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Jun 25, 2017

Third Commandment: What's in a Name

Third Commandment: What's in a Name

Passage: Exodus 20:1-17

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Love God/Love Neighbor: The Ten Commandments

Category: Power, life, presence

Keywords: name, ten commandments, third commandment

A name represents a relationship, power, presence, possibility and life.


"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 (NIV)

 Most often, when I've considered the third commandment, I've focused on the sin of profaning the Lord's name. As a child, I thought of it solely as the "Don't curse." rule. As an adult Christian, while I would still put vital importance on that aspect of the command, I've also looked at it in broader terms which place a greater responsibility on me as a member of a community of believers. 

The first four commandments, as Pastor Chris mentioned, are about our relationship with God while the remainder are about our relationship with people. In Exodus 19:5-6 we find God's declaration of the unique nature of our relationship with Him. We are set apart as a "treasured possession, a holy nation". As His very own children we have a responsibility not only to Him, but to our community, to be sure we don't use His name lightly or carelessly. 

Certainly, this would include refraining from cursing. But what about when we invoke His name flippantly or even because we're frankly just a little short on time? How many times have I nodded my head in earnest as prayer requests were lifted up during worship only to forget those requests as soon as I left the building? How many times have I replied to a desperate Facebook post with a quick click on the "praying hands emoji" and then swiftly scrolled to the next post? How many times have I told a member of my Bible Study group, "I'll pray for you.", uttered a quick, mindless request to God and then gone about my day? 

This week, as I pray for my friends and family members, might I remember exactly to whom I am praying. This is not a star I wish upon. This is not a dandelion whose seeds I blow through the air hoping to earn some luck. When we offer to pray for someone, we are invoking the holiest, most powerful, most majestic of all names. As His kingdom people called to pray, let us use His name with the greatest possible reverence, honor and devout attention. 


Holy, precious Lord, name above all names. We are humbled and grateful to be called Your treasured possession, set apart as a holy nation. Let us remember the great responsibility it is to call upon You on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, and let us do so in a way that is always pleasing to You. There is no higher honor than to pray in the name of the Most High God. All glory and honor to You. Amen.

Written by Jennifer Skinner, member of Arcola Church and a Texan (Texas Longhorn to be specific!) living in beautiful Virginia with her very patient, funny husband, and three very impatient, funny boy/ball players. She is also a blogger, The View From Behind Home Plate, who writes about finding extraordinary grace and blessings among the cleats and dirt and testosterone that fill her ordinary days.