The LORDS name
This is a series on the “Decalogue” or “Ten Commandments” these are found in the second book of the bible Exodus in chapter 20. Moses receives these words from God on top of the mountain and he receives the commands on two tablets. The first tablet contains the instructions for man’s relationship with God. We pick up the account in the seventh verse of chapter twenty where we see the third of the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:7 (ESV) “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.
What does this mean?
This is probably one of the most straight forward commandments between us and our relationship with God. To take the LORDs name in vain is simply to not give it the holiness that it is due. To profane it, use it as a profanity, use it in a manner that does not deserve the name of a holy God.
How do we do this?
This list is not exhaustive however “You might be a…” (Sorry Jeff Foxworthy)
2) Using the name to curse
3) Using the name to swear
4) Using the name as an oath
5) Using the name to lie
6) Using the name in a superficial way
7) Any other profane use
Makes you think huh? Are you guilty? Have you repented?
Is this not overkill?
Jesus didn’t think so when he gave us the LORD’s prayer. Lets look at this in the gospel of Matthew:
Matthew 6:7 (ESV) “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Jesus begins the prayer with the words “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” What more do we need if the Son of God deemed it appropriate to ensure that people who would be following him would know that they had to respect, revere and understand the holiness of that name.
The LORD will not hold him guiltless…
Exodus 20:7b …for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
This is a stiff penalty huh? This has led to some Jewish traditions such as not even writing the name of God down for fear of misrepresenting the name and heaping destruction on themselves.
I see this also in Messianic Jewish writings too where they call God “G_d” and I appreciate their care and desire to preserve the holiness of the name of the LORD. Is it necessary? Perhaps, then again perhaps not.
As God knows the heart of the person who is doing these things, he will know what is behind what is being done and the heart of why it is being done and to God that is much more important than losing a vowel in a name. If you keep this commandment and your heart is far from him in all other areas then really it does not matter all that much.
Jesus spoke about this in the Gospel of Luke chapter 6:
Luke 6:46 (ESV) Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
What a question! “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” talk about going straight to the heart of the matter Jesus! As stated prior in this article, we cannot hide anything from God. He sees the parts that we manage to keep hidden or keep a lid on to satisfy our own delusion that we are able to come to him by our own strength when in fact we are just simply debtors who have been forgiven much.
Cross the finish line
It is easy to think those who live a life full of sin, far away from God, drunk every night, on drugs often and have never entered a church since the days where they were made to by their parents are the ones that God is referring to here. I would state that is not the case.
God is appealing to these people that is true, God does not desire that any should perish but in reading many commentaries and articles about this commandment I feel that we have missed something.
Jesus spent much of his public ministry rebuking the ones that other saw as holy. As Christians and those who should be studying the Scriptures you would think that we would have learned from their mistakes.
We have to be careful that we do not acknowledge God with our words but are far away from him with our hearts. I am speaking to the guys who are regular attenders at church, often times they are the best tithers, the ones who are regarded well in church, some are even on leadership in church but these are the ones who acknowledge God on a Sunday, are heroes in the faith in the church building but do not literally give the LORD the time of day on a week by week basis, you never open up to the possibility that God will work in your life because you live a life without him, that to me is a greater taking the LORD’s name in vain.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.