(Kersten, The Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2, Part 10)

The Hallowing of the Lord's Name

Lord's Day 36

Psalter No. 187 st. 2 & 4
Read Isaiah 48
Psalter No. 87 st. 2, 3
Psalter No. 199 st. 3, 4, 5
Psalter No. 398 st. 2, 3


    In the chapter of Isaiah which was read to you the Lord shows His
love to His people, in order that they should be sincerely committed
unto His service. Notice with what endearing terms He addresses them
when He calls them: "O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of
Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah." In reference to
this the Lord calls His people by the name of Jacob, He does not do so
to draw attention to all of Jacob's foolishness, but rather to display
His great sovereign grace which He bestowed upon Jacob. Is it not
written, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated"? Was not Jacob the
object of God's sovereign, eternal good pleasure? Was he not given
promises which the Lord faithfully fulfilled, in spite of great
opposition? Just think of Bethel and the twenty years of his wandering.
Had not the Lord always showed to Jacob's posterity, that He Himself
was the unchangeable and faithful God of Jacob, who was called by the
name of Israel. Why was he called Israel? Because the Lord by His power
gave Jacob the victory in the fearful wrestling at Peniel, when Jacob
succumbed with all his own righteousness and strength; but God's
strength was glorified in him, so that he emerged from the conflict as
a conqueror and became an heir of the land which the Lord had promised
to him and his seed.
    Did not this testimony give evidence of the Divine love for those
who had come forth from the waters of Judah? Judah is the tribe of
which the dying Jacob said, "Thou art he; out of thee shall come the
Ruler who will bear the scepter as the King of Zion to reign forever."
The Lord speaks to His people in these loving terms to humble their
hearts before Him, testifying also of their doings when he says, "Which
swear by the Name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel."
Although they swear by the Name of the Lord and make mention of the God
of Israel, yet the Lord must add these dreadful words, "But not in
truth, nor in righteousness." These sound like an accusation, like a
complaint which the Lord makes against this people in love. They swear
neither in uprightness, nor in truth, nor in righteousness. God looks
into the inmost heart, and notices whether His Name is feared in truth,
whether His people acknowledge Him uprightly. He sees the heart and
tries the reins of every man. Therefore, merely swearing by His Name
does not please Him. He aims to humble His people by showing His Divine
love and mercy. What does the Lord seek in His people and in all His
works? Only the glory of His great Name in the exaltation of His grace.
It is for this reason with so much emphasis and under threatening of
His judgment against those that transgress His commandments, He forbade
us to take the Name of the Lord our God in vain.
    We must now consider the third commandment, as it is explained in
the thirty-sixth Lord's Day of our Heidelberg Catechism.
    Lord's Day 36
Q. 99. What is required in the third commandment?

A.  That we, not only by cursing or perjury, but also by rash
    swearing, must not profane or abuse the name of God; nor by
    silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in
    others; and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no
    otherwise than with fear and reverence; so that he may be rightly
    confessed and worshipped by us, and be glorified in all our words
    and works.

Q. 100. Is then the profaning of God's name, by swearing and cursing,
    so heinous a sin, that his wrath is kindled against those who do
    not endeavor, as much as in them lies, to prevent and forbid such
    cursing and swearing?

A.  It undoubtedly is, for there is no sin greater or more provoking
    to God, than the profaning of His Name; and therefore He has
    commanded this sin to be punished with death.

    This commandment deals with the hallowing of God's Name. Let us
      I. the object of this commandment;
     II. what this commandment forbids;
    III. the command in this commandment.
    The object of this commandment is the Name of the Lord. This
commandment forbids the abuse and vain use of that Name. We are
commanded to confess the Name of God, to worship and use it with
    When we speak of the Name of the Lord, we must notice first that
the names which God bears, He did not receive from another. He is God.
