Friday, February 4, 2011

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

Back when I was growing up and my mom or dad had to call me into the house or into their presence for something, I either got my nickname, first full-name, first full-name and middle name, or the whole thing from beginning to end.  It depended on the situation as to which one of these I heard and the tone in which I heard it spoken.  I did not want to hear my entire name followed by an exclamation point.  Things never went well for me after this and who wants to go into the wrathful presence of a parent or parents after a summon like that?  Still I had to go or it would be even worse the next time I appeared because the charge of "not coming when I called you the first time" would be levied upon me on top of whatever I did to warrant the original thunder call.  This was normal for me and my brother in my household.  It was normal for my parents when they were growing up.  I've heard it was normal behavior for other families as well.  However, there is one name, that takes many forms, that has no business being misused.

Do you consider God holy?  What does a holy God mean to you?  Do you include God's name or the many names He goes by as holy

Yes, I consider God Holy.
My definition of a Holy God is - a God who is so perfect in every way that He is unapproachable except for by the grace and love He has shown us through Christ Jesus the LORD.
Yes, I consider God's name and the many other titles He goes by as Holy.

Let us take a look at some key verses in Scripture that stress the Holiness of His Name.

“…ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.”  1 Chronicles 16:29

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  Psalm 8:1

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”  Psalm 20:7

“Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name.”  Psalm 30:4

“The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory.”  Psalm 102:15
“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”  Psalm 103:1

“Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.”  Psalm 113:1

“Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore.”  Psalm 113:2

“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.”  Psalm 113:3

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”  Psalm 115:1

“Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  Psalm 124:8

“My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name forever and ever.”  Psalm 145:21

“Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created.”  Psalm 148:5

“Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”  Psalm 148:13

“Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea.”  Isaiah 24:15

“…your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”  Isaiah 26:8


Then there is Scripture that speaks to what we can find in His name - like salvation, safety and healing.
 "And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved"  Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”  Proverbs 18:10 

Then there are verses about what His name actually is.

“…the LORD Almighty is his name”  Isaiah 47:4; 48:2; 54:5; Jeremiah 10:16; 32:18; 51:19

“…the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown!”  Hosea 12:5; Amos 4:13

But the real kicker is how we should treat His name.  The Hebrews profaned the Name of the LORD many times throughout their history and God called them out on it.

“But afterward you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols.”  Ezekiel 20:39

"Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone.”  Ezekiel 36:22

As for us, we should take heed and revere His name.  Honor His presence in our lives by speaking His name in the awesome respect He deserves.

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name." Exodus 20:7

" 'Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.”  Leviticus 19:12

“They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the offerings made to the LORD…”  Leviticus 21:6

“…anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.”  Leviticus 24:16

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Deuteronomy 5:11

"If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name--the LORD your God--  the LORD will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.”  Deuteronomy  28:58-59

 
If this is not plain enough for you then I don't know what will help, but I will try.  I see believers give lip service to the original consideration a lot.  They declare His Holiness then disrespect Him and themselves as Christians by misusing His name.  If you are using phrases like "Good Lord!" or "God Almighty! or "Good God!" or any variation thereof or other combinations of words that would include a title or name of God at the end of your sentences, especially as Exclamations - STOP IT!  If you can't do it for the honor of the Word of God and your relationship with Christ then please don't say those kinds of things when you are around me.

As an ambassador for Christ I can no longer take the misuse of my Lord's name!  I am filled with zeal for His name!  I am hearing believers profane His name in the workplace and loosely exclaim it at the end of sentences at church functions.  If Christians are a new creature in Christ then how can they take the LORD thy God's name in vain?  And this does not mean soley crying out "Jesus Christ" as I've noted above.

What will it take for some to honor the LORD's name?  In the scenario below, the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor because true believers were associated with the power of the Holy Spirit that worked through them.  And I'm sure along with that was honor and respect of the name they were using to work in the power of - Jesus. 

“[One day] the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?"  Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.  When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.” Acts 19:15-17

There is great power and responsibility in the name of the Jesus.  And our actions and speech must reflect this at all times.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Colossians 3:17

Do you do all things - words/deeds - in the name of the LORD Jesus, being sure to give thanks to the Father through Him?

In the Narnia collection of stories by C.S. Lewis, just the mention of the name of ASLAN (the lion) ilicits a positive response physically (i.e. one's whole countenance is uplifted) from the other characters.  That is how I feel when the name of Jesus is mentioned or any other name that my Lord or God goes by in Holy Scripture.  The opposite can be said too.  Whenever someone, especially a supposed believer, straight out takes the Lord's Name in vain or misuses it in any other way (just being careless and flippent with His name like mentioned above), I feel violated, dirty, sad, and angry - all in one emotion.

It's high time we strive to be a Whole Christian and not just in part.  In thoughts, in actions, in words - let us always bring honor and praise to His Name.  What is in a name?  Everything is in His name and He deserves every bit of this discipline.