“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.” Exodus 20:7
I read an article in Sports Illustrated as a young boy when I came across an athlete using the Lord’s name in vain, in a perverse way that didn’t give God the honor He deserves. There was God’s name followed by a profane word. I did not fully know what it meant, but I knew it was not good. I wish I would have carried that same sentiment with me later in life, but the teenage years came, and I would sometimes use the same words I had read in the magazine. I fully expected for thunder to come down from the sky, but God was merciful to me in my irreverent and sinful use of His name. I hung around people who would sometimes take God’s name in vain, and it never sat well with me as I knew it was crossing the line, even though I did not seem to worry about it so much when I said it.
Our society thinks very little of God and says they don’t believe in Him, but yet they say His name in fits of anger or frustration. God is holy and is not to be taken lightly in any way, shape, or form, but we Christians take His name lightly in other ways that we do not even think about. We may not use His name as a curse word or use it in moments of frustration, but I have seen memes and cartoons that have taken God’s name in vain. I have heard Christian comedians make light of Him in order to get some laughs, and while it may seem funny, it is not honoring or respecting of who God is. I have heard pastors and other Christians get out of things or manipulate people into doing things by saying God was leading them in that direction. God had nothing to do with their decision, but it was their own idea to get someone to do what they wanted them to do. In a way, they are claiming to have special access to the Holy Spirit others do not have, and they attempt to use this to pressure others to do something they want them to do, or simply choose their selfish pursuits and blame it on God’s leading.
We may not think these things are a big deal, but they are a big deal because we are taking God’s name lightly and for our benefit. We sometimes even joke and say “God told me this or that”, knowing it is a jest and there is no truth in it. Isaiah 6:1 states, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train (of his robe) filled the temple.” Our God is not one who is on our level, and His name should not be taken lightly in any circumstance or for any reason. He is not a swear word and His name should be reverenced, and we should be cautious on how we use it. Phillipians 2:9-11 states, "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." One day the world will bow before our God, and each and every person on earth who has ever lived or will live will give Him the honor He is due. His name is above every name.
What about you? Do you take God's name lightly? Do you take His name in vain? Do you laugh when you should bow? Do you give God's name the reverence you should? Do you realize it is a high and exalted name? There will be judgement for the many times I said God's name in vain and for the times I took His name lightly...the times I breezed over His Word and did not take the time to listen to what He was teaching me... the times I quickly prayed over my food without even thinking about what I was saying, and the times I rushed into His throne room and did not give His name the reverence it requires. May we speak carefully when we mention our God, and may be careful to not take His name lightly. Will you give Him the reverence He is due? May we be offended for our God when His name is used in vain, and may we cover our mouth when we are tempted to do the same.
Stay in the fight!