He bears those names because He has thus revealed Himself to us. We
receive names from our parents for identification, but God did not
receive His Name from anyone. He has named Himself. He chose to give
Himself names, not because He needed them, as we do to distinguish
ourselves from others who are like us; but the Lord gave Himself names
to make Himself known unto us, in His Names, so that we would know His
divine Essence by His Names. There is none like unto God. He alone is
God, and all that is glorified instead of or beside Him is an idol.
Hence God did not give Himself those names for us to distinguish Him
from others who are also God. He is the only and the true God. Hear, O
Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Although there are many that are
called gods, as the Apostle says in his epistle to the Corinthians,
namely angels and men, men with divine authority placed above others,
whom Scripture calls gods; nevertheless there is but one God and
Father. To Him alone belongs the name of God.
    Socinus and some of the baptisms are determined to deny this. To
what purpose? To deny the true God-head of Christ; to deny that the
Mediator is true and eternal God. Does not Scripture state very clearly
that there is but one God, of Whom and by Whom are all things? He has
given Himself names to make known to us Who He is in His Divine
perfections and His eternal attributes. He gave us a little sampling of
this in the naming of the creatures. Of the animals it is written that
Adam gave them names according to their nature. This is true especially
of man. Consider the well known examples of Scripture, which show that
names had meaning in ancient times. Adam means red earth, because he
was taken from the earth. The name "Woman" was changed into "Eve"
because God had promised that the Christ would be born of the seed of
the woman. Eve became the mother of all living. Abram's name also was
changed, when God gave him the promise in Christ, and God made a
covenant with him. He was named Abraham. Sarai became Sarah because the
covenant relation was revealed in that name. Jacob, who held his
brother's heel and wrestled for his birthright, was named Israel, when
as a prince he had power with God and prevailed. Moses means "drawn out
of the water." He became a leader of the people, whom the Lord was
about to deliver out of the land of Egypt. Peter made a confession, and
upon the petra of that confession (namely Jesus, the Son of God) the
Lord will build His church. Thus the Word of God gives us many examples
to show that people's names were formerly significant in relation to
their being, or to the calling which God laid upon them or to the work
they were to do.
    Today we no longer attach such meaning to names. John the Baptist
was called John. The neighbors were surprised that the child was given
that name, because no one in his relation had it. Apparently it was the
custom then already as it is now, that a child should be named after
someone in the relation. Originally a name was intended to reflect a
person's character. That practice was at best, a weak means of
expressing the manner in which God revealed Himself in His Names, and
identified them with His Essence. Although names now have no
significance in the sense that I have indicated above, we still feel
the close relationship that there is between our being and our name, so
that one who attacks our name, offends us most deeply. Is it not
written, "A good name is better than precious ointment?" It concerns
our being and our essence. How much more is this true in respect to
God: He who touches the Name of God, touches the Essence of God and
dishonors Him. He who takes God's Name in vain, mocks God and brings
His wrath upon himself; for he despises the revelation which God has
given of Himself. Which revelation?
    Come, let us examine a few of those names by which the Lord has
revealed Himself in the Old Testament.
    In the beginning God (Elohim as it is written) created the heaven
and the earth. El and Elohim in the Bible are translated by the name
God. Elohim is the plural form of El, which expresses particularly that
which already lies in El, namely, the omnipotence of Him, Who calleth
those things which be not as though they were. The name El Shaddai also
refers to God's omnipotence, especially as it is employed for the good
of His people; not only in the creation but also in the salvation of
His elect. We also meet the name Adonai, the Lord, as meaning the
possessor of His inheritance, the possessor of His people whom He made
to be His possession, and whom He keeps as the apple of His eye. He is
Eljon, Who governs all things, Who is the strength and refuge of His
people. He is the Lord Sabaoth, the God of Hosts, Who leads the mighty
army to destroy His enemies and to save His people. Finally, consider
the very highest name, Jehovah. The Lord says that Abraham did not even
know Him by that name. This does not mean that the name Jehovah did not
appear in the Bible before God revealed the content of it to Moses. It
did, but the great significance, the great contents of that name, God
first revealed when He was about to lead the people of Israel out of
the bondage of Egypt. Even to Abraham, the friend of God, the Lord had
not revealed that name. God first prepares His people for the
revelation of the mysteries of His Divine Essence for their salvation.
