By David Stahl

In the Book of Exodus beginning in Chapter 20 we read about God giving the Children of Israel and mankind today His 10 Commandments.  Funny how some Christians think they do not still apply today.  I have always wondered if God wanted man to follow these 10 Commandments why did He wait until Exodus 20 to let man know what His standards for living were? Why did He not give the 10 Commandments to Adam? I think there is much more here in God’s heart and law (the 10 Commandment) than what we understand and commonly teach in our churches.  In verse seven of Exodus 20 we read, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”  (Exodus 20:7)  Now many Christians believe this verse means we are not to use God’s name while reeling off a host of unsavory words of profanity; well this is so far from the truth in which God is trying to express in this verse.  Now good common sense and moral teaching tells us we should never use the same word (God) when cussing that we use to identify our heaven Father.   Now if you are doing this please stop, but God is not talking about our language here He is talking about our heart condition before Him and how we misuse the power and authority of His name.  Our thinking that God is talking about us not cussing (and we should not) only diverts us from the truth of this verse.  The word “vain” here in this verse is Strong’s #7723 and means emptiness, vanity, falsehood, and has nothing to do with our language, but looks at our motives and desires when mentioning God’s name.  The vainness is not of the tongue, but of the heart.  What do we want to get from God and man when we invoke the name of God?  What is our purpose and desire when we bring God into the picture, how do we use His name to meet the end results?  Do we manipulate people using God’s name to get what we want?  Do we make God bigger in the eyes of people to match a selfish goal in our lives?  If so we are making God smaller. Do we use the word of God to get people to give us money or power?        

In a church we use to attend there was a fellow (would be evangelist) we will call him Anthony for the sake of this article.  Well, Anthony often would ask me if I could set up a huge crusade in Africa or India, something that would draw 100s of thousands of people so he could preach.  Anthony was not interested in starting small oh no he wanted something huge for his first time outside the country. Well an opportunity to share in joint services between churches in Romania and then some in Bulgaria (it was the first time this ever happened) came available yet Anthony was reluctant to commit to it because it was not big enough, but in the end he said yes.  One of many problems Anthony had was he did not have the money for the plane ticket and other expenses so he starting asking people of means in our church if they could give him some money to make the trip.  He told me what he was doing and smiled when he said, “Ye have not because ye ask not.”  My heart and spirit sank, his focus and motive was all wrong.  He was trying to get the money by all means possible, but it is God who provides our need not our wit and ability to spin words to charm or manipulate people into doing what we want them to do.  Money (even for ministry needs) should never be a focus of ministry.  The focus of ministry is always about relationship between people.  If money is the focus then it is a carnal and earthly pursuit with no Spiritual value to our soul.  I tell my many pastor friends overseas Godly ministry comes out of Godly relationships, the need for money must never be what bring us together.  Yes money buys things, but God can make things happen far beyond what money can buy.  Since 1996 when we headed over to Germany God has always provided all we needed without begging Him or twisting the arms of people.  Every time God wanted something to happen the funding came in and the need was met. For me this was great blessing for it served as a constant confirmation to me that God was behind what I felt He wanted us to do. Amazingly the funding came from strangers from most unexpected sources.  The first time I went to India God brought Belinda into our lives.  I met Belinda at the base health clinic in Stuttgart, Germany where she worked as a physical therapist technician and an E-7 in the U.S. Army.  I really got to know her when she laid hands on my back during my physical therapy treatments.  One day as she was working she said, “I would like to give you my tithes.”  I said, “okay I am planning to go to India soon.”  After my treatment she said she wanted to see me next week for another treatment and for the rest of the money, but for now here is a start.  She handed me a check for $700.  I could not believe my eyes.  The next week I showed up as she requested.  She said, “you better sit down.” I said, “okay.”  You know obedience is always the right answer.  I thought she was going to give me a check for $300 rounding it off to $1000.  I was wrong she handed me a check for $1300 rounding it off to $2000.  I needed every penny for my ticket and to bless the people along the way.  Belinda continued to support BHG for years and even when she returned to the States in spite of her great struggle with breast cancer.  Our hope for Belinda is that she is with the Lord and in our heart there is a very soft and very special place for Belinda.  God will use any circumstance, situation, or person He wants to use to meet our need. We need not try to save our self or make things happen to meet our need, but rest in God knowing He knows what we need and He knows how to make all things work out for His glory and our good. 

