The third commandment

>> October 1, 2009

I've never really studied the 10 commandments in depth before, but we are doing that in our lifegroup and I am loving it.


This last week was about the 3rd commandment:
"You shall not take the name of the Lord Your God in vain."

This commandment has always been about cursing to me.
That's what I learned in Sunday School.
I had never really thought about what "in vain" means beyond that.
Here's what my bible dictionary says...
"To take His “name in vain” means to consider the name empty or meaningless: to deny or doubt His presence and power."
The Hebrew word translated as "in vain" here is often also translated as emptiness, nothingness, worthlessness, to no good purpose. It is a word used for idols. It also connotates using the Lord's name lightly, unthinkable or by rote. Or using God's name for selfish gain.
(Does that last part remind anyone else of the Pharisees?)

Of course that means to not use His name in cursing, but it means soooo much more.

I love John Stott's commentary on this. He says:
"What kind of misuse of God's name is envisaged? The commandment certainly forbids blasphemy and profanity. It will also include false swearing, that is, taking an oath and breaking it. It is better, Jesus taught, not to swear at all. Honest people do not need to make promises by oath; a simple yes or no should be enough (Matt. 5:33-37). Then there is a yet more serious misuse of God's name. It arises from the fact that a name is more than a word; it is a person and that person's character. We then misuse God's name whenever our behavior is incompatible with his character. To call God "Father" and mistrust him or to call Jesus "Lord" and disobey him: this is to misuse his name."

Wow. This goes hand in hand for me with what I said in my last post about words and actions. If I say I trust God and don't represent that in my actions, then I am definitely misrepresenting who God really is.

Forgive me Lord where I fall short here.
Help me to be more aware of my actions and what they truly say.

Am I the only one who never learned the depth of what "taking the Lord's name in vain" means?





6 responses:

Christy October 1, 2009 at 11:02 AM  

Great points on both posts my friend. Always good to rethink through something we have learned all our lives and make sure we "get" it. :)

Scott October 1, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

I was just thinking about this verse the other day. I wonder how the actual "name" of God comes into play here. For the Hebrews this commandment meant using God's actual name, Yahweh, in vain. Descriptive names such as lord were not part of the issue. I wonder how this affects our modern situation. Is the term God the same as the name Yahweh?

Rhonda October 1, 2009 at 9:30 PM  

Scott,
I went back to a couple of Bible dictionaries to double check the rest of the passage and her is what I understand was being said:
"Do not lift up or exalt the name or renown (the fame or reputation) of Yahweh, the God you worship, in a deceptive/empty/worthless way"

The Hebrew word translated as your God means the true God and the note with that said "though the form is a grammatical plural, the meaning is singular and many sources think implies a majesty or stateliness. Yet, this word also means idol. It definitely implies worship.

Eileen October 12, 2009 at 1:42 PM  

Wow, that really spoke to me, I never thought about it in that way. Thanks Rhonda!!!

Crystal October 14, 2009 at 11:51 AM  

Interesting. I've never studied the Ten Commandments in depth either. Makes me think....

Kelsey October 20, 2009 at 8:45 PM  

Wow this really spoke to me today! Thanks!

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