[CF Devotionals] 2010-02-21 - The Use of God's Names

The Ten Commandments, Part 15

The Third Commandment, Continued

Because God's name is who He is, and therefore knowing God's name is knowing Him, let's take a look at a few more references that talk about the name of God. The Psalmist says of those that take the name of the Lord in vain "They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name" (Psalm 139:20).

It's the enemies of God who abuse His name, so therefore, how can we abuse it? If we move on slightly in the Torah we can see the penalty for blasphemy.

"Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother's name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody, until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.
"Then the Lord said to Moses: Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: 'If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 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 24:10-16).

We read in Psalm 8:1 "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens " and again in 9:10: "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Remember the section back in Chapter 3, where we looked at some of the names of God? No? Well let's look at it again.

He is called Elohim, the Everlasting, when his antecedent eternity and absolute independence are contemplated. He is termed Yahweh, the Self-existent, the Author of all existing things, when he is regarded as the free and personal God, manifesting his being to the intelligent universe by the works of his creative power. He is named El Elion, the Most High God, when his unattainable preeminence above all created things comes into view. He is designated El Shaddai, the Almighty God, when he wishes to set before the mind his unconquerable omnipotence." 2

It is difficult to clearly understand what God means in the Chapter 4 passage when He calls Himself "I AM THAT I AM", but the best understanding seems to relate to the eternal, self-existing, unchanging nature of God. It is God in this aspect that is to be the source of encouragement and comfort to the Hebrew people. It is this God who is sending Moses to them, and they are to accept Moses as His representative. It is easy to see that the names of God show us who He is ,and in what capacity we are seeing Him.

"Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord ." (Psalm 135:1).

  1. Murphy, James G., Commentary on the Book of Exodus, Klock & Klock Christian Publishers, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, 1979, p. 40-41.

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