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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7/7/11 Leviticus 19:11-12

Devotional on the Ten Commandments
Third Command: "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God."

11 “‘Do not steal.  “‘Do not lie. “‘Do not deceive one another.
12 “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the LORD.
(Lev. 19:11,12)

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. (Matthew 5:33-34)

(President of the United States, Barak Obama solemnly swearing on the Bible to uphold the office of the president..."So help me God.")

Thoughts: Historically, the third commandment has been interpreted as making a promise or pledge in the name of God and keeping it- and not breaking it.  This includes making a promise with no intention of keeping it; or making a promise or oath in God's name and not keeping it because it was uncomfortable or inconvenient.  In America, this tradition shows itself in placing a hand on the Bible and swearing in court to "Tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the help me God." Bringing God's name into an oath is not to be done lightly, and adds God into the covenant as the blesser, enforcer and witness to the agreement.  There are three specifically religious pledges we make: 1) Marriage, 2) Baptism, 3) Communion (sacrament comes from the Latin Sacramentum which was an oath a soldier gave his general or emperor).  The idea of a sacred promise is here uplifted. In Matthew, Jesus degrades those in his day who would only keep a promise made in God's name.  God is really a part of any transaction (Barclay).  God's name is honored when we keep the promises made before Him and in His name. 

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to be a person of integrity and authenticity who keeps my promises as you keep the promises made to me in your holy Word. 

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