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Ten Commandments 3 - “You Shall Not Take the Name of the LORD Your God in Vain”

Manmin News   No. 747
July 09, 2023

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).

To ‘take someone’s name in vain’ is defined as to show a lack of respect when using somebody’s name. So, to take God’s name in vain means to use the holy name of God improperly, in an ungodly manner.

God will not leave people unpunished who took His name in vain. Let’s now delve into the three reasons why taking God’s name in vain is a sin that deserves punishment.

First, it means they don’t believe God the Creator so it is a sin.

Of philosophers who have tried to look deep into life and all things, there are some who say that God is dead, and some ordinary people recklessly say God does not exist.

A Russian astronaut once said that he had seen no God after flying into space. However, American astronauts said after their journey to space they had felt the presence of God. Being an astronaut, the Russian must have been aware how small what he saw and explored was of the whole universe. But he said God, who had created the universe, didn’t exist after seeing such an extremely tiny part of it! How foolish this is!

Psalm 53:1 reads, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ they are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good.” If we look at things with a humble heart, we can find as many proofs of the living God as we want (Romans 1:20).

Furthermore, many preachers testify to the living God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet if some harden their hearts, reject God, and by extension, then take God’s name in vain, it is definitely a sin that leads to punishment.

Second, taking His name in vain is mocking God, so it is a sin.

Mocking is treating someone with disrespect or ridicule. Who can be considered sinless who dares to mock God the Creator?

Psalm 96:4 says, "For great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; He is to be feared above all gods.” Exodus 33:20 reads, “But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’” As written, God is great (1 Timothy 6:16).

We don’t even carelessly call our parents or persons we respect by their given names in Korea. When we have to speak directly to them, we use honorific titles. When they read the Bible the people of Israel didn’t even say the name of God with their lips. As the name of the ‘LORD God’ shows up in the Bible, they just said, ‘Adonai’, which means ‘My Lord’, not to directly mention the great name of God.

But today even some believers use the name of God or quote from the Bible to make pointless jokes, which is to mock God. The Word is God, so if some disrespect it, this finally means they disrespect and mock God.

Telling a lie in God’s name is taking His name in vain as well. Suppose someone comes up with a good idea through his own thought but says it came from the voice of God or the urging of the Holy Spirit. If he takes God’s name this way, this is very rude to God.

God knows our hearts, thoughts, words, and deeds, and judges everybody according to what we have done. Believing this, we can’t commit such sins that dare to take His name in vain and mock Him.

We have to be aware of one more thing here. If we revere God, we must be very careful about doing things related to God as well as saying His name.

When we read or quote from the Bible, we must do it in a godly manner. We must cherish sanctuaries and things there and treat them carefully. If we are in charge of church finance, we must spend it precisely with so much care. If we mistakenly break a cup or glass in church, we must not just get away with it. We must remember that even small things in church were consecrated as God’s possessions.

When we talk about somebody whom God guarantees with His power, or about the works of the Holy Spirit, we must be prudent not to judge or speak rudely with our fleshly thoughts. As said, if we revere God, then we will try to treat anything that belongs to God in a godly manner.

Third, it is a sin because they tell a lie in God’s name.

The Old Testament shows false prophets misled people by proclaiming something God had not spoken. They spoke as though it were God’s Word or a prophecy from God. God warned such people in Deuteronomy 18:20, “But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”

If one dares to tell a lie under the name of God, the punishment is death and such people bring themselves under the punishment (Revelation 21:8). If they vow in God’s name and do not keep it, it is also to lie in God’s name and thus to take His name in vain. It is as Leviticus 19:12 says, “You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the LORD.”

But today even some believers lie by God’s name. They habitually say “I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit while praying” or “God accomplished this” although it was not God’s work at all.

Of course, God’s children should be able to hear the Holy Spirit tell and be guided by Him. But not all children of God can hear the Spirit’s voice unconditionally. To the extent that they cast away sins and change by truth, they can hear the Spirit’s voice more clearly. Even though they are able to hear it to some extent, they have to undergo a training process to discern it exactly until they attain 100%. Thus, if we aren’t able to clearly discern it, we must not conclude recklessly whether something is the work of the Spirit or not.

The same applies to other spiritual experiences such as dreams or visions. For example, some dreams are given by God, but some others come from one’s own thoughts or from Satan. We cannot say easily our dreams were given by God. And when somebody says to us the Holy Spirit told him something, we have to be discreet. Neither must we say ‘it is’ nor ‘it’s not’ the voice of the Holy Spirit and we need more discretion.

Some people face disasters because of their own sins, but they say, “God has stricken me.” When things go as they wanted, they say “God blessed me.” But when the same thing doesn’t go well after some time, they say, “God hindered me.” They change their words like this, and they habitually misuse the name of God. Some think it is the confession of faith, but carelessly using God’s name to show off is totally different. Those who acknowledge God in all things will be more careful to mention God’s name on their lips and will try to act in truth.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, if you honor God from your heart, you won’t take His name in vain and you will do everything with reverence for God. I pray in the name of the Lord by doing so you will also find favor from God and all your words and deeds be guaranteed by Him (1 Samuel 2:30) so that you will arrive in the most glorious place in Heaven.




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