“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7
When you hear someone’s name you think of that person, what they are like, their reputation. Their name is part of who they are.
In the Old Testament, God sometimes changed a name to indicate his plans for that person: Abram means exalted father; Abraham means father of many. Have you ever heard of disgracing or dishonoring the family name? It can be a big deal.
God’s name is an even bigger deal. It is inseparable from who he is: holy, perfect, creator…the list goes on. Why would we throw his name around carelessly? When we call on the name of the Lord, we call on Him.
Another aspect of God’s name is his ability to keep his word. Think about when you make a promise to someone, you might say that you give them your word. Your word goes along with you, your name. We are sinful and don’t always keep our word. “Thus sayeth the Lord” is putting God’s name on something; he is perfect and always keeps his word.
It can be tempting to think that this command only applies to using his name as a swear word. But anytime we throw his name around carelessly or without the respect, reverence, and honor it deserves we are misusing his name. So next time you use God’s name, reflect on how you use it; is it honoring to God?
What are ways that you misuse God’s name?