"In the name of…" H.C. Question 102

May we also swear by saints or other creatures? 

Romans 9:1 – I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—

2 Corinthians 1:23 – I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.

Matthew 5:34-37 – But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Matthew 23:16-22 – “Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.

James 5:12 – Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.



Oaths: H.C. Question 101

But may we swear an oath in God’s name if we do it reverently? 

Deuteronomy 6:13 – Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.

Deuteronomy 10:20 – Fear the Lord your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name.

Jeremiah 4:1-2 – “If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,” declares the Lord.  “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.”

Hebrews 6:16 – People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument.

Genesis 21:24 – Abraham said, “I swear it.”

Joshua 9:15 – Then Joshua made a treaty of peace with them to let them live, and the leaders of the assembly ratified it by oath.

1 Kings 1:29-30 – The king then took an oath: “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, I will surely carry out this very day what I swore to you by the Lord, the God of Israel: Solomon your son shall be king after me, and he will sit on my throne in my place.”

Romans 1:9 – God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you

2 Corinthians 1:23 – I call God as my witness—and I stake my life on it—that it was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth.

 



Swear Words: H.C. Question 100

Is blasphemy of God’s name by swearing and cursing really such serious sin that God is angry also with those who do not do all they can to help prevent and forbid it? 

Leviticus 5:1 – “‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.

Leviticus 24:10-17 – Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

“‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.



The Third Commandment: H.C. Question 99

What is the aim of the third commandment? 

Leviticus 24:10-17 – Now the son of an Israelite mother and an Egyptian father went out among the Israelites, and a fight broke out in the camp between him and an Israelite. The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name with a curse; so they brought him to Moses. (His mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri the Danite.) They put him in custody until the will of the Lord should be made clear to them.

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire assembly is to stone him. Say to the Israelites: ‘Anyone who curses their God will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord is to be put to death. The entire assembly must stone them. Whether foreigner or native-born, when they blaspheme the Name they are to be put to death.

“‘Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death.

Leviticus 19:12 – “‘Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

Matthew 5:37 – All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

James 5:12 – Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

Leviticus 5:1 – “‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.

Proverbs 29:24 – The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies; they are put under oath and dare not testify.

Psalm 99:1-5 – The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble; he sits enthroned between the cherubim, let the earth shake.  Great is the Lord in Zion; he is exalted over all the nations.  Let them praise your great and awesome name—he is holy.

The King is mighty, he loves justice—you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.  Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his footstool; he is holy.

Jeremiah 4:2 – and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.”

Matthew 10:32-33 – “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Psalm 50:14-15 – “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

1 Timothy 2:8 – Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.



Day 17: Exodus 1-4; Enter Moses

Welcome to the book of Exodus and the beginning of the story of Moses and the “nation of Israel” which we now refer to as the Hebrews or Israelites.  There is much to talk about in these first four chapters that sets up the whole rest of the book, and in many ways lays the groundwork for future stories and people in the Bible.  This post is longer than the others to date because of the abundant amount of background in these first chapters.

Before we get to Moses, we read a little recap of the Hebrews post-Jacob and post-Joseph.  Remember that yesterday we went through the genealogy of Jacob and his sons, totaling 70 people in all.  This is important because it shows now how much they have grown and prospered in the land of Egypt.  We don’t know the full extent of it until the numbers are given to us when the Hebrews leave Egypt, but suffice to say, it is a lot more than 70.  So what was the point of being in Egypt?  Couldn’t this have happened in Canaan?  Well, the answer is… likely no.  As this people group grew, it is likely that the indigineous people of Canaan would have started imposing on them, the Hebrews would have inter-married with them, and/or there would have been an all-out war against the Israelites due to their size.  In Egypt, the people lived in a specific area, protected by the Egyptians (who were the world power of the time), and yet not intermingled with them because the Hebrews were mostly shepherds (which we read yesterday were detestable to Egyptians).   Therefore, the people of Israel grew, unfettered, uninterrupted, and unmixed from the people around them.

Enter slavery and Moses.

God is clearly blessing the people despite the ruthless treatment of the Egyptians, so much so that Pharaoh orders the killing of all the males of the Israelite babies.  This is the situation that Moses is born into, and it is in this situation that God rescues Moses.  The man Moses is very much a “messianic figure” in the Old Testament.  In a way, he is a type of foreshadowing of things to come.  Though not the Messiah (aka. Jesus Christ), we do see marked similarities in their lives, the way that act, and the events that take place.  I would encourage you, especially in the next few days (Exodus 1-20ish) to think about how Moses and Jesus are similar in nature, in action, and in leading.  Leave a comment on some of the things that you find!!

There are two other things that are important in this particular passage that I feel just need to be pointed out.

First I would like to talk about the parts of Exodus 1 and 2 that talk about Israel being oppressed and the point at which “God hears their groaning and remembers the covenant.”  I think that first and foremost it is important to note that, though the Hebrews couldn’t see it at the time, God was blessing them through this in many ways, one of which is the drastic increase in their physical numbers.  They are no longer a small family, they are quite literally a small nation; several hundred thousand people.  The other part in here is the point at which is seems that it has taken a while for the groans to reach God but then all of the sudden He hears them and remembers them.  It isn’t as if God couldn’t hear them before… we know that God is ever present and always listening.  Why the author uses this particular type of wording is somewhat unknown.  I don’t think that it translates well into English.  What we do know is that it does have something to do with the mystery of God’s perfect plan and timing for all things.  Like in Genesis 15:16 when God says that “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”  We ask, what does this mean?  Isn’t one sin as bad as many sins?  We would say that a sin is a sin… but apparently in this time, for whatever reason, there was perhaps more sinning to be done before God decides to punish them?  Or later when the Israelites go into Exile, it takes a long time before that actually happens.  Why?  There is something to God’s timing that we don’t always understand, but we trust that He knows what He is doing and that He is working everything out according to His will.  So, did God not hear Israel?  No… God heard them… but it didn’t seem to be time yet.  Other things had to happen before it could be time to come out of Egypt.

Finally, there is the burning bush narrative.  moses burning bush icon

This is an extra-ordinary experience for Moses, as he is called directly by God.  The first thing, and maybe the most obvious if you are looking for it, is that God basically tells Moses everything that is about to happen right down to the letter.  Lots of wonders, killing of the first born, Israel leaving and plundering the Egyptians… its all right there in Exodus 3:13-22.  The other thing, significantly more important, and perhaps a bit more perplexing, is God giving Moses His name.  I AM WHO I AM.  or in some translations: I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE.  They Hebrew word is YHWH.  A name so reverent to the Hebrew people that they never speak it and have come up with an abundance of names to be used for God in place of it.  Like the re-naming of Jacob in Genesis 35, which we talked about on January 11, the name of God is significant because of the power and intimacy that is attached to it.  God is no longer just the God of their ancestors, God is THEIR God.  The name itself is significant.  While a person is always something (I am Jon, you are hungry, that tree is tall), God is I AM… God in a continual state of being… which really says something to the fact that He is the eternal one, the creator and sustainer of all things… with no beginning and no end.  Later in the year, when we get to the book of John, we’ll see Jesus using this name for himself as well.

There is very important meaning in the name of God… and yet it is so abundantly reverent as well.  Sometimes I wonder about our use of the word God, or the taking of the name of God… we float it around like its nothing, just another word.  What do you think about this?  Should we be so careless with the name of God?