What's bugging you?

by Gavin  

What's bugging you?

Mosquitos are niggly, horrible, buzzing things.  They sneak up on you, and then, out of nowhere, that burning, stinging itch starts.  Some are worse than others… I remember one bite I sustained on a bus in Cairo.  Egyptian mozzies are on steroids, and it felt like my hand had been immersed into sulphuric acid, with a weal that resembled a balloon on my hand.


What remedies do we use for a mozzie bite?  Scratch lots?  Methylated spirts?  Smear on antihistamine cream if available?  Or just leave it, and wait for the symptoms to resolve.


You see, the irritation is actually pretty short-lived.  Not one of us has rushed to a local ER for hospitalization and radical amputation for a mozzie bite.  It is an irritation, and at worst a bad irritation.  But it is not life threatening and not something that warrants major attention.


Can I confess something?  I have probably been a mosquito to you as a church member or adherent.  I am, if we're honest, a pastor that bug you from time to time (hopefulyl, not ALL the time...?) No doubt I have overlooked, forgotten or said something stupid in the last year, month or week.  That’s life in a sin affected world.  It was not intentional, and no malice was meant.  Without being funny or offensive, you have probably been a mosquito to someone else too – through things said, or unsaid, actions done or undone, right?


Think about it.   Imagine the scene…


+  Your favourite uncle promised to attend your soccer game, but double-booked and couldn’t make it. 

+  You’ve bought a new dress, spent a fortune at the hairdresser and manicure parlour, and your husband walks in at the end of a long day, and doesn’t even notice that there is anything different about your new exterior.

+  Your wife moves your car into the garage and nicks the painted side mirror.

+  Your name gets left off the church birthday notices in the weekly bulletin. 

+  Someone walks past you in the pew in church and steps on your toe.

+  That church member doesn’t greet you one Sunday morning in the foyer.

+  Or…. whatever!


The list of seemingly insignificant little things that are done accidentally, thoughtlessly and non-maliciously is endless.  But how do we respond to these things when they happen?  There is no sin intended, no hidden agenda of using that action to quietly launch a subtle personal attack on you.  So then, why is it that those little incidents provoke us to something resembling a nuclear attack on the “offending party?”


Paul wrote this to the Ephesians :


I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1–3, ESV)


Hmmm… bear with one another in love?  What does that mean?  Well, quite simply, put up with each other.  Overlook the minor stuff.  That’s fully consistent with what Solomon counselled :


Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” (Proverbs 10:12, ESV).


So, how good are you are overlooking offences?  If you are, it is actually commended in the Bible :


Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11, ESV). 


Scripture does not commend behaviour that is pride-filled, reactive and explosive.  It upholds patience, long-suffering and forbearance.  Peter even re-states the issue this way:


Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, ESV)


So then, what is bugging you about someone?  What is bugging you about me?  What is bugging me about you?  What irritating, mosquito-like behaviours are we inflicting on each other?  And then, how do we handle that?  More particularly, how do we handle that in a way that is biblical and honouring to Christ, as opposed to just reacting in the flesh?


The wise person who is responding in God-glorifying ways does not take offence at the accidental or the inconsequential.  The people who are quick to anger take everything as personal attacks on themselves.  Wisdom does not take offence at the accidental.  That is equally true of the inconsequential – those actions or words that might have been sin, but also might not have been.  “Was his voice too sharp?  Was his tone disrespectful?  Was that oversight deliberate?”  The wise person shows patience and refuses to imagine offences, or construct offences where there was absolutely no malice intended.


In our homes, marriages, families, workplaces and in our church family, do we do this?  Do we overlook the accidental and inconsequential?  The best way to avoid bitterness and lingering, stewing anger is to overlook and ignore the inconsequential and the accidental, and to truly forgive the consequential and the actual sins.  That, according to Proverbs, is to our glory, but also ultimately to the Lord’s. 


What do you need to do in response to the bugging of people?


[This is a repost of an old Facebook blog done in February 2015, and added to the official RBC site as a musings and a resource!]






