You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain… (Exodus 20:7)
When I was a kid, I assumed that taking the Lord’s name in vain was a commandment people tended to disobey when stubbing their toe on the coffee table. Today, I still believe it’s not a good idea to thoughtlessly invoke the divine name under such circumstances, no matter how badly your pinky toe smarts. But I’ve come to understand that taking the Lord’s name in vain is much weightier than that. It’s actually a matter of true worship versus false worship.
You see, when God laid out the Ten Commandments for the people of Israel, He had two primary purposes in mind: our relationship with Him, and our relationships with others. The first four commandments were laws that guided and guarded Israel’s worship of God, while the remaining six addressed how the Israelites were to treat one another.
With that in mind, true worship is defined, beginning with the reality that there is only one God. Therefore, attempting to relate to Him in the form of man-made idols is forbidden. What’s more, God has a name—a name that is to be spoken with wholehearted love and reverence. To speak His name for anything less is an affront to His holiness and glory.
So you can see what’s at stake here. If, when we gather on Sundays, we invoke God’s name with our lips while not worshiping Him with our hearts and lives, we are disregarding the law which is dearest to His heart—the law He gave to guard us from false worship.
In Mark 7:6-7, Jesus quotes the book of Isaiah to confront this kind of false worship: “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me” (cf. Isa. 29:13). Of course, Jesus’ words are not meant to be a source of condemnation for His people (see Rom. 8:1). Rather He is using Isaiah’s prophecy to expose our phony worship in order that He might deliver us from it. He wants to set us free to live a life of true worship.
Is that the kind of life you’re living? Is what you sing about God with your lips on Sunday morning the defining reality of your life Monday through Saturday? Or is your heart far from Him?
As you look toward Sunday, would you take this moment to pray that God would show you what it means to worship Him with your entire life? As we pray that in faith, the false worship lingering in the dark corners of our lives will be exposed for what it is, and true worship will be more fully formed in us. When that happens, we will become the kind of worshipers that God is seeking—ones who call upon the name of Jesus with sincere love, reverence, and affection.
Set List for Sunday, March 11, 2018:
Holy, Holy, Holy (Savior And King) (W. Beach, J. B. Dykes, R. Heber)
This Is Amazing Grace (J. Farro, J. Riddle, P. Wickham)
What A Beautiful Name (B. Fielding, B. Ligertwood)
This I Believe (The Creed) (M. Crocker, B. Fielding)
Grace Alone (D. Kensrue)
Doxology (T. Ken)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.