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The Third Commandment - Part 2

Exodus 20:7
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”

In Genesis 32:24-32, Jacob encountered God and they “contended” with one another. The word used there means to “wrestle.” During that encounter, God gave Jacob a new name, Israel.

In verse 29, Jacob then did the unthinkable. He asked God for His name. God refused his request replying, “Why is it that you ask My name?” There are only two other places in the Old Testament when someone dared to ask that of God. They both shed light on the incredibly unique and holy nature of the name of God.

In Judges 13, the parents of Samson, were visited by the Angel of the Lord; an appearance of God or the pre-incarnate Jesus. After God spoke to them, they wanted to honor Him so they asked for His name. His reply was:

Judges 13:18
“Why do you ask my name, seeing it is Wonderful?”

Again, God asks the same question. Does He reveal His name to them? I think not. Even though Isaiah 9:6 mentions a similar name for God, His answer was not intended to tell them His actual name but, rather, to explain the nature of it. God is telling us ABOUT His name. The Hebrew word actually means incomprehensible. God’s name, in other words, is unspeakable and unknowable.

What is taking place is that the human mind can not take in the glory that is expressed in God’s name! The very idea of knowing, or even hearing, the holy name of God was untenable to both Jacob and Manoah. God was protecting them by not speaking His name to them.

Tomorrow, we’ll take a mind-bending look at the third time God was asked for His name. We’ll look at Moses, standing in his bare feet in front of a burning bush, asking God for His name.

Matthew 6:9
“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.’”

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