"Bible" by Shakespeare

by Gavin  

"Bible" by Shakespeare



Before Surinarayan Venkatrathnam was released from Robben Island in 1977 he asked around 30 fellow inmates to sign the book he called his Bible.  Incarcerated as a political prisoner, Venkatrathnam had managed to source a copy of the “Collected Works of William Shakespeare,” which was illicit contraband for a political prisoners.  To keep possession of it, he carefully disguised it as a holy book, and called it his Bible: “I took my Diwali greetings cards that my family had sent me and I stuck the cards on the front, back and the spine of the book and when warders asked me what it was I told them that it was my Bible.”  He is quoted as saying that the Afrikaans guards were afraid of 2 things – lawyers and the Bible – and so he got away with it.   Venkatrathnam’s copy of Shakespeare was his only source of comfort during his long imprisonment.


That famed volume has toured the world, and is a prized exhibit.  It contains the signatures of some famous South African political prisoners.  It is most surely a treasure, and something that is significant in our nation’s history. That is not disputed.


But, I did have a deep moment of sadness as I read that story about Venkatrathnam and his “Bible.”  So much emphasis was placed on Shakespeare, who was indeed a literary genius, and someone who has made an immeasurable impact on English development.  To be sure, there is value in Shakespeare – both in the reading and the studying.


But, there is infinite value in God’s Word.  How might Venkatrathnam’s life, and the lives of others with him, have been radically changed if they were to have access and a desire to read God’s eternal truth?  Instead of disguising mere human words (profound as they are) as a holy book, what if he, like Augustine, took up and read the inspired biblical Scriptures and found total transformation?  Instead of some short-term hope and brightness in a prison cell from Shakespeare, might he not have been set free in his soul forever by the power of the gospel?  As Steven Lawson says, “


God is the one Source and sole Author of truth. Sin is whatever God says it is. Judgment is whatever God says it is. Salvation is what God says it is. Heaven and hell are what God says they are. It matters not what man says but simply what God says. One word of what God says is worth more than ten thousand libraries of what man says. “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Rom. 3:4).


Shakespeare disguised as a holy book is an interesting account of national political history.  But reading great literary masterpieces doesn’t change lives.  Reading and responding to God’s truth is of infinitely more importance!


We as believers need to be supporting Bible translation, Bible distribution, Bible reading and Bible preaching – so that the lost can find true hope and lasting joy through the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That gospel is contained in the Bible, God's full, final, authoratative and complete Word. 


The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:7–11, ESV)


and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15–17, ESV)

Cry the beloved country

by Gavin  

Cry the beloved country

 The title of Alan Paton’s seminal work might have been penned in a different era, and in response to a very different socio-political climate than we face in South Africa in 2016.  The book of that name is a poignant tale that captured much of the deeply rooted racial dynamics in our nation at that time, as well as exploring through narrative many of the associated socio-economic results which impacted the lives of real people across the spectrum in South Africa.


Having watched and listened to the events at the end of March unfolding, one is tempted I think, without any sense of political agenda, to echo the cry of Paton many decades later: “Cry the beloved country.”  We have witnessed the ground-breaking judgement handed down by our Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in the Constitutional Court again both the incumbent President and National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa.  The judgement was comprehensive, insightful and damning.  On Friday 1st April we were witness to the broadcast of President Jacob Zuma called at short notice for 7pm last night, followed by the ANC announcement of Gwede Mantashe at 8pm on Friday 1st April.  Alas, sadly, neither broadcast was an April Fool’s joke.  I was personally both incredulous and angered at the sheer arrogance portrayed (although labelled as “humble” by the ruling party), staggered at the gross lack of accountability and moral conscience, and glib write-off of the matters as a mere mistake.  In my opinion, watching it unfold, it was spin-doctoring of the highest order.  Additionally, I have listened to and read the responses of the various political commentators, opposition leaders and other voices, sensing the widespread disappointment, anger and frustration at the governmental responses mounted.


It is at that stage that one needed to take a step back as believer in Christ, and think through the issues and events using a biblical lens.  See, as believers we should have a biblical worldview, one shaped by the Word and strong, unshakable views on God, His attributes and plans.  Therefore, in the interests of reinforcing my own thinking, and providing some pastoral guidance for our Randburg Baptist Church family, I offer the following reminders from Scripture and prayer thoughts, rushed and simple as they might be at this stage.  This is not in any way a political diatribe, and certainly not written in support of any party.  This is merely the application of God’s truth to the issues that have emerged as reality in our country, and which could well be applied to many other nations at various times in the history of humankind.



