I was driving through Manchester one afternoon when I saw this door and I had to stop and take a picture. Look at it closely. It says “Majestic Arms Hotel” but it says it in worn, poorly placed adhesive letters. The door is dinged and nicked, and the building itself is in pretty rough shape. But who wouldn’t want to stay at a place called “Majestic Arms”?
It got me thinking about a lot of things, including the hotel that Elwood Blues lived at in the film The Blues Brothers (although that was just an ADD moment).
How often do we meet things like this in life. It has a great name; it sounds fantastic; but the reality has nothing to do with the name. And then I started thinking about one of YHWH’s commandments to Israel. He was quite plain actually:
Do not take the name of YHWH, your God, in vain.
What did he mean? Contrary to popular parental advice, he did not mean that we are not supposed to use the Lord’s name as a swear word. It just does not mean that. YHWH was commanding his people to not slap his name over their way of life, not to synchronize being a “YHWHIST” with being whatever they felt like.
In other words, don’t slap the name of the one great God on the shabby practices of human religion and behavior.
This is what the owner of this hotel has done. The hotel was probably once pretty classy, but now it is just a run down piece of urban decay. It does not deserve the name. The name has become empty. And this is what happens in the lives of many people who take YHWH’s majestic name and slap it on their lives without really changing. The name means nothing. It is vain.
Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Your name transcends all things. Help me to remember that it is your name I bear in my life and actions. Help me to refurbish and renew my life according to your Word and to not simply be an empty shell with your name plastered on my decaying door.