The Lord’s Name in Vain

As we journey through Exodus 19-24 this week our MULTIPLY reading, I am walking a bit more slowly through the 10 commandments. It is impossible to unpack that passage in one sermon, so I am jotting some thoughts down along the way this week to spur on more thinking.

What does it mean to NOT “take the Lord’s name in vain?” The NIV says  “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

Through the time of deliverance God kept unfolding his name to Israel. As he “unpacked” the power of his name, it was important for Israel to keep recognizing Yahweh was the One who had delivered them. To not revere that fact was to “misuse” his name.

J.K. Bruckner in his commentary on Exodus said this:

This is a direct reference to remembering who had delivered them. God’s reputation was tied to God’s name in the exodus. Its “use” or “lifting up” in a positive way declared God’s works of grace and deliverance. To speak of the Lord after Sinai was also to declare that God’s laws were formative for the new community of faith. To speak of God without reference to the creating law and redeeming gospel could be a vain use of God’s name, that is, God’s reputation.

Remember who delivered you. Remember who redeemed you. Hold him holy. To use his name is to refer to HIM.

May my words truly reflect the holiness of my God!

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