Tuesday, September 13, 1994


READ: Exodus 20:1-7




"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain."


Exodus 20:7


The third commandment was taken so seriously by Israel that at one

time the scribes wouldn't even write the name "Yahweh" (Jehovah)

until they had first taken a bath and changed their clothes. Then

after they had written it, they would take another bath and change

their clothes again.


Their focus on the word itself, however, often over- looked the

broader implications of the commandment. J. I. Packer says, "What

is forbidden is any use or involvement of God's name that is

empty, frivolous, or insincere." This includes any irreverence,

for it fails to take seriously God's character and reputation,

which is represented by His name. Nor are we to use the name "God"

or "Jesus Christ" as profanity, because this expresses neither

praise, worship, nor faith.


The commandment also relates to breaking a promise when God's name

is used to back one's word. But even when no reference is made to

God, every promise we make to another is done in God's presence

and is therefore as binding as if we had invoked His name.


How the third commandment condemns us all! But thank God for the

name "Jesus," which means Savior. He provides the forgiveness and

help we need to keep the third commandment and become men and

women known for being true to their word.


- Dennis J. DeHaan


*In what ways do I hear people misusing God's name? *How am I

guilty of breaking this command?




If you care about God, handle His name with care.