  1. God is still sovereign


Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” (Psalm 115:3, ESV)


all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”” (Daniel 4:35, ESV)


Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God works all things according to the counsel of his will.  He can because He alone is God. We as fallible, sinful and mortal humans might not understand the purposes of God, but it does not mean that He is not at work.  Even through the more dire circumstances, involving pain and affliction at times, our God is still on His throne, doing all things well.  What is happening in the South African political landscape is not a surprise to God, and much as it blows our minds, He is actively at work in all which is unfolding.  That is a source of confidence for the believer.  Pray for increased faith to trust His plans and purposes which unfold. 


  1. God is ultimately responsible for the appointment and “dethroning” of leaders


I can’t say it better than the inspired text of Isaiah… see the bigness and vastness and power of God, and then see how people  are contrasted…


12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance? 13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14 Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. 16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? 19 An idol! A craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and casts for it silver chains. 20 He who is too impoverished for an offering chooses wood that will not rot; he seeks out a skillful craftsman to set up an idol that will not move. 21 Do you not know? Do you not hear? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them like a tent to dwell in; 23 who brings princes to nothing, and makes the rulers of the earth as emptiness. 24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows on them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble. [Isaiah 40:12–24 (ESV)]


Those last few verses are staggering in their application to our age.  Nothing has changed.  As God raised up and used sinful, violent nations like the Babylonians and Assyrians, so God’s power has not diminished or being lost through the subsequent millennia.  Kings, Prime Ministers, Presidents and governments in our own era are subject to the same sovereign God – the One who brings them to nothing, malkes them as emptiness, plants them and uproots them, and causes them to be remembered no more.


While not biblical in the least, Percy Bysshe Shelley got that right in his epic poem, “Ozymandias.”  I don’t know where that though came from… possible flashback to Standard 7 English class at Blairgowrie High School… but the sentiment rings true.  When God brings someone down, all that is left is stubble and dust…


I met a Traveler from an antique land,

Who said, "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

"My name is OZYMANDIAS, King of Kings."

Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!

No thing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that Colossal Wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.



 3. Governmental leaders who reject God are derided by God and will be judged by God


Again, let’s just let God speak through His Word, using the whole text of Psalm 2…


1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” 4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. 5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, 6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. [Psalm 2 (ESV)]


  1. We are called to pray for our government


First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2, ESV)


The command there leaves little room for debate, right?  Believers are called by God to pray for their governments, irrespective of whether they are good, bad or indifferent.  I think it is fair to say, based on some experience of conversations, social events and reading the social media postings of believers that Christians tend to spend more time grumbling about the things we see around us than we do actually interceding for the events around us.  Maybe that is something to be confessed and repented of?


God wants us to be praying for our President, the so-called “Top 6,” the NEC, the National Assembly.  He wants us to be praying for those people and those institutions with a result – so that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  Should we noy commit to that as a local church body, individually and corporately?


Additionally, while conceding the actual command was given to Judah 2700 years ago as she faced certain exile, the principle of the following timeless words holds true for us as well, right?


But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7, ESV)


Pray for the very and openly Godless, secular, corrupt society in which we live.  It the welfare of South Africa, Gauteng and Joburg, we will find our own welfare.


What can we pray for?  Well, many things.  Here are a few ideas…


If we take some selected thoughts, what about Psalm 2 (cited above)?  Pray that our President and Cabinet feel some sense of conviction of their rank rejection of God, as per the pattern of verses 2-3… the rejection of God, the rejection of Christ, the desire to not function under godly authority, to break off all restraint.  Verse 4 tells us that God, who is on His exalted and eternal throne, laughs in derision at those who so reject Him… “Who are you, you little, feeble, mortal man reigning under my ultimate control, thinking that you are something great when you are nothing apart from Me and the power I have so granted you for a teeny-weeny moment in eternal history?” 


We can legitimately pray along the lines of verse 9 as well (and any other imprecatory psalm text) – that God (in His justice, righteous anger and compassion for the afflicted subjects)  would break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.  Let’s pray boldly for God’s intervention in the sin-affected mess, to bring about real divine correction flowing from His righteous Hand.


