I am reading through the book of Jeremiah (NKJV) and ran across the following text in Chapter 28:
- "9 As for the prophet who prophesies of peace, when the word of the prophet comes to pass, the prophet will be known as one whom the Lord has truly sent." 10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke off the prophet Jeremiah's neck and broke it. 11 And Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, "Thus says the Lord: 'Even so I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years.' " And the prophet Jeremiah went his way. 12Now the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, after Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, 13 "Go and tell Hananiah, saying, 'Thus says the Lord: "You have broken the yokes of wood, but you have made in their place yokes of iron." 14 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him. I have given him the beasts of the field also." ' " 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, "Hear now, Hananiah, the Lord has not sent you, but you make this people trust in a lie.16 Therefore thus says the Lord: 'Behold, I will cast you from the face of the earth. This year you shall die, because you have taught rebellion against the Lord.' " 17 So Hananiah the prophet died the same year in the seventh month."
I paused for a moment after reading this text and was convicted deeply about staying true to the written Word of God when preaching, teaching, or giving advice in the Name of the Lord. The Third Commandment tells us in Exodus 20:7 NKJV:
- 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
Teaching, preaching, or giving advice to someone as a preacher or teacher is a serious job. You not only use the name of the Lord in vain when you say a curse word in His name, or use his name flippantly. You see, if you teach, preach, or give advice in the name of the Lord, you are claiming to represent God. Even as a layman, you may give advice to your children or to a friend that is Biblical. See that it is Biblical. James wrote in Chapter 3 of his book that this is serious business (NKJV):
- "1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
The name of the Lord is "sacred." Therefore, we must rejoice, but also use caution. This is no small thing. In the days of Jeremiah, a prophet was to be killed when they prophesied in the "Name of the Lord" when they were actually prophesying in their own name. I am not saying that death will come upon you suddenly if you speak falsely, but I do think it is important to pay attention because God is concerned about His reputation. He doesn't want to be misrepresented.
- "For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:14 NKJV