“Thou Shalt Not Take The Name Of The LORD Thy God in Vain”
Exodus 20:7 – Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
I would imagine that, if you are like me, you grew up being taught that this verse alludes to the fact that you shouldn’t damn anyone by using God’s name. That is not only a reasonable thought, but undoubtedly an accurate one. There are, however, other verses that give us insight into taking the Lord’s Name in Vain.
For example, Leviticus 19:12 – And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I [am] the LORD. I am not sure, but I think this is why when a witness takes an oath to tell the truth in court, he places his hand on the Bible and is asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?,” the court is relying on you fulfilling the dictates of Leviticus 19:12. That is, at least, a reasonable take on the situation.
And then we have Ezekiel 39:7 – So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not [let them] pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Perhaps the key words here are “any more.” By implication it is safe to assume that the people were, or at the very least had been, polluting the Holy Name of God! But, as we can see, that foolishness was about to come to an end!
As God’s people of the past had been taking His Name in Vain, I guess we have to ask ourselves, “Am I taking His Name in Vain?” A while back, as I was cogitating on this and feeling pretty good that by far and away the most of the Christians I know do not damn anyone with God’s name, God spoke to me and shared a whole new take on this verse. In essence He said: “You know, Floyd, if someone calls themselves a Christian and does not ‘the will of My Father,’ they are taking MY name in Vain.”
That was a very sobering thought! You see, I fear that many people who are presenting themselves as Christians for their own self-promotion, or who don’t follow the Two Greatest Commandments: “Love the Lord thy God … and Love Thy Neighbor…” don’t think about, or perhaps have even never read, the latter part of Exodus 20:7 “…; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
Now, we have to get down to the real “Nitty Gritty” … are we taking the Lord’s Name in Vain?
The GOOD NEWS is this: If you have asked Jesus into your heart and do, in fact, “Love the Lord thy God … and Love Thy Neighbor…” you have nothing to worry about. And, as you read this, if this paragraph doesn’t describe you, it’s not too late to turn things around, and that’s even BETTER NEWS! You see, as bad as it is to take the Lord’s Name in Vain, it’s even worse not to take His Name in the first place. So, as my good friend Mark McCuen would say, “Love God, Love People” and be the type of Christian that Christ would want you to be!