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Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s Name’

Today’s Old Testament reading in the Daily Lectionary is Judges 6: 1-14. The narration of Gideon is Judges 6-8, three chapters.  He obviously towers as a judge and warrior. Gideon was a hero, but as he towered he first cowered.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, the angel declared the Lord’s blessing:  “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” (6: 12).  This “mighty man of valor” immediately responded, if the Lord is with us, where has He been of late? Where are all His wonderful deeds?   Here Gideon sounds like 21st century man filled with doubt and cynicism, not exactly the major motion picture portrayal of a “mighty man of valor”! After all, the Midianites had conquered and controlled Israel for seven years and oppressed Israel. What could Gideon do?   “And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (vs. 14).   Just as with Abraham at the Oaks of Mamre, the angel is the LORD.  His comment, “go in this might of yours” may be sarcasm.  Gideon makes abundantly clear in the next verses he has no “might”.  He tells the LORD his tribe is the weakest of the 12 tribes of Israel and of his tribe and his family, “…I am the least in my father’s house” (vs. 15).   Gideon asked, “How can I save Israel?” (vs. 15).  The Lord responds, “ “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (vs. 16)  The LORD reiterates the blessing:  I am with you. 

I am with you:  Those 4 English words sum up the Gospel promises, as our Lord’s final words before His ascension, “Lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the ages of ages” (Matthew 28)  In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus, literally, “God saves” is  Emmanuel, God with us.  When the LORD said to Gideon “I am with you”, Jesus Christ was with Gideon.  The LORD has quite a track record of choosing the least, the last and the lost to bring His Word into this world:  David, a shepherd boy, of the least of the cities of Judah, Bethlehem;  Abraham, a pagan idolater;  Moses, a stammering murderer;  Peter, a fisherman;  Paul, a persecutor of the Church…there are more. You. Me. Gideon asked, How can I save Israel?  Gideon had that right:  he could not save Israel, only God can, but men and women of faith in the LORD are part of His salvation as He saved them first, as He did Gideon: I am with you.

Then Gideon asked for a sign (vs. 17) and he asked the LORD to stay put till he brought Him a gift (vs. 18).  The LORD said, “I will stay till your return”. The LORD is steadfast.

In vss. 19-24, Gideon gives his gift and the LORD consumes it in fire. What can we give to the Lord who has given us all things?  The LORD gave His sign and Gideon dries out, “Alas, O LORD God”  And the LORD said to him,“Peace be with you.  Do not fear; you shall not die.”  The LORD is our peace and here for the third time the LORD gives the promise:  I am with you.  Gideon builds at altar at the spot and calls it “The LORD is peace”.  The LORD gives His peace, not as world gives, He gives Himself (John 14:27).  Now Gideon will wage war and destroy altars of demons.  Not peaceful, you say?  But the horror is idolatry and immorality which are not peace at all. The world calls good evil and evil good.  This vain world thinks if we are peaceful, while committing idolatry and immorality, we have peace, but we do not.   And the sword of God’s Word will cut it out, as did Ehud with Eglon, the war of our flesh, the world and the devil.  As Gideon, as Ehud, as Deborah, we are up against overwhelming odds.  Again,before  Gideon towered, he cowered and it was only in the power of the LORD, could Gideon triumph, but it was finally not the triumph of Gideon!  I too would have said just what Gideon said and I have!  We are called not to save the world, but to serve the Savior and hold on to His promise: I am with you, as He held  up Gideon.

 

 

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Molly Ziegler-Hemmingway is a member of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod who writes a regular column for Christianity Today, the Wall Street Journal, etc.  This is from   Christianity Today   and was posted at Cyberbrethren, one of the oldest Lutheran blogs. 

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Before my friend’s dad became a Lutheran pastor, he was a rough and tumble seaman who, well, swore like a sailor. He was even reprimanded once by a Navy superior for using excessive foul language. So when The Pacific, HBO’s new series about Marines in World War II, came out, he made sure to catch it.

But he could not watch it. The language—particularly the taking of the Lord’s name in vain—was just too much. When a sailor says you’ve crossed the line, you’ve crossed the line.

The series was on HBO, a venue that loves going to extremes. But taking the Lord’s name in vain has become something of a pastime in popular culture.

Jonathan Chait, a senior editor at the liberal political magazine The New Republic, wrote a blog post during the health-care debate that shocked me. “J—- C—–,” the headline began, followed by the statement that some arcane legislative process was “Not That Difficult!”

When Tiger Woods returned to golf following his sex scandal, he retained his habit of cussing a blue streak whenever he made a bad shot. “G–! Tiger! J—- C—–!” he said after a lousy drive. The announcers didn’t even flinch. Critics scolded Brit Hume for suggesting that Woods needed Christ’s forgiveness, but almost no one cared when Woods swore in Christ’s name.

Vice President Joe Biden got a lot of grief for dropping the f-bomb before President Obama signed health-care legislation into law. But how many people noticed that he used “Jesus Christ” to curse in a Wall Street Journal interview last year?

It used to be considered unacceptable to speak this way. Now it’s beyond common.

Exodus 20:7 tells us, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain” (ESV).

For many of us, this commandment means, “Don’t cuss.” It does—but it means so much more than that.

Unlike the mythic gods of the ancient world, Yahweh is not revealed only by things in nature but is primarily known by his name and the deeds associated with that name. In the prologue to the Ten Commandments, Yahweh identifies himself and says he brought the Hebrews out of bondage. God’s name is mentioned 5,343 times in 23,213 verses of the Hebrew text of the Bible.

“It is the revelation of his name that makes the Hebrews into his people, and it is by his name that he is to be remembered among his people forever. The name, then, is the only thing that Yahweh’s people have by which to know and to worship him,” writes David L. Adams in The Anonymous God.

The first tablet of the Law includes the commandments connected with God’s self-revelation, which have specific threats of punishment and are expanded with explanations. That probably indicates that God cares deeply about his name and how we use it. Surely something so important to God ought to be important to us, even if it’s completely counter to the spirit of our culture.

Unlike other commandments dealing with adultery and murder, the third commandment’s prohibitions can be harder to recognize as sin. We think it doesn’t matter as much because, after all, it’s “only words.”

The second commandment doesn’t just mean we should avoid cursing or swearing in God’s name. It’s possible to violate it even if we never utter a curse word.

Martin Luther said that “the greatest abuse” of this commandment occurs “when false preachers rise up and offer their lying vanities as God’s Word.”

In other words, false doctrine taught by those who claim to speak for God is worse than the crudest and most profane comedy special ever to air. When pastors go beyond Scripture to promote the gospel of prosperity or to tell parishioners not to worry about sexual immorality, they are not just wrong—they have also blasphemed God’s holy name.

As with all commandments, we keep them not just by avoiding certain behaviors but also by doing good works. So we are reminded to pray, praise, and verbally give thanks to God for his goodness and to call out to him in times of trouble. We must work to ensure proper teaching and employ God’s name in defense of truth and goodness.

Or, as the psalmist says, “… call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (50:15, ESV).

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This was not in the article but it is the basis of the article and it is always good to remember:

You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.

What is this?  What does this mean?

Dr. Luther, from The Small Catechism:  We should fear and love god so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie or deceive by His Name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks

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