The Ten Commandments
Page 2 of 9
You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God that we do not use his name to curse, swear, lie or deceive, or use it superstitiously, but call upon God’s name in every trouble, pray, praise and give thanks.
You would probably agree that my name, Randy Johnson, doesn’t tell you much about me, about what I am like, or what you can expect from me. Your name doesn’t say very much either about you either. That’s the way names are. The famous play-write said, “What’s in a name? Wouldn’t a rose smell as sweet by any other name?” Well, yes, I guess it would.
But God’s Name is different. In the book of Exodus, God tells us that His Name is special. “Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.’”(Exodus 34:5-7)
God told Moses that His Name represents everything He wants us to know about Him. He wants us to know that He is a God of justice. He hates sin and promises to punish it. Yet He is patient, merciful and compassionate. He showed His love by punishing His innocent Son in the sinner’s place. You and I are on the receiving end of His abounding love and faithfulness.
You can understand then just how important God’s Name is and why He would want to protect it from misuse and abuse. When we misuse God’s Name we actually insult everything that God is and everything that He has done out of love for us. But His Name reminds us of his love and compassion. And that leads us to want to use His Name for the purpose intended: “to pray, praise and give thanks.” Let us always marvel at His Holy Name and call upon it with thankful hearts and with words of praise. His Name is worthy of praise and honor.
O Lord, we praise and honor your Holy Name. Amen.