The Name of the Lord
S. M. Hutchens on the Third Commandment
I must begin by being sure that my hearers understand something that does not come naturally to people in our time, in our part of the world. For us, names, whether they be of people or things, tend to be thought of as merely symbolic. They stand for what is signified but are arbitrary or conventional. The thing or person is not conceived as existing in its name, but rather of “having” it. The writers of Scripture do not treat names, certainly the Name of God, in that way. The name stood for the person because it was a true appearance of the self for which it stood. When one uses the Name of God, one does not simply refer to him, but places himself, for good or ill, in communion with him. This is the first thing we must remember about the Name of God: God comes with it, and to speak the true Name of God is to call upon his very Self. Now we may begin on the Third Commandment:
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S. M. Hutchens is a Touchstone senior editor.
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