We do not need to invoke God’s name to receive from God.  Again, He knows what we need before we even ask. We must be very careful when asking people for money if not careful our dependency and self-sufficient strength on the money and the person becomes greater than our faith in God to meet our need.  Too often our first stop is to our friends of means who has helped in the past.  Now God may use this individual, but this is His call not ours. Our job is to be able to discern God’s leading in this situation. Sadly when we do this we miss out on the God of the universe not being able to meet our need in ways far beyond our understanding. My friend either we will operate in the strength, resources, and power of man or of God, it is our choice.  Sadly today when God come into the picture it is only after our friends have said no. We in the church have really mastered this asking man and God for things.  Now I will be honest lately (like Anthony did for his trip to Eastern Europe) I too have been burdening (asking) the folks on our ministry email distribution list to keep our clinic in Aveile, Nigeria in their thoughts, prayers, and finances each time I would send an email out. This my friend is wrong and I ask your forgiveness.  God knows what we need; it is His maternity clinic, this is His idea, and He is duty bound to take good care of it without me twisting arms or manipulating people.  In Mathew Jesus touched on this thought in a very familiar portion of Scripture. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”  (Matthew 7:7-11)  Jesus was not telling us here to keep on asking, seeking, and knocking (many preachers and teachers believe it and minister this wrong thinking leading many Christians astray) until we get God to jump through the hoop for us or beat Him over the head with His own words.  Oh no my friend we do not get to God’s heart by repetition or nagging.  Jesus was telling us to take heed; if we ask for something, something will be given to us now it may not be what God has in mind for us, but it will be something.  The same goes for seeking and knocking. If we seek something we will find something, again it may not be what we are seeking for or what God has in mind for us, but we will find something.  If we knock on enough doors one will open.  Now it may not be the door God wants us to walk through, but it will be the door we have knocked on and it will be the one opened unto us.  Jesus ends His words (verse 11) by saying, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Jesus was saying to let our desires be known to God (no nagging) then rest in knowing God knows all things (even what we want before we ask) even the intents and desires of our heart (the good and bad ones) and He knows how to give us, His children, good things.  It is not that God needs to know what we want, He already knows, but it is because we have a great desire within us (and feel better) to tell Him.  Within us is a desire to tell God what we want (like a child tells his parents) and when we do we are satisfied and content within our spirit until we do not get what we have asked (like little children) God for.  I am so glad God has not given me what I have asked for in the past.  God knows all things, He knows the future, and He knows His plan for our lives.  Jesus was telling us to stop all of this asking, seeking, knocking, and just rest in our heavenly Father knowing He knows what He wants for our lives.   

How sad it is when we hear people invoke the various names of God:  Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Nissi, Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Shalom, and all of the other names mentioned in the Scriptures in an attempt to be able to tap into some supernatural power as many TV pastors and evangelists will tell you to do. This my friend is nothing more than our greedy, selfish desires groping and hoping to use these words as a magic wands, but my friend God’s power comes by way of our obedience,  submission, and surrender not by invoking His names.  Remember our usefulness and authority in God will only be as far as our submission and surrender will carry us.  There is no magic formula or words we can conger up to get what we want from God we must receive His “good things” by commitment and obedience to Him and His word. And it funny how we think we get to pick and choose one of God’s names and then “claim” (word not found in the KJV of the Bible) the power and it magically manifest in our lives.  This my friend is nothing more than wrong thinking out from wrong teaching and is just plain greedy, selfishness,  and self-seeking in our lives. We take God’s name in vain every time we mention or invoke it not in accordance with the word of God (the Bible) and His will and plan for our lives.  Last week the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) had their beg-a-thon (they have it now three times a year) on as well as other TV Christian networks begging people for money so they can do the work of God.  But does not God own all of the wealth in the world?  Does He not own the cattle on 1,000 hills and even the hills?  Why does God’s servant doing God’s will have to beg people for money?  Something is just wrong here. Could it be maybe they are not doing God’s will and could be it they are not God’s servants?  Does God need a Spiritual Diseyland so Christians can go on vacation? Is this what the Gospel message has been watered down to? When Beholding His Glory started finances were never a problem; everything that God wanted me to do was funded with more than enough and still is today.   

  In the mid 60s after returning from a trip to Kenya East Africa Paris Reidhead delivered “Ten Shekels and Shirt” (I strongly recommend you listen to it or read the text) a powerful message from God that debunks and strips the wrong thinking of the secular apostate church (TBN crowd) today. Reidhead said, “The philosophy of the church today is humanism. And you can define humanism this way: Humanism is a philosophical statement that declares the end of all being is the happiness of man. The reason for existence is man’s happiness.  Now according to humanism, salvation is simply a matter of getting all the happiness you can, out of life.” Is this not what we see in most churches today?  Christians going after happiness instead of God’s will for our lives?  And yes Christians going after happiness instead of God’s dealings and judgments in their lives.  The church has adopted a humanistic philosophy and approach to God in application and tries to mix in some parlor magic tricks to make it seem spiritual, but “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit and that which is born of the flesh is flesh.”  (John 3:6)  Pastor Reidhead boiled it all down concluding; “we all work for God at His good pleasure and that is our reward no more no less because of who He is.”  Our reward is God being glorified; it is not about our happiness or us using God’s name to receive supernatural power or resources, but just God allowing us to be used is God’s good pleasure.  When I first started traveling overseas in ministry I would say look what God has done; now to a certain degree that is true, but it is not what God has done in the world through me in ministry as much as what God has done in me.  God does not need me to do the work for Him, but I need the work of God to be done in me.  Paul said, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)We” not the good works.  “We” not the names of God are the workmanship of God.  Let us not get lost in the humanistic approach of the nominal church today; using God’s name in vain for personal gain and power, but just submit and surrender to God’s work in our lives and become more and more His workmanship day after day.