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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Visit to Vanity Fair*

* = R.D.S.A. One of the 10 Words (Commandments as you might know them) given by God on Mt. Sinai is, "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain." YHWH's name was so sacred that it was never to be spoken or written, lest it be done in vain. Instead, other names like Adonai and El-Shaddai were used. In the Near-Ancient Eastern times, pottery and tools that belonged to an individual had their initials embossed or engraved in the handle of the piece so that when you saw it or handled it, you knew immediately who it belonged to. When a slave was to extend his hand to someone else, on his wrist or hand was engraved the initials of the one to whom he belonged. It was the custom of that day that whenever something belonged to someone who was the owner, the owner's initials were immediately seen when the other person saw it. We often think of taking the name of the Lord in vain by speaking curse words like "g.d." among others; while it is true that this is taking the name of the Lord in vain, there is much more to this word from God. In Hebrew, there are several stems that are used for verbs. The most common stem is the QAL stem (used 70% of the time). The word QAL comes from the Hebrew word transliterated Qalal which means "to be light". When it is in the PIEL stem, it means "to make contemptible", and in the HIPHIL stem it means "to curse". On the other hand, the Hebrew word Kaved in the QAL means "to be heavy or important"; in the PIEL means "to honor, make heavy", and in the HIPHIL means "to get renown, make honored." These two words are polar opposites. To take lightly means to curse, and to make heavy is to honor and glorify (Kaved is where we get the word glorify in the Old Testament). When those who belong to God in covenant, have been purchased by Him to be His own, a people for His own possession, who have His marking of ownership upon them for the world to see, treat God lightly, esteem His name minimally, and live their lives in contradiction, they are precisely taken the LORD's name in vain and in effect cursing him. When the world sees the believer, they should no immediately who owns him/her; they should, by their lives, see the "heaviness" of God in the way we 'live and move and have our being.' To take God's name in vain is to show contempt towards God Himself, for in His name is the entirety of who He is, and our estimation of Him will be evidenced in the way we represent Him in our world. So let's take a visit to vanity fair. Let's not look at those who are saying "g.d." for they are not owned by God; they are not his sheep. But let's look at those who, when their hands are extended, show whom they belong to. Are we taking God's name lightly? Have we shown contempt towards Him? Have we in effect been cursing God with our own lives? In this fair there is a higher divorce rate among believers as unbelievers, a valuing of this world and its fleeting pleasures than the world to come and "pleasures forevermore" from the right hand of God. There is more concern for our names' sake (or our church's) than for the name of God, and we treat those who are not like us, though created in the image of God, with contempt. We measure righteousness with busyness, devotion with performance, and fruit with efficiency (as though fruit can be worked). God's ownership is nowhere to been seen except in what we plaster on bumper stickers and billboards, and that we use as a advertisement as a substitute for our own lives. My concern is outrightly for the name of YHWH. We have taken Him far too lightly, and the evidence is seen in that there are no distinctives between the believer and the unbeliever. We are to be HIS and HIS alone, for He bought us "with a price"; therefore, our lives should be "heavy" and glorify, honor, esteem, value, treasure, cherish, and appraise God for all that He is to us. I tremble to think that I may be living a curse against my King! Do you? How are we representing Him, His character, His heart, His passion? Or do we even know who God really is?! Maybe we have been so wrapped up in working for God, we don't know the God to whom we belong. Do not take the LORD your God's name in vain. Wear it honorably. Live it gloriously. Represent Him faithfully. To take it in vain is to take it emptily, lightly, contemptibly. And to do this would be to curse God. May the world around us not see "light-hearted" Christians preaching a "gospel-lite" message all in the day-to-day life of one's behavior is another contemptible visitation to vanity fair. This word is a word to those who are in covenant, to those whom God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the LORD. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me." Says the LORD Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 Lord, may we live "heavy" lives and represent you well. Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name give glory . . ." (Psalm 115:1).

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