“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse His name.”
Exodus 20:7 (NLT)
Today taking God’s name in vain is an increasingly common practice and God and Jesus Christ are universally used as swear words. God has many names–back at the time of the burning bush when God told Moses to lead the people out of Egypt Moses protested and said, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they will ask me ‘What is his name?’ Then what should I tell them? God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. Say this to the people of Israel. I Am has sent me to you…Yahweh [translated The Lord] the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations.’” (Exodus 3:13-15)
Bad language is on the increase. But in Moses’ time, “Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel.” (Leviticus 24:16). And hundreds of years later in Jesus’ time the punishment was still death. The Jews picked up stones because they accused Him of blaspheme: “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:33). Although we now live under the New Covenant of mercy and the death penalty is no longer appropriate for blasphemy, it is still a serious thing to take God’s name in vain—it is still a sin and an offence to God.
Leviticus 19:12 says, “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the Lord.” And God tells us in Leviticus 19:37, “You must be careful to keep all of my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice. I am the Lord.” So, “…whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17)
Can we say with David, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”? (Psalm 19:14). If you can then, “…Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” (Luke 10:20)
Father in Heaven, Your name is great. Help us not to misuse it, but to glorify you in our lives, using your name to witness of your love and mercy.
Study by Jill Newman
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Local Congregational Contact: