Deuteronomy 5:11 – What an Uncontrollable Cough Taught Me About Holiness…

Posted: December 24, 2016 in 05-Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 5:11

Do Not Misuse the Name of The Lord

We got back home safely from our weeklong vacation in Orlando safe and sound yesterday so my daily blog will resume now. It was my plan while I was out of town to continue to write my blog daily but things just didn’t work out that way. I have been battling with a sinus infection for about two weeks now and I guess my throat is has gotten so irritated that it must be like hamburger meat down there. While we were in our hotel suite in Orlando, I started waking up in the middle of the night with these “coughing fits” that would wake me up in the middle of the night and then I would be up for an hour trying to stop coughing and then another hour or so trying to settle down and get back to sleep. So, it was a round of coughing, a round of settling down, a round of a hour or two of sleep and then repeat. I would end up sleeping until 9:30 or 10:00 each morning just to get enough rest to not be a zombie while we were out exploring each day. As a result, I never really had time to sit down a write my daily blog. It was disappointing to me because these blogs are more for me than anyone reading them. As Paul in Philippians 2:12-13 tells us that we should continually work to bringing our salvation to its completion where we have willingly and in honor of our God gone through the hard process of sanctification. These blogs help me grow deeper in my relationship with God. So, because of circumstances this week because of my sinus infection while on vacation, I have missed a week of growing in Christ. I am glad to be back to my regular routine today.


Speaking of those coughing fits that I have been having in the middle of the night this past week, it seems appropriate this morning that we would be arriving at Deuteronomy 5:11. During the middle of the night during these bouts of uncontrollable coughing, I have to admit I may have misused the name of the Lord. I may have not spoken it out loud as I would move to the couch in the other room and shut the door so as not to wake my wife in the bedroom of our suite, but, I was speaking it inside my head. Oh God, please make it stop. I may have used the curse word beginning with God (in the South, it’s all one continuous word not three separate words of God ____ it!). You know that feeling when you get so completely frustrated with yourself, other people, or circumstances that you let it fly. It would have been different if these coughs had been productive. You know, producing phlegm, where you could say, at least I am expelling this sinus drainage yuck out of my chest. However, these coughing fits are nothing but my body’s reaction to a dry and irritated bronchial tube. There seemed like there was something torn or something in my bronchial tube that my body was mistaking for something that needed to be expelled. In reaction, these uncontrollable coughing bouts would come up during the night as I was sleeping. Knowing that I needed rest for whatever we were going to do the next day, I was exasperated. All I was wanting was a glorious night of continuous uninterrupted sleep. You know that feeling. You’re tired from a day of walking here and there, doing this, riding that, standing in line, standing in line, sweating from the Florida heat wave in December, you know, ya just want to crash and sleep until the sun peaks through the curtains in your hotel bedroom. But noooooo! You wake up every night coughing your head off uncontrollably sometimes to the point that you could not catch your breath (and yes I am going back to the doctor on Monday). We get stretched beyond our limit and sometimes we misuse the name of the Lord or we start negotiating with the Lord which always begins with an “Oh God!….fill in the blank here….!!!


Have you ever been in a situation where you misused the name of the Lord or you negotiating with the Lord as if we have negotiating power with Him. Many of us may remember those days were over-imbibing in the alcoholic spirits may have caused us to negotiate with God. You know those nights of your youth where you were making offerings to the porcelain god in someone’s bathroom and you begged God to make it stop. Many of you may have been there and done that and probably had to throw the t-shirt! Oh God! Oh God! Oh God! Make it stop! Make the room stop spinning! I promise I will never do this again! You know the drill. I have been there before myself in my younger days. I was even there this week as I was overcome by these bouts of coughing that seemingly would not end. Oh God! Oh God! Please make it stop.


It was this idea of how we violate one of God’s basic commandments sometimes on a daily basis that came to mind this morning as I read through our short passage/verse today, Deuteronomy 5:11 which reads as follows:


11 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.


The name of the Lord is holy, as He is holy. The name of the Lord is a representation of His glory, His majesty, and His supreme deity. We are to esteem and honor His name as we revere and glorify God Himself. To do any less is to take His name in vain.


So, then is using the name of the Lord involving a curse word or negotiating with God and exclaiming His name as you do it….a sin? We tend to dismiss the significance of this commandment. We speak it but I do not think that we truly understand its gravity. We think that there are more serious commandments than this one. Adultery. Idolatry. Taking the Lord’s name in vain seems to not be quite as serious as these infractions. However, it goes to the condition of the heart. What comes out of our mouths reflects our hearts, our souls. Our words reveal the truth of who we are. We are to love our God so wholeheartedly that we do not equate ourselves with Him. We know our place in relationship to Him. When it comes that name, it should make us pause. It should not be a name that we flippantly use as part of general conversation. Back in the 1970’s, there was a commercial for the investment firm of EF Hutton (that no longer exists – eventually getting swallowed up into what is now Smith-Barney) whose jingle was “when EF Hutton speaks…people listen!” That is the thing that we should remember with God’s name is that when we speak His name it should be a moment of reverence and awe. It should be a moment where everybody stops and listens. We should hold His name in such high esteem that the mere use of His name brings us a moment of pause.


We often proclaim by God that we are doing His will. We often proclaim that God told me this or that God told me that. When we invoke the name of God as being the guiding reason that we are doing something, it better be consistent with Scripture whatever we do. Otherwise, we are taking the name of the Lord in vain. His name is holy because He is holy. We should honor Him when we invoke His name. Anything less is a sin that requires forgiveness through Jesus Christ and a repentant heart on our part.


This commandment is violated by anyone of us who does not place God in the highest esteem in their lives in words, and in deeds. This commandment points us to the fact that each one of us will most likely violate this command many times in our lives. When we make God equal to us. We violate this command. When we make God commonplace, we violate it. When we make God our buddy to the point that using His name loses its value, we violate this command. We all stand convicted by this one command. This one command violation no matter how few times you have done it or how many times condemns us to hell. Plain and simple. No matter how good you were at avoiding other sins such as adultery and idolatry, etc., this one violation condemns you and me. We are sentenced by this command on honoring God’s holy name as evidence of His place in our life. Done. We are gone. We are sentenced.


This one command and our inability to keep this one, just this one, points our desperate need for Jesus. It points to the necessity of Jesus. We gotta have Him. Without Him, we are sunk by our own inability to keep the commands of God. We need to realize the gravity of what we are up against without Jesus. Without Him, we are condemned even by one violation. We are at His mercy. We need Him. He makes us holy in the sight of God. He restores us to the Father. Through Jesus’ holiness, the Holy Spirit can dwell in us and begin the process of sanctifying us and making us more and more like Christ until we become perfect when we join Jesus in heaven.


Oh God! Oh God! Teach me to understand how holy you are an how your name should only be used in great reverence and awe that reflects how I perceive you in my heart. You are not my equal. You are far greater and immense and holy and amazing. I am small in comparison to you. Even your name is far greater and far more holy than I am. It is reminds me of your holiness and my sinfulness and how I desperately need to covered by the holiness of Jesus Christ, your Son! Oh God! Oh God! Forgive me for the ways that I flippantly invoke your holy name and help me to repent and turn away from such dishonor to you!


Amen and Amen.

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