God prepares His church for the revelations He wishes to give. Just
when it seemed that God had changed, when it seemed that the Lord did
no longer remember the promises which He had sworn to Abraham and his
seed; when it seemed that the people who were in the house of bondage
in Egypt, black with servitude, must despair of ever obtaining the land
of Canaan; when the people stood at the brink of death, -  then the
Lord said to Moses, "I Am That I Am. I am Jehovah, Who is, Who was, and
Who shall be the same from eternity to eternity."
    Here it is evident that in His Names by which He called Himself, He
revealed Himself for the good of His elect and the comfort of the
entire church. He gives to His church those revelations of Himself
which are in His Word, so that God's people shall put their trust in
His Name, that is, in God Himself. All of this is now comprehended in
the Names of the Lord, Jehovah, which are the revelation of His
Majesty, of His omnipotence, and of His unchangeable covenant. When the
Lord says, "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain",
we are to think of God Himself, of His majesty, and of His glory. The
poet cried out, "Holy and reverend is His Name." Never think lightly of
cursing, for it is an assault upon the Being of God. The calling upon
God's Name which is commanded here, the Lord will work in the hearts of
His people, so that they may find refuge in Him and He may become to
them a God of perfect salvation.
    The object of this commandment then is the Name of God; that is,
God Himself, as He has revealed Himself to us in His names in respect
to His Divine attributes and perfections.
    What does God now forbid in this commandment? This is the second
point which requires our attention. The Lord forbids us to use His name
in vain, that is, to use it loosely and without purpose, to use it
without acknowledging that He is the only true God. How do we use His
name in vain? The instructor tells us:
    First, by cursing. We by cursing must not profane the Name of God.
    We are given a dreadful example of this in Lev. 24, where the son
of an Egyptian father blasphemed the Name of God. It was as if a ray of
fire from hell shot through his heart, to offend God, Who is the
covenant God of His people and dwells in the midst of His people. Moses
then asked counsel of the Lord concerning this man. He had to be stoned
without mercy; he had to be cut off from Israel. In this example we can
see what lies in the act of cursing; it is the bitter hatred, the
enmity that lives in our hearts against the living God. It is an
offense against His Divine Majesty which He will surely vindicate in
the sentence of death. The blasphemer slights and despises God. You
find this also in the wife of Job when she tells her husband,
overwhelmed in the deepest misery, "Curse God and die", that is
"Renounce God, abjure Him, bid Him farewell and let Him go. Slight His
Name and His revelation. Turn your back to God. There is no God." There
you have, in the wife of Job, a living manifestation of what is
comprehended in cursing.
    This cursing of God arises from the pride and haughtiness with
which man opposes his Creator. Goliath stands upon a mountain, defying
the armies of Israel. David asks, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine
that defies the armies of Israel and defies the God Who chose that
people for His inheritance?" Then the shepherd boy approaches, armed
with a few stones in his scrip. "Am I", says Goliath, "a dog, that thou
comest to me with staves? And he cursed David by his gods." But God
vindicates His honour. The Lord defends Himself against the
uncircumcised Philistine, and he falls by means of the stone that David
slung, and with him fell his whole army.
    Rabshakeh stands before the walls of Jerusalem openly blaspheming
the most high God. Will not the Lord take issue with him who blasphemes
and scorns Him? God pleads the cause of His people against the
Assyrian. One angel smites a hundred eighty five thousand in one night.
You know what Belshazzar did when he became drunken, and in his
drunkenness despised the most high God and desecrated the holy vessels.
In that same night Babylon fell and Belshazzar died.
