3rd Commandment: Taking God’s Name in Vain
Salvation Bible Basics
Notice in verse seven a third command. “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.”
A lot of people understand that commandment to mean that you aren’t allowed to curse. You can’t take God’s name or Jesus’ name and then link it with the word “damn” or some other expletive and curse. They are right for this commandment certainly forbids cursing. I would hope you have never cursed. But if you have, do you know how God views that? You have broken His law.
But let’s look a little closer. He says not to take “the name of The Lord thy God in vain.” The word vain means empty. It is not just talking about blaspheming or taking God’s name and cursing. It is also talking about taking God’s name lightly. It means lightly saying, “God said this,” or “God did this,” or “God will do this,” or “God told me to do that.” It even includes singing God’s name and not thinking about what you are singing. It includes just talking about God, but the heart not being attached to what we are talking about. It could be defined as a person mindlessly babbling about God. That is taking God’s name in vain. Who is not guilty now?
The Jews were very careful about this. When a scribe got ready to write God’s name, they had to wash their hands and then write with a special quill, and then they would go wash their hands again. They were careful about God’s name because it was important to them.
We use God’s name so lightly today. We joke about Him. We have comedies on television about Him. We make light of Him. The Bible says we are guilty because we have broken His law. We have taken His name in vain.
That is only the third commandment. How are things checking out in your life? We are not doing too well, are we? When we stand before God, these are the things God is going to examine us with. We are going to give an account for these things. God is going to check out these areas and we are going to be judged because we have broken God’s law.