Honoring The Name of God Ex. 20:7

Honoring the Name of God

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:7

The name of the Lord stands for the very character and being of God. In Exodus chapter three, God had made known the very glory of His nature in His name. When God proclaimed his name to Moses, He described His character to him (Ex. 34).

Here they were forbidden to 'take the name of the Lord your God'. Keil in his commentary said that the Hebrew word translated 'take' "does not mean to utter the name" and declares that this word never has that meaning. Rather it "retains its proper meaning 'to take up, lift up, raise".  It is the invoking of God's name. People would call on the name of the Lord (Ps. 79:5; 99:6). The prophets thus would speak in the name of the Lord (Deut. 18:7, 22). Jonathan told David that he had 'swore in the name of the LORD' (1 Sam. 20:42).  His name was to praised (Ps. 7:17; 9:2). They were to bless the name (103:1). They offered thanks to the name (Ps. 106:47). They ascribed glory or blessedness to the name (Ps. 96:8; 113:2).  Such seems to be the 'taking of the name'.

They were warned not to take the name IN VAIN. According to Keil the etemology of this Hebrew word was "to be waste, it denotes that which is waste and disorder, hence that which is empty, vain, and nugatory, for which there is no occasion."  Normally we think of this commandment in the sense of profanity or a careless and irreverent use of God's name. To be sure, this IS included because such profanity often invokes the name of God in careless and irreverent ways. People who reverence God need to refrain from invoking God's name in frivolous and insincere speech. No more 'OMG' to be written on Facebook. No calling upon God to damn someone for personal offences against us. No more using the name of God as a simple, meaningless exclamation. It also means no more calling upon the name in empty, ritualistic, and hypocritical prayer. Surely the idea of making an oath in His name cannot be done in deception and falsehood (see Lev. 19:12).

Let us speak of God with reference and awe. Let us speak in such a manner at all times that glorifies his very being. Let us hold forth the glory of God's character using His name in speech that proceeds from a pure, believing heart. We don't refrain from using God's name, we use it freely in speech that glorifies Him.   "I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High" (Psalms 7:17). "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! (Psalms 96:8).

As we have sung many times: 

Father, we love you,

We worship and adore You;

Glorify Thy name in all the earth.

Glorify thy name,

Glorify Thy name

Glorify Thy name in all the earth.