    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, nor curse
it, nor dishonor it by any means, not even in a fit of passion; not in
your pride or haughtiness of heart, and not in your anger. It is no
excuse when, being angry, we curse God, and say, "It was out of my
mouth before I knew it." Neither is it an excuse for this dreadful sin
when we say that it is a habit. Have you not met such persons more than
once who, when they curse and you reprove them for it, are surprised
and say, "Did I curse?" They did not even know that they cursed God. So
common has the blaspheming of God's holy name become. It is like
drinking water. Nevertheless, in this way God's holy name is taken in
vain upon their lips. In whatever way we misuse the Name of the Lord,
God shows His sore displeasure; for He will not hold him guiltless that
takes His Name in vain, even though we try to make an excuse. The names
of the Lord may be used only in a holy manner. This includes our
prayers. If there is a little tenderness and reverence for God's Name
in our souls, we shall not use the name of the Lord so often in prayer.
God's people are very often guilty of this. If we had the slightest
impression in our hearts that God reveals His own Essence in His names
and that He wishes to keep the use of His name holy, we would utter
that dreadful and holy name with awe and not use it as a pause. It is,
therefore, God's will that we hallow His Name and call upon it with
    In the second place, mild oaths, in which God's Name is somewhat
altered and vague, ought not to be heard among us. This is also
included under that which is forbidden. In addition, all false and
unnecessary swearing is forbidden. Since the next Lord's Day deals with
the oath in particular, we shall not discuss it further at present.
Nevertheless, such swearing and needless confirmation of our words with
an oath makes us transgressors of this commandment. Let your yea be yea
and your nay, nay. What horrid sins swearing and cursing are! A thief
steals and rejoices in what he gained unrighteously. An adulterer feeds
his flesh, but what does a swearer gain? How unrewarding this sin is,
to provoke God thereby and to arouse His displeasure over us. For there
is no sin greater or more provoking to God, than the profaning of His
Name. This does not mean to say that other sins are smaller, but this
sin is so heinous that we must hate and flee from it, because God has
threatened to pour out His anger upon it. He will not hold him
guiltless that takes His Name in vain or slights Him openly. Think of
Pharaoh for example, when he said, "Who is the Lord that I should obey
Him?" Think also of Arius and what secular history tells us of his
false doctrine, in holding that the Son of God is not the true and
eternal God. We are concerned here with the revelation of God in His
names, which derive their significance from God's Self-revelation. God
identifies His Essence with His names. We must therefore acknowledge
those names from the heart, to honour God according to His Word and
hate all false doctrines, for they slight His Name and the revelation
He has given us. We must commit our hearts to the old and tried truth,
and ascertain what God is pleased to reveal to us about Himself.
Indeed, the Lord observes so closely how we honour His Name, how we
hallow His revelation, that even they who hear cursing without
admonishing the blasphemer (the Catechism deals with this in the last
question) expose themselves to the judgment of God. This concerns the
government as well as every private citizen. We may not remain
unconcerned when God is blasphemed in our hearing. Shall we hear it and
pretend we did not? When we are reviled and disgraced, do we bear it so
patiently? How much more should we protest when God is blasphemed. To
be sure, it takes courage to speak with liberty and to shun the fear of
man. Therefore it is necessary for each of us to avoid such places
where he knows God's Name is taken in vain. Walk the streets, mingle
with the people, and you become afraid to associate with men or to come
in contact with them; for the Lord says in His Word that He is zealous
for His honour. The Lord observes whether we admonish others about
blaspheming. We often fear we shall have trouble in our business or in
our relation. This is the fear of man. Everyone is obliged to stand for
the hallowing of God's Name and to testify against those who blaspheme
God. God's children often sigh about it and pray, "Give me liberty to
speak against this evil, not in a spirit of haughtiness, but of
meekness." The Lord often gives such a testimony to them who seek to
glorify His Name, that the enemy is silenced.
    When the Lord forbids these things He also gives us a command. We
have not kept this commandment when we can say, "I have never cursed."
Each of us should be able to say that. All of us should be able to say
honestly, "I have never used God's Name in vain." But that is not
keeping this commandment.
