2004-07-30 - The Third Commandment
The Ten Commandments, Part 3
Exodus 20:7 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.
What do you initially think of when you read this verse? Cursing with the word God or Jesus? Obviously we shouldn't say "oh my God," (which is commonplace right now) or other explicatives that include His or His Son's name. But that is just the "tip of the iceberg."
Webster's Dictionary defines "vain" as "empty of value."
When we do something purpotedly for God, but that goes against his character - like screaming to people they are going to Hell if they do (or don't do) a certain thing - this is empty of the value of God's character. It is abuse of His name.
When we build a beautiful church, but make certain people feel excluded (those of another color, those who are divorced, those who are mentally ill, recovering alcoholics etc.), we are taking His name in vain, by not representing Him in love and welcoming the "least of these," the Prodigal etc.
In fact, since we are His ambassadors as Christians, any time our behavior or words fail to reflect God's character, we are taking His name in vain.
I challenge you (along with myself) to ask God to reveal any ways you are taking His name in vain.
Comments or Questions?