We can and should pray that President Zuma, his cabinet, advisors, sycophants and business partners would heed the God-given warning of the closing words to submit by faith to Christ, and to thus avoid the eternal judgement that awaits those outside of a faith relationship with Jesus, who alone can save:


Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:10–12, ESV)


Closing thoughts…


Those believers who love South Africa should be praying for her and her leaders.  It is right that we say, using Paton’s words, “Cry the beloved country.”  But more than that, to exercise a trust in God and His purposes, and be faithful to pray for divine intervention in the sin-affected mess that we are in as a nation. 


With all due respect, our President’s bad theological drivel given at an Easter event at Ellis Park last week is not the issue… Mr Zuma is quoted as saying the following during his address to thousands of members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Good Friday:


“We are here to get blessings and prayers. We want you to pray for us as leaders so that when we make mistakes, you can ask God to forgive us because Satan is always around trying to derail us…”


No! Satan is at work, and this true.  But Satan will not derail those running fast and far from God, living and ruling in ways inconsistent with God’s Word. 


What is needed in South Africa and government is gospel transformation, a return of government to serve the interests of the people of our land, and ideally total surrender to the Son, who is ruling on His throne, and Who will come back to judge our rulers with perfect justice.  Pray that our national leaders will be ready to meet Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords on that fateful Day of the Lord when He returns, and all things are laid bare.

I will be in a fight on Sunday morning!

by Gavin  

I will be in a fight on Sunday morning!

I will be involved in a fight on Sunday morning!


Let me explain…


I heard two very different comments during the course of the last year, prompting some personal reflection.  This has again played on my mind as I come to preach on Mark 6:14-29 on Sunday morning…


In a context far removed from Randburg Baptist Church, someone said to me that they “enjoyed the preaching” of a particular pastor.  It’s not an uncommon statement.  While there are no doubt many who do not “enjoy” my pulpit ministry (too deep, too long, too technical, too boring, not enough stories etc), I have also been the recipient of that kind of comment – on rare occasions!  “Pastor, I enjoy your preaching.  You speak well.” You get the picture.  Well, for a sinful man, that feels good, and fuels pride quite quickly.


The second comment was in lecture I attended on a year ago by Dr Mark Jones, a Puritan expert visiting from Vancouver.  The seminar was on worship.  The point was made that worship is a battleground, because there is a war between divine faith and shallow human faith as we come to worship.  God wants our focus on him, whereas we want to “feel good.”  And so on…


It got me thinking… on an ever narrower issue: Preaching, as part of corporate worship.  Is preaching the Word of God to be regarded as “enjoyable?”  What is our standard for assessing pulpit ministry?  It preaching to be fun, or is it a fight?


For the true preacher of God’s eternal truth, I would suggest that it is a fight.  It is a fight to be disciplined in preparation, it is a fight of the mind and heart to engage with the text, and to hear God speak.  It is a fight to avoid a thousand distractions and carefully plot through the historical context and grammatical construct of a passage.  It is a fight to understand the text in the world in which it was written, and it is a weekly fight to grapple with the application of those principles in our era.  It is a fight to be a workman unashamed who rightly divides the truth.  It is a fight to stand and deliver in a way that is Spirit-dependant, and not rely on some clever homiletical tricks.  Preaching is a fight.


But what about out in the pew?  Is it also not a fight there?  As hearers (and at times I am privileged to sit and hear as well J), we also have a fight on our hands.  In our sin-affected humanness, we want to feel good, to have our ears tickled, and to feel warm and fuzzy stuff.  We do not like to have our minds challenged too much, to have some funny stories and good illustrations and to ensure that the preacher dude doesn’t go on so long that our minds wander.  The preacher must be engaging and fresh.  I happened to see the profile of a pastor that a Call Committee of a South African Baptist church produced a few years ago: they wanted someone whose preaching would be relevant, inspiring and creative… sadly, biblical and accurate and applicable did not feature.


And those are just the superficial little fights we have.


The bigger battleground is the heart, is it not?  God’s Word, accurately unpacked and applied is deadly.  Psalm 19 is clear as to the effects of God’s Word – reviving the soul, bringing light to the eyes, making wise the simple and bringing joy to the heart.  But souls do not actually want to be revived.  We actually like our darkness a little too much.  Proud sinners do not want to be confronted and made wise through challenges to godly living. 


