VALENTINE’S DAY GIFT
Barbour Publishing has agreed to give you a free Kindle download of my new release: Understanding Jesus, A Guide to His Life and Times.
It will be available for one day only, Thursday, April 14.
Go to this Amazon link on Thursday and you’ll see the $9.99 price marked down to “free.”
It’s the truth.
IT’S THE QUESTION OF THE WEEK
It comes from Steve Grisetti, and he gets a free book for his trouble.
What exactly does it mean to “Take the name of the Lord in vain”?
Steve’s question comes from the third commandment:
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain,” (Exodus 20:7, NKJV).
It may surprise some folks, but many Bible experts say they don’t know what that means.
Phrasing in the original Hebrew language is vague.
That comes across when we read different Bible translations in our attempt to figure out what we’re not supposed to do:
- Misuse the name of the Lord (NIRV)
- Wrongful use of the name (NRSV)
- Irreverent use and silly banter (The Message)
- Thoughtless use (NCV)
- As if it were of no significance (Common English Bible)
- Make empty promises (Easy-to-Read Version)
- Swear falsely by the name of the Lord (Tanakh—Jewish Bible)
Some theories about what we’re not supposed to do include sharply focused suggestions:
- Don’t lie under oath, when you’ve sworn on God’s Word to tell the truth.
- Don’t use God’s name in cussing, as in “God dammit.”
- Don’t use God’s name flippantly or disrespectfully, as in saying “Oh, God!” while you’re having sex or eating a cream puff.
One theory is much broader:
- Don’t misrepresent God’s name by claiming to be one of his own when you act like the devil.
According to that theory, the commandment isn’t about protecting God. It’s about protecting us from the likes of:
- Crooked preacher-types out to make a buck by telling us God will make us rich if we give our money to their ministry.
- Holier-than-thou hardliners who insist we believe what they believe about the Bible, or go to hell.
- Angry religious folks who hammer hurting people with Bible verses that hurt them all the more.
- Spiritual leaders who would send us into a crowd to blow ourselves up while screaming our last words: “God is great!”
During the Crusades, fought in God’s name, one of the Christians wrote this description of the battle for Jerusalem’s temple area.
Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands, and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city….
In the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers….
Now that the city was taken, it was well worth all our previous labors and hardships to see the devotion of the pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre. How they rejoiced and exulted and sang a new song to the Lord! The Siege and Capture of Jerusalem
Some would say that these Christians used God’s name in vain.
Rev. Adam Hamilton, pastor the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, preached an outstanding sermon on this topic a week ago. I’ve pulled some of this info from his excellent research, which I confirmed because I tend not to trust the research of preachers. Adam’s an exception to the rule. I’m a big fan of his ministry.
But I still check his research before passing it along to you.