The Ten Commandments: Number Three

1st September

Oh My…….God?

You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.”

Exodus 20:7

Don’t take the Lord’s Name in vain…

Oh my God!” David shouted. “Yes,” God replied, “How can I help?” “Errr, well I was .. I.. just dropped my favourite cup……” David nervously said, “I didn’t actually think You would reply…”.

Imagine if the above conversation was real. Imagine if God really did answer when everyone called out His name. Sadly, the name of God is often used as an expression of insult, surprise or anger rather than to converse with God. The funniest thing, is that half of the people who use Jesus’ name as a curse word don’t even believe He exists. So why has Jesus’ name or God’s name been turned into such a common curse word? Sadly because everything that God has created to be good, the enemy has distorted.

So why do we cry out for God? Because there is hope in God’s name, because there is power in His name and because there is comfort in His name. In fact, as Paul says in Philippians, Jesus has been given the Name above all Names, that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. It is in Jesus’ name that many are healed, saved and delivered. It is in Jesus’ name that storms cease, needs are met and chains of addiction and sin are broken. It is in Jesus’ name that we have authority over every evil in this world. There is power in the name of Jesus. Power to bring hope in hopeless situations and life where there is none.

Friends, as we go about our day to day lives, let us give back the honour to Jesus’ name. Let us remember that we carry Jesus’ name as our banner. Let us, in love, challenge those who mis-use God’s name and use it as a platform to share the power of His name with others. Jesus is hope. Jesus is peace. Jesus is love. He is not a curse word.

The Ten Commandments: Number Two

31st August

Who is YOUR God?

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.”

Exodus 20:4-5

You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image. . .

The second of the commandments, given to Moses, is often overlooked by most. We can kid ourselves, by saying ‘I don’t bow down to any idols or images so i’m safe from this one!’ Yet with that attitude we sadly miss the point. What was God really trying to say? Well or course, in it’s literal interpretation it does mean, don’t worship any other gods or any other images besides the One True GOD because in Moses’ day there was a lot of idol worship, Baal etc. ,(in fact as these commandments were being written, at the base of the mountain the people were making a golden image of a bull and worshipping it, see Exodus 32). But if we are to interpret this guideline in today’s society, then we should understand idols as ‘anything that is put in the place of God in our lives’; literally put, anything that becomes number one in our lives, other than God Himself.

If God is not number one in your life, then what is? Church, family, a football idol, children, money, a spouse or even food? It is not wrong to wholeheartedly love something or someone. Yet when it starts to take the place of God in our lives, our priorities for living holy and righteous lives become secondary to satisfying who or what is number one in our lives. If we keep God as our priority, as our number one, He gives us His love to be able to wholeheartedly love our children, families, and spouses. If God is number one, then our lives are lived for Him, which means we carry His presence with us in our schools, homes, and work places. It is then that God is made known to the nations through us, all because He is number one in our lives. Our characters become ‘God-like’ because we are giving and spending more time with Him.