We read the words of the Lord in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”  While the Lord has many names (Jehovah, El, El Shaddai, Jesus Christ, etc.) each name describes a different characteristic of the Lord and deserves our highest respect.  We read in Exodus 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.”  A parallel verse in the New Testament says, “Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, THAT THE NAME OF GOD AND HIS DOCTRINE BE NOT BLASPHEMED.” (1 Timothy 6:1). 

To “take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” is whenever we use the Lord’s name in any way that is not respectful to His person.  People often use the Lord’s name when swearing at someone.  How terrible!  People might use the Lord’s name to get themselves out of trouble (i.e. – “I wouldn’t do something like that, I’m a child of God!).  To exclaim JESUS! or CHRIST! in reaction to someone’s words or actions is also highly disrespectful.  The Lord does not take this lightly. 

As believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be very careful not to use the name of the Lord in any way that does not show utmost respect.  “OMG” and “Oh my God” are words/expressions that are said to show excitement, unbelief, surprise, etc.  This phrase is not used to honor the Lord, but to show exclamation. 

Philippians 2:8-11 declares, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him A NAME WHICH IS ABOVE EVERY NAME. That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  This portion speaks to the dignity of the Lord’s name.  It should be that whenever we hear His name our knees should bow (literally or figuratively), and our tongues acknowledge His Lordship.  The day is coming when EVERYONE will do this!  Romans 14:11 says, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  How greatly we should revere the Lord’s name. 

The Lord’s disciples faced severe persecution for promoting the name of the Lord Jesus.  We read of one particular occasion in Acts 5:40-41, “…and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, REJOICING THAT THEY WERE COUNTED WORTHY TO SUFFER SHAME FOR HIS NAME.”  The Lord’s name embodies His person, His character.  Instead of using His name in vain, may we learn the privilege of suffering for His name. 

Have you used the Lord’s name in vain in any way?  I trust the Lord will convict your heart and cause you to value His name.  1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  If you have used the Lord’s name in an unworthy way, confess this sin to the Lord.  He will forgive you and cleanse you! 

May we be as the psalmist who wrote in Psalm 86:12, “I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.”  (473.4)