an important event.

The name of God was seen as so sacred, and of such great significance, that there is a special command in the Ten Commandments to forbid the misuse of His name. With the command comes the warning that those who transgress will not go unpunished. Professor FC Fencham said that the Hebrew word for “misuse” literally means to use God’s name for trifling matters. To the Jews, this command was so important that they started using other names like Adonai to keep them from using the name YAHWEH.

We find that the Bible uses different names for God to express the way he deals with people in different situations by using a suffix to El or Yahweh, for instance, El Olam, Mighty God, or Yahweh Jireh, the Lord provides. His name is never used for trifling matters but always to help us understand his different ways of dealing with His people.

During the next few weeks, we will be looking at how God dealt with people in the Old Testament by using the different “names” and, God willing, we will explore the same in the New Testament later in the year.

Prayer: Lord, please help me to always honour your Name. Please help me not to use your Name for trifling matters. Help me to speak in such a way that other people will know how much I revere your Name. Amen

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