Preaching is a fight as the Word is unleashed.  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, ESV).  There is a fight that occurs each Sunday in churches – both in the pulpit and in the pew.  There is a sword at work, empowered by the Spirit of God.  And the sword thrusts are hard, clear and decisive.  The Scriptures shatter our pride, open our eyes to the glory of God, and humble us before a cross and a suffering Saviour who alone can save, show us our sins and fallenness and highlight God’s standards.  We fight against that sword.  It would be must easier if the preaching was just fun.  But when the sword is being used, it cannot be enjoyable.  It is not enjoyable to be convicted.  It is not enjoyable to have your mind challenged, and brain stretched with divine truth as doctrine is infused.  It is not enjoyable to be confronted with your own sin and failure and waywardness.  It is not fun to have the way of godliness painted for you, and the demands of Jesus illuminated.  It is not fun to see the centrality of a cross where Christ died so that you and I could be set free.  It is not fun to have our thoughts and attitudes and behaviours exposed for that they truly are, and to then be challenged to confess, repent and strive for godliness.  It is never enjoyable to come face-to-face with the idols of our hearts, and to be reminded of our need of Christ and His righteousness.  Oh yes, to be sure, it is always gloriously encouraging to be reminded of the cross, Christ, justification and the hope and vitality that we have as part of the “every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  But even that is a fight, and not fun.


I know I will be in a fight on Sunday morning.  You will be too, no doubt! I pray that I will be accurate, clear and relevant.  I hope that appropriate application will be brought to our people as the Word is unpacked.  I trust that there will be real engagement with the truth as the Spirit works to illuminate and convict and change.  I pray that much life change happens – for me and for all who will be present. 


I hope no one will leave saying that the preaching was enjoyable. 


It will be a fight for all of us.




OMG - how do we handle the misuse of God's name?

by Gavin  

OMG - how do we handle the misuse of God's name?

We don’t have to go far to hear the verbal misuse of the Lord’s name.  Sometimes some other adjectives are put alongside those names for more effect. It’s on TV.  Movies are full of that kind of speech. Comedians try to add to their supposed humour by injecting profanity and blasphemy into their shows. Sit in the workplace, and you’ll hear it.  School corridors, playgrounds, sport fields and gym change rooms echo with the name of God, used to punctuate sentences. You’ll hear on the Tee boxes on golf courses as shots are pulled and shanked. You’ll hear “Jesus” and “O my God” statements coming from the table next to you in a restaurant, and it is sadly evident that it’s not believers swapping testimonies…


The use, and in fact misuse of God’s name, is commonplace.  So then, how do we handle that as believers?


The “10 Commandments” seems so clear, right?


“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.” (Exodus 20:7, ESV)


Based on that verse – that commandment – Christians seem to be offended.  We’ve got to go and tell them to stop, right?  That verbal, auditory offence gets under the skin of professing believers in Christ.  And so there are many – in good conscience – who feel the need to go to your friend, family member, golfing partner or boss and tell them not to use your God’s name in vain – in such a cheap, shallow way. “God’s name is being verbally profaned and I need to defend God’s honour and tell them to stop!”


But let’s stretch the thinking a bit… and please do not accuse me of heresy!  This is merely to broaden the dialogue.  Is that thinking not inconsistent? See, God doesn’t call us to defend His name, does He?  Look at the context in Exodus 20 :-


Commandment #1 : ““You shall have no other gods before me.

Commandment #2 : “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3–4, ESV)


Just think about it… God prohibits false religion and idolatry in commandments 1 & 2.  Then He gives the prohibition on misuse of His name.  And what do Christians get the most hung up on?  Blasphemy, right?


Just imagine a devout, Bible-believing believer in an open plan office… together with 3 other colleagues : a Moslem, a Buddhist and an atheist who openly blasphemes.


What is the typical response from the Christian? “O, got to tell that guy to stop saying God’s name in vain because it is offensive to me!”


Huh?  But there is no offence because of the openly false religion that is flaunted and celebrated and promoted, and no offence taken to the Buddha or frog or whatever that openly sits on the desk?


How often are our responses as believers to the spoken misuse of God’s name fuelled more by our own personal offence to the auditory insult, rather than a real genuine concern for God’s glory?  If we were genuinely consumed with God’s honour being offended, would we not be as horrified and as confrontational about the falsehood of the wrong religious systems and the visual idols that are so openly displayed, even more than the verbal misuse that occurs?


Just a thought...

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