“In Jesus’ name”
Devotional by David Niednagel, Pastor/Teacher, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning devotional time. (study, observe, apply, pray).
Deuteronomy 5:11 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. NLT
Why this command? Because there is a tendency in all religions to say the right things, even if people don’t understand or believe them. We learn religion from watching and hearing people around us. We often laugh at children who say things before they understand them. In Matt 6 Jesus warned against practicing religion in order to gain approval from others. But we all do that – at least at first! We don’t want to be ridiculed for saying or doing something foolish in church. So it is easy to pray or worship using the name Yahweh, without knowing Him or remembering what He is like. Moses started this section by reminding them of who Yahweh was and what He had done for Israel – delivering them from Egypt without a fight. He is the Sovereign One. He is powerful and righteous. He is glorious. And the word “glory” means heavy – substance, someone to be taken seriously.
To misuse His name is literally “to lift it up to emptiness” – to forget the glory and substance of God. We know it is wrong to “use His name in vain” in swearing an oath or vow, yet not keeping it. We use His name “lightly” instead of with the “weight” and seriousness of Who He is. It could mean calling on Him in times of calamity or crisis without revering Him or planning to submit to Him – perhaps like “fox hole religion” in battle. It is using God for our purposes, making our will heavier than His.
Throughout history people have used religion for their personal advancement. Church leaders have worn expensive clothes, accumulated gold and wealth, and built great buildings – normally “in the name of God” but the focus shifts from God to their own glory and power.
Lord God, help me remember that You are our Creator and Savior, that in everything You should have supremacy. (Col 1:19) Help me live to exalt Your name instead of asking You to exalt my name. When I pray “in Jesus’ name” help me consciously ask for those things that will truly “hallow” Your name, asking for Your will to be done on earth like it is in heaven, and ask with the kind of faith that honors You. Amen!