    Therefore I said in the third place we must notice what God
commands in this commandment.
    What then does God command us?
    The Catechism says that we must use the holy name of God no
otherwise than with fear and reverence; so that He may be rightly
confessed and worshipped by us, and be glorified in all our words and
    By using an example I shall try to clarify what is meant. The very
greatest name, as I told you before, by which God has revealed Himself
is the name Jehovah. The Jews, because of slavish fear, are so afraid
to use this name that they dare not utter it, but substitute the name
Adonai. God did not give Himself the name Jehovah so that we should
avoid the use of it altogether, but He gave it so that we should indeed
use it. When the Lord says, "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord
thy God in vain", He means to say that we are commanded to use the name
of God rightly.
    What then is the right use of God's name? That He may be rightly
confessed and worshipped by us. Worshipping Him means calling on Him in
order that He may reveal Himself to us in His name. It means seeking
Him with our whole heart, in order that He may be found by us. It means
knowing Him as the only true God, who has revealed Himself in His Word
to salvation, in order that in Him we shall find the fulfillment of all
our needs for soul and body, for time and eternity. He testifies that
He is not only the Almighty, Who has created heaven and earth and
upholds them by His counsel and providence, but in those names He also
makes Himself known as the God of perfect salvation for His people, a
God Who pleads the cause of the needy and remembers His elect according
to the riches of His mercy. The words, "Thou shalt not take the name of
the Lord thy God in vain", do not mean merely we may not use that name
loosely, without an impression that He is the only true God, but it
means that He should be addressed with holy and filial fear, with a
deep impression in our hearts that He is the Cod of gods.
    These are the exercises of the people of God to whom the Lord
reveals Himself, to the end that He should no longer be the unknown God
to them, because by His Spirit He reveals Himself to them in His
attributes, His majesty, His righteousness and holiness. They fall down
at the feet of the Most High and cry unto Him out of the depths,
especially in the beginning of their way, when they seek the Lord
wholeheartedly, if happy they may find Him. They call on His name with
fear and reverence, which causes them to bow down in the dust, and they
do so even more as the Lord reveals Himself more to them. Consider the
example of Abraham, the father of all the faithful who said, "Behold
now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and
ashes." He opens his lips in holy reverence. Think of Job who humbles
himself in dust and ashes before the Lord. When God's people use the
name of the Lord in this way, they call upon Him in prayer, with such
impressions of His high majesty and eternal glory, that they are
nothing in themselves; for out of this knowledge of God flows the
knowledge of self. They acknowledge that the Lord is God. When Israel
halted between two opinions, desiring on the one hand to serve Baal,
refusing on the other to cast off the Lord, Elijah said, "How long halt
ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him, but if Baal,
then follow Him." God chose His people to serve Him. Into the heart
comes a knowledge which produces a confession that the Lord alone is
God, because He has not only objectively revealed Himself in His Word
and in His works, but He has also subjectively glorified Himself in
their hearts, in His divine majesty in Christ Jesus. From thence flows
that upright confession and making use of His Name. Such people cannot
keep silence. They are compelled to acknowledge His Name and to confess
His greatness, as well as the riches of His divine grace and
everlasting mercy, so that He may be glorified in all our words and
works, as the Catechism teaches. Praising the name of God is the
greatest pleasure for God's people. Therefore their soul is grieved
when that name is dishonored. They sorrow when they must go on their
way in silence. On the other hand they experience their greatest rest
and joy, yes, gladness in their souls when God is glorified. They are
moved at times to exhort one another, "Come magnify the Lord with me,
for He is worthy and it is His due that every knee should bow before
Him. Who would not fear Thee, Oh, thou Creator of the whole world; for
to Thee does it appertain."
    Let this be the theme of our song as we sing Psalter No. 199 st.
        "His Name shall evermore abide," etc.
