“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.” (Exodus 20:7, ESV)
Last week we began looking at another way of looking at the above commandment. We saw that the high priest had affixed at the forehead of his turban, “Holy to the LORD,” engraved in pure gold. He also had on his garments stones in which the names of each of the tribes of Israel.
“There shall be twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They shall be like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes…. So Aaron shall bear the names of the sons of Israel in the breastpiece of judgment on his heart, when he goes into the Holy Place, to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD.” (Exodus 28:21,29, ESV)
So Aaron was responsible to “bear the Name of the LORD” before the peoples of the nation of Israel.
We further saw that God had appointed the nation of Israel to “bear the Name of the LORD” to the nations (Exodus 19:5-6), having been specially chosen to be a kingdom of priests.
Alright. That is all well and good, but what does that have to do with me?!?
Good question! As it turned out, Israel didn’t do a very good job of bearing the Name. Among other things, they hardened their hearts and turned aside to worship idols. They wanted to be more like other nations and rejected the rule of the LORD. Corruption even found its way into the priesthood (for one example, read 1 Samuel 2). And thus the appointed Name-bearers disavowed God through their actions and abandoned their responsibility to the nations.
Through Israel’s unfaithfulness, and the enduring faithfulness of God to His covenant and the glory of His own Name, we Gentiles were grafted in to the covenant (Romans 11:11-17) through the sacrificial, atoning blood of Jesus. The branches of the cultivated olive tree (Israel) were broken off for their defiance of God and for abandoning their responsibility to bear the Name well as a witness before the nations. And because of these things the responsibility of bearing the Name of the LORD is ours now as well.
Having explained why we Gentiles were grafted in, Paul stresses the responsibility that we have inherited. Romans 11:18-24 explains that we stand by faith, and faithfulness to God. And in Revelation, we see clearly that even as Israel was appointed as a kingdom of priests to bear the Name well before the nations, we too have been appointed to that task. “… And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6, ESV, italics mine).
May we so live our lives as bearing God’s Name, carrying it like a banner before the world, declaring His holiness through our lives and our words!
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!