Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Exodus 20:7 (NIV)
“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
Exodus 20:7 (MSG)
No using the name of God, you’re God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain [that is, irreverently, in false affirmations or in ways that impugn the character of God]; for the Lord will not hold guiltless nor leave unpunished the one who takes His name in vain [disregarding its reverence and its power].” -AMPLIFIED
Many of us take this verse to mean that we should not use God’s name as a swear word, but there is so much more entailed and involved with not using or taking God’s name in vain. God is holy and we are to treat Him with the respect, reverence and honor that He is due.
“Using the name of God in a casual, frivolous way establishes a mindset that diminishes and dishonors the omnipotent God. Using the name of God to abuse, manipulate, or deceive invites judgment.” -AMPLIFIED footnote
What exactly is meant by “taking God’s name in vain”? “In vain” is actually defined as; “not yielding the desired outcome, fruitless, lacking substance or worth, empty or hollow.” This would be using God’s name lightly or in an empty, frivolous way. It would be emptying God’s name of all significance and importance. This would bring dishonor to Him.
Jesus spoke these words of wisdom to His followers, “Again, you have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not make false vows, but you shall fulfill your vows to the Lord [as a religious duty].’ But I say to you, do not make an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God; or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you are not able to make a single hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” -Matthew 5:33-37 (AMP)
God spoke through Ezekiel, the prophet, of the restoration of Israel from captivity. Something of importance stands out in part of Ezekiel’s prophecy in Ezekiel 39:25, “Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob (Israel) and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine].” (AMP) God is jealous of His holy name!
John Piper shares these thoughts on this verse:
“So I think taking the Lord’s name in vain is more than “O my God!” or “Jesus Christ!” It is that plus more. The positive way to look at it is to revere God, love God, delight in God, know God, fill up God with all that he is. And then out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak. I think it is far better to take the commandments and not focus so much on the negative—that is “don’t lie, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t kill”—but rather focus on where those come from, and put the emphasis there. And here, “don’t take his name in vain” would mean that you take his name in vain because he is empty to you. Your mind doesn’t feel the weight and fullness of his glory. So that’s the key: vain is empty. Don’t empty God of his weight and his glory. Fill it up rather than emptying it.” -Desiring God
It is important that we are not taking the name of the Lord lightly in our daily living. Let us remember to give Him the respect, honor and reverence that He is due; for He is God Almighty. Do not empty God’s name of its significance; for He is a jealous God and will not tolerate the misuse of His name.
Lord, I desire to give you the honor, reverence, and glory that are due you. I do not want to ever be accused of taking your name lightly, but I know there have been times that I have. Forgive me, please. Help me to give you the respect that is due you. Help me to be brightly shining my light for you. You are my God and I want others to know how wonderfully, marvelous, and loving you are. Let my life be a testimony to that fact, dear Lord. Your name is glorious, God. I will lift you up and give you all praise.