    If now our nation were to be judged according to what God demands
in this commandment, then we should have to tremble and say, "What will
become of our people and our country?" God will not hold him guiltless
that takes His Name in vain. You dread to walk the streets and to be
among the crowd. By men of high and low degree, God's Name is cursed,
abused and blasphemed. Oh that we had a little insight in the
God-dishonoring character of this evil, so that we might receive
freedom to testify against the terrible abuse of God's Name without
respect of persons. The Lord says, if you are in their presence and
remain silent, or if you associate with them and do not warn them, you
too, will bear the curse and this judgment will come upon you. This is
not written in vain. Beware of thinking that God is not so precise, for
He has said emphatically that He will not hold anyone guiltless. Let us
stay away from those places where we know there are swearers and
blasphemers. Boys and girls, do you see how necessary it is to admonish
and to remind one another that we should live as a separate people? We
must be a peculiar people who separate themselves from the world. This
does not mean that we should become recluses  - not at all. Each has a
place in the world and must occupy it. In my previous congregation
there was a storekeeper who said frankly, "If you swear, you may
leave!" Are we as faithful as he to make ourselves free of our fellow
men? God's secret approval is worth more than a few lost customers. Let
an employee speak freely about this to his employer, humbly asking the
Lord to keep him from becoming high minded. How guilty we are, both you
and I, because we have more fear of man than fear of God.
    Perhaps there are among us some who use profanity. Boys, do you use
God's name in vain? You older ones, are you careless in the use of
God's name? God does not forget your swearing. May you enter your
closet, praying, "Lord, enter not into judgment with me." Let each in
his own life and at home with the children, seek diligently to persuade
one another of the majesty and highness of God, so that we may also
hate all profanity. There are some, even among God's people who
thoughtlessly say, "O Gee." That is profanity. Such language indicates
that there is little or no realization that we have to do with God. All
of us should take heed and remind one another that man must give an
account of every idle word he speaks. Is it not dreadful that this
nation is known for its profanity? "Oh, no", say the people, "we are
only using strong language." At least, so they justify their profanity.
Has the government no duty in this matter, a duty which it utterly
neglects? This is one side, the serious side. The Lord says, "I hear it
and record it in My book; I shall not hold them guiltless."
    But now the other side.
    I began by saying that God's Name is the revelation of His Divine
Essence. The Lord says that He reveals Himself so that we should make
use of that name, call upon Him, seek Him, know Him, and acknowledge
Him as the God of salvation. When we are in trouble we call upon the
name of the Lord. We pray before meals, when we arise in the morning,
and when we retire at night. Let it never be forgotten, and when you
are among strangers, do not be ashamed to bow your knees before God.
Boys, will you resolve never to forget or neglect it when you enter
military service in the near future? You may be mocked and despised for
doing so, but remember, God is worthy a thousand times over to be
honored, feared, served, and loved by each of us. Pay no attention to
the mockers. Soon God will mock when their fear comes and laugh at
their calamity.
    Remember that we are speaking here not merely of a form prayer.
This commandment is not kept by your saying, "I have the liberty to
offer prayer in my family and among strangers thereby resisting the
mockers. I am not ashamed to do so." But God desires truth in the
inward parts. In Isaiah 48 God says to His people, "But ye do it not in
truth." Have you even once called upon the Lord in truth? Three times a
day you pray your form prayer. I do not reprove you for it, but ask:
have you ever abandoned your form prayer to carry the needs of your
soul before God? Have you ever complained, "Oh God, with all my
formality I am traveling to eternity, and I cannot meet Thee so"?
Formality in worship is a stench in God's nostrils. Have you ever felt
anything of the righteousness and holiness of God impressed upon your
heart? It will bear fruit and bring forth the complaint, "O Lord, my
whole life testifies against me. With all my calling on Thee I do not
know Thee and I can no longer live without Thee." That is praying. Have
you ever observed that Paul, when he was still Saul, a pious man, who
spent his life praying and thinking, actually prayed for the first time
when he experienced the turning point of his life? This took place on
the way to Damascus when God showed him that it was Jesus whom he
persecuted. We know this because the Lord said to Ananias, "Behold he
prayeth." Then Paul needed God for the first time.
