A handy way to extend your authority beyond yourself is to invoke the name of God. God told me. I command you in the name of Jesus! I’m sure God understands. Just let a chap hit the wrong nail with a hammer, stump his toe or get into a heated shouting match. How quickly the tongue gets loose on both ends and the name of God flies out like bullets. Most big movie stars are really good at it and little children pick it up like candy. It’s quickly integrated into their language. Somehow a mouth full of GD’s and JC’s make them feel big, mean, impressive and tough.
It was God Himself who said, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,” Exodus 20:7. No cussing! There was a day when a sizeable amount of soap was used in cleansing foul-mouthed boys. God-fearing people know cussing is wrong.
It is sad to observe that many of those “God-fearing people” are good (really good) at using God’s name in vain in other ways. It happens in bull sessions. They stand around a water fountain and out comes the opinions about God, church and what’s right and wrong. Seems that everyone is his own authority on God and what God thinks. On virtually everything!
Churches are notorious for it. In the name of God the Baptists are teaching things that contradict the Church of Christ, the Lutherans are on another page and the Pentecostals are somewhere else. The Methodists and Catholics are far apart and the Presbyterians are sure they are all wrong. They’re as far as the east is from the west, but ironically they are all invoking the name of God to support their positions.
Preachers have refined the name of God in support of whatever they want to a fine art. God is leading me in this direction. I’ve prayed about this and it’s the will of God. Building programs, new worship styles, new twists on ancient biblical doctrines, new ideas on standards! They’re quick to point out: I’m God’s man. It’s as if I have a direct line to God; nobody else knows what God wants. Yes! God is the BIG GUN. His name is invoked so I can get my way and prevail over all others. Even when their way destroys a church they hide behind a fig leaf and say, “God is in control; this was His will.” What a cop-out! Blame it on God; take no personal responsibility. A lot of dirt has been swept under the carpet in the name of God.
What is Islamic Jihad? It is holy war in the name of God: planes into the World Trade Center, suicide bombers, the wholesale slaughter of innocent women and children, hatred, terrorism! All in the name of God! Across the board of society the name of God is to justify everything. Talk about misuse and abuse! It’s not surprising that multitudes hate religion.
Taking the name of God in vain is far, far more than nasty cuss words. It’s also invoking the name of God to support things and positions that are not at all of Him. In fact, He has gone on record in His Word that He is in opposition of much of what is done in His name. Invoking the name of God in support of anything He does not support is taking His name in vain.
It seems that nearly everybody has an opinion about God and what He thinks. Never confuse opinions with His stated positions. They are expressed quite clearly in His Word which is the Bible, and the Bible is provable. It will stand inspection. The way it came into existence, its 100% prophetic track record and its perfect harmony all prove it to be the work of God, not man. Give the Bible a chance. See for yourself. To know God’s position go to His Word, to the place where He said who He is and what He thinks on the issues.
Whether in a pulpit or at a pool table think twice before you invoke the support and backing of God for what you say and do. God has a position on everything: sex, homosexuality, same-sex marriages, abortions, child rearing and discipline, money management, morality, church life, who He is and how to go to heaven. Before you proceed to say what He thinks on any subject, be sure you express His position and not your own opinion. He doesn’t like being misrepresented. Thou shalt not!
Before you put yourself in the position of spokesman for God, be sure you get it right. And, do not be intimidated or influenced by anyone who comes to you in the name of the God, but whose message does not match the Bible.