Last week, we examined the third commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). We considered the importance of the negative expression of this command and the danger of carrying the name of Jehovah in a profane or meaningless way.
This week, we will turn to the positive application of this commandment. The Old Testament prophets rightly used the name of the Lord. For example, Elijah the prophet introduced himself to King Ahab with these words, “As the LORD God of Israel liveth” (I Kings 17:1). Speaking the name of the Lord in this manner was certainly not taking it in vain. In fact, the Hebrew form clearly indicates that Elijah was actually swearing “by the life of Jehovah.” Prophets such as Elisha and Micaiah used similar language to swear (make affirmation) by the name of the Lord that they were speaking the truth.
The prophet Jeremiah foretells of the day when God’s people will use the name of the Lord properly. “And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory” (Jeremiah 4:2).
The prophet Isaiah especially has much to say about the proper use of the name of Jehovah. In this article, we are going to look at ten ways from the Book of Isaiah that God’s people can properly use the name of the Lord in daily life.
1. Call Upon His Name
“And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people . . .” (Isaiah 12:4).
Application: Do we call upon the Lord Jesus Christ first in our troubles rather than seeking earthly help?
2. Exalt His Name
“Make mention that his name is exalted” (Isaiah 12:4).
Application: Do we deflect compliments by giving God the Most High credit for all our successes?
3. Praise His Name
“O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth” (Isaiah 25:1).
Application: Do we proclaim God’s praises regularly with those around us?
4. Desire His Name
“Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee” (Isaiah 26:8).
Application: Do we seek out and use the many names of God that are revealed to us in the Bible?
5. Make Mention of His Name
“O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name” (Isaiah 26:13).
Application: Do we acknowledge the hand of God Almighty when discussing history or current events?
6. Sanctify His Name
“But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel” (Isaiah 29:23).
Application: Do we maintain the reputation of our Holy God by living a sanctified life?
7. Trust in His Name
“Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God” (Isaiah 50:10).
Application: Do we rest in the provision of our Everlasting God, or do we fret about the future?
8. Know His Name
“Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I” (Isaiah 52:6).
Application: Do we urge others to know God the Father personally through His Son, Jesus Christ?
9. Love His Name
“Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant” (Isaiah 56:6).
Application: Do we encourage others to love the name of the Lord and serve Him?
10. Fear His Name
“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).
Application: Do we teach others God’s glorious attributes so that they may worship Him?
On Thursday, we will look at the life of a faithful minister of the Gospel who lived 500 years ago. Throughout his life and ministry, this man consistently lived to exalt the name of the Lord. May the Holy Spirit remind us to speak carefully and to use God’s name to His glory.