    The Lord says, "I am the Lord, and there is none else. I am Elohim,
the Almighty; I am the Lord Sabaoth, the God of hosts; I am Jehovah who
makes known to My people the certainty of My covenant and the stability
of My faithfulness." Will not these revelations testify against us if
we harden ourselves? Should we not pray day and night, "Lord, keep me
that I do not dishonor Thy holy names; that I do not become angry and
looking upward, curse God and the king. Lord, teach me to pray before
the lamp of my formality is put out soon in obscure darkness."
    Children, ask God to convert you. Boys and girls, you do not know
how soon God will pour out the vials of His wrath upon the world; where
will you then hide? Our boys are going into the battlefield where death
lurks everywhere. May we remember our boys at all times. But for us
death is also near. Only a step, and we are no more. Then God will say,
"I have made known to you My names. Where is the use you made of them?"
Then the judgment will be poured out upon us and the door of grace will
be shut for ever. Let us then call upon the Lord while it is called
today, lamenting our guilt before the Lord. When a man becomes guilty
before God, the majesty of God is impressed upon his heart. This brings
him into the depths, in humility and works in his heart the realization
that he can no longer live without that God. This is characteristic of
all his people. Then they begin to use the Lord's Name aright. In their
trouble they cry unto the Lord, even at midnight, or when they are
alone at their work; in a ditch in the field, or behind a shock of
corn. They cry, "O God, convert me, that I may be reconciled with
Thee." Is it not true? Let them tell us in what frame they left the
church after the arrows of His Word pierced the heart. They fled to an
inner chamber, and said, "Lord, I see Thy holiness and Thy
righteousness; I can never meet Thee." Thus they learn to know that it
was necessary for God to have revealed Himself fully in Christ. Today
there are many who say that they have received something, and they talk
endlessly about it. I would ask one question: Where were the wrestlings
of soul to be reconciled with God? Do you want to meet God with an
uncertain "perhaps"?
    It is the aim of God's people to know Him as the covenant keeping
God in Christ Jesus, as He revealed Himself as the Angel of the
Covenant in the days of old. When the Lord said to Moses, "I shall blot
this people out of My book", Moses said, "What wilt Thou do unto Thy
great Name?" God associates His name, His honour, and His Being with
His people. He cannot forget them. This becomes their plea at God's
throne of grace, in order that they may know such a reconciled God in
Christ. For there is rest and peace only in cleaving to Him as a girdle
cleaves to the loins of a man.
    Consider now the practical aspects of this commandment: How God's
people love His Name and His honour, how they love also the true
doctrine that agrees with His Word. Let us pay close attention to what
our boys and girls read. It is especially the new literature and the
new dogmatics that poison their minds. Read the old writers, both on
Sundays and during the week. Read the Catechism sermons of Rev. Vender
Kemp. I warn you earnestly, do not despise our old writers. God's
people do not read the modern books, but they desire to exercise
themselves in the fundamentals of the truth. Therein God's Name is
glorified and sanctified. Let us hallow the name of the Lord, people of
God, by seeking refuge in Him with all our needs. We sorely need the
Spirit of grace and of supplication in order to know and call upon God.
Thus trials also may be profitable to us, so that we may find our all
in God. Then we sink away into nothingness and praise the name of God.
Praising God's name, does not mean in the pharisaical pride of our
heart to say, "Oh God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are."
But God is praised by His people in deep humility with a clear
realization that true gratitude is no fruit of ourselves. Christ is
also the sacrifice of thanksgiving for His church. Thereby God is
glorified in His own work. Man's efforts are of no account, but God
attains His honour and His people their salvation. May they receive
liberty to speak out openly for His Name in a world that lies in
    Thus may this commandment accomplish the purpose for which the Lord
gave it, namely, that He may be rightly known and worshipped by us with
fear and reverence. Amen.

Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism in 52 Sermons, Vol.2
(continued in part 11...)

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