God is quite strict regarding the honor of his name. In fact it is so important, it is included as one of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:7). “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.” Can we think that we can casually, callously, and carelessly throw around His name just because we are in the “day of grace?” I think not! As Paul declared in Rom. 6:1,2a, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.”
One way to take a name in vain is to lie and swear falsely such as would be done by a witness swearing on the Bible in a court or to use any phrase similar to “as God is my witness.” Lev. 19:12 gives this command, “And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God; I am the Lord.”
How might one profane the name of God?
- When using it in any form as an expression of a negative emotion. As in swearing his name when you hit your thumb with a hammer or when learning that a bill collector is ringing your doorbell.
- Christians should not use God’s name when trying to give advice or counsel to others. Some might claim to have an insight from God when they are really only trying to manipulate one to do or not do a certain thing. Such as “I feel like the Lord would want you to step out in faith and look for a new job.” Or me telling my grandson “I feel like the Lord would like for you to marry that girl you met last year.” 😀
- We can even profane the name of God by singing songs of praise from insincere lips and hearts.
- We profane God’s name when we swear an oath, fully aware that we are not going to do what we claim. We associate that with courts of law or making a pledge. In my church background we had a practice of bringing a baby for dedication to the Lord, promising to do all we can as parents to see that that child is taught in word and deed to walk right before God. Many times that was only to show off the beautiful newborn without real determination to take the child to church and teach it about God in daily practice.
- We can also profane his name by making it too commonplace. As we might tend to do by saying “God bless you” or “I’ll pray for you” without sincerity.
I had a neighbor long ago who asked me to pray for him as we were standing in the front yard. He was concerned about a negative diagnosis regarding his eyes. I took his hand there on the spot and prayed. He was surprised. He often referred to that incident. I’m telling you that because I know I’m not good at adding “I’ll pray for you on Facebook requests.” I’m forgetful and careless. So I prefer to stop on the spot, pray, then say, “I’ve prayed for you.” A lot of you can remember or keep requests on a prayer list. Bless you.
How sad for sons and daughters to denigrate the name of their fathers – most notably the children of God bringing dishonor to their holy and reverend Father. I remember when Sammy used to tell our sons to “remember who you are.” Of course, the implication was to remember your family name – don’t dishonor your name.
God is solicitous of his reputation. We are to pray, “Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name….”
How differently Jesus and the Prodigal represented their fathers’ names! When one considers the authority, the characterization, the reputation that is given to the child in his father’s name, one can glimpse why God’s name is so important to Him.
God’s name/Jesus, knowing God #4