No Taking God’s Name in Vain (Part 1)

“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.” – Exodus 20:7

Q: What is the third commandment?

A: You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.

What does this mean?

Because we worship and love God, we should not use his name to curse, swear, lie, or cheat. Instead, we should call his name whenever there’s trouble, whenever we pray, and whenever we praise and thank him.

What does your name represent?  Do you know?  Does it have any special significance?

For many of us in our culture today, our name is simply a name.  It doesn’t hold any special meaning other than what we use to refer to ourselves.  But this was not the case when the Bible was written and it is especially not the case in reference to God.  There are many names for God in the Bible and they all have significance as they point to an aspect of his character and nature.

El Shaddai means “God almighty”.  He is all powerful.  Adonai means “Lord”.  He is the ruler.  The name Jesus means “Savior” because he saves us by his death and resurrection.  But the most frequent name for God is the name “Yahweh”.  This one is a bit harder to understand but most likely means that he is real, present, and accessible to all those who call on him for deliverance or forgiveness.

The point is that the names of God represent who he is.

In this sense, if there is any word that is not to be used flippantly or carelessly, it is God’s name.  That is why we don’t say “God” or “Jesus Christ” unless we are seeking to honor him and speak well of him.  Sadly, most people in our culture don’t share this feeling and use God’s name in a way that dishonors him by using it as a curse word.

God’s name represents his character.

Read Exodus 34:6:

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

  1. What does this verse tell you about God’s character?
  2. Of those attributes that God gave, which one are you most thankful for?


Our Father, thank you for reminding us about who you are when we say your name.  May we honor you in the way that we talk about you.  Help us to view your name as something that is precious and holy.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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