The ten commandments… two to honor God (1-2), three to honor self (3 sabbath, 9-10 coveting), and four to honor others (4-8). The commandments that honor God help us put ourselves right with God – first, to put God ahead of all else; second, to honor God’s name. What is it about honoring God’s name that helps us put ourselves right with God?
It seems to me we may have a skewed view of what it means to honor something. There are so few things that people in this culture take seriously enough to truly hold it reverently. So many of the taboos of the past are commonplace today. We don’t respect our leaders. We don’t respect our bodies. We don’t respect our language. We don’t fear much, except that which threatens to take away our autonomy or independence. So what does it mean in this culture to honor the name of God?
Maybe honoring God’s name is something we can work toward. Perhaps honoring God’s name means viewing God creation with more respect than we often give. Maybe it’s recycling, upcycling, and being more cognizant of how we treat God’s planet. Maybe it’s identifying who in our own lives is an authority figure and then offering them more respect (a boss, a parent, police, perhaps). Maybe it’s worshiping with an attitude of awe instead of an attitude of boredom or discontent. I have a sense that honoring God’s name will be different for different people, and I also have a sense that all of us could do better.
Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name. Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.