Posts tagged ‘Vanity’

Bearing God’s Name

The Second Commandment is not just a prohibition, but an offer. God says to Moses:

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name. (Exodus 20:7)

Famously, the ancient Jews became so concerned with misusing God’s name that they would not even speak it. Instead of calling God “Yahweh,” the name God gave to Moses to share with Israel when He appeared to him in a burning bush (Exodus 3:13-15), they instead referred to God using a title of respect – “Lord.”

Though this instinct not to misuse the name of God is commendable, it does beg a question: Though we should not misuse God’s name, does this mean that there is no good use of God’s name? It is this question that brings to the forefront God’s offer in this commandment. Because there are most certainly many good uses of God’s name.

We can use God’s name to bless. (Numbers 6:24-26)

We can use God’s name to call to repentance. (Acts 2:38)

We can use God’s name to call to faith. (Acts 10:43)

We can use God’s name to baptize. (Matthew 28:19-20)

We can use God’s name to offer salvation. (Romans 10:13)

God’s name – even though it can be misused – is still quite useful.

In Hebrew, there are two words behind our one English word “misuse” in this commandment. There is the word sawe, which means “vanity” or “emptiness.” There is also the word nasa, which means to “take up” or “to bear.” This is why many Bible translations will render this verse: “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.” We certainly want to avoid sawe. But we also want to embrace nasa. We want to bear the name of God in our lives and through our lives. As one of Jesus’ followers, Peter, reminds us: “Praise God that you bear that name” (1 Peter 4:16).

To whom is God calling you to bear His name this week? It’s a name worth sharing because it’s a name that our world needs to hear.

July 11, 2022 at 5:15 am 1 comment

ABC Extra – You’re So Vain, I Bet You Think This Blog Is About You

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is fairest of all?” asks the wicked queen to her magic mirror in the fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.  For years, the answer always came back the same:  “You, my queen, are fairest of all.”  But when a young maiden named Snow White comes of age, the mirror’s rejoinder changes:  “Queen, you are fair, tis true, but Snow White is fairer than you.”   After hearing the mirror’s reply to what was supposed to be a foregone answer to a rhetorical question, the wicked queen spends the balance of the story trying to kill Snow White so that, once again, she can be the fairest in the land.  First, she tries to suffocate Snow White with stay laces.  Next, she tries to kill her with a poison comb.  Finally, the queen offers her the dreaded and infamous poison apple, which lulls her into a deep sleep until, of course, she is wakened by her charming prince.

Being a fairy tale, this story is splashed with an unambiguous principled paint that could perhaps be better nuanced.  Nevertheless, its fundamental moral should still be well taken, for its basic point is this:  The queen’s vanity destroys the queen’s life.  And real life vanity can do to the same to us.  It can sneak and creep into our lives, take root in our hearts, and suffocate our souls.

This past weekend in worship and ABC, we kicked off a new series titled “Fit for Life II,” meant to be a second round of messages and Bible studies on health and wellness to follow up the series of the same name that we did last spring.  As an introduction to this series, I offered what I call “A Theology of the Body.”  People, when talking about and thinking about their bodies, tend to make one of two errors.  They assume either that the body is bad and only a cumbersome drag on a pure soul, or they make the body their “god” and spend exorbitant amounts of money, time, and energy either by feeding its sometimes sinful desires in gluttony or pruning and primping it in vanity.

In truth, the body is neither “bad,” nor is it “god.”  Rather, it is “good.”  It is a good gift of the true God, meant to be faithfully stewarded by us.  This is why we take care of our bodies through diet and exercise – not so that we can drop three dress sizes, or boast six-pack abs, or look ten years younger.  Instead, we take care of our bodies to the glory of God because they are the temples of God, as Paul says:  “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Do you ever treat your body as if it’s bad?  Do you spend endless hours complaining about your aches and pains, your wrinkles and your warts, rather than giving thanks to God for the body with which He has blessed you?  Do you ever treat your body as if it’s god?  Do you linger in front of your mirror, even if it’s not a magic one, just a little too long, obsessed with how others will see you rather than being satisfied with how the true God has made you?  This time of year, many people are still trying to follow through on their resolutions to “lose some weight” or “get in shape.”  Rather than just losing a few inches off your waste line or enlarging a couple of biceps, may you resolve to steward your body to God’s glory in what you eat, in how you exercise, and in everything you say and do.  For this is where true fitness lies.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

January 17, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


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