You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain
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March 29, 2020 –

Most of us are familiar with the Ten Commandments. We’ve been taught them since Sunday school and, if we’re old enough, probably even remember seeing them on the walls of our classrooms.

Most of the Commandments seem quite obvious and logical. Of course God doesn’t want us to kill, steal or commit adultery.

But one of them never made a lot of sense to me:

Exodus 20:7 (KJV):

“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.”

What does that mean to you? If you’re like me, it’s probably meant that you shouldn’t curse; or you shouldn’t say things like God d*** it; or use the name of Christ in the place of another choice four-letter word.

That’s probably exactly what your parents, a pastor, priest or other spiritual leader taught you from a young age.

And while it’s true that saying such things isn’t a good look, is that what YHWH meant when He gave the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel on Mount Sinai?

In my opinion, the answer is no.

Here’s why.

Mount Sinai was the marriage between YHWH and Israel

Much like we’ve discussed about the relationship with Christ and His church being as a marriage, so was the relationship with YHWH and Israel at the time of the Exodus.

YHWH brought Israel out from the bondage of Egypt into the desert with the promise of giving them their own land “filled with milk and honey.”

But before they would be led by YHWH from the desert into the Promised Land, a marriage needed to take place.

The covenant YHWH made with Israel that day on Mount Sinai was that marriage; Moses and Joshua were the two witnesses of the marriage, and the Ten Commandments was the marriage contract.

So what did YHWH mean when He said they shouldn’t take His name in vain? Why was that such an important part of the marriage contract?

Taking YHWH’s Name

When you marry someone, what do you do?

You take their name.

“In vain” literally means “without success or a result.” In other words, YHWH was declaring to Israel that they should not take His name in marriage and then leave it before seeing it through until the end.

Of course, as the story continues, Israel later began to fashion other gods and idols and worship them in place of the Living God.

They broke the wedding contract by doing this and took His name in vain.

As such, YHWH left his bride to wander for 40 years in the wilderness, eating quail and manna, before finally being lead into the Promised Land by Joshua with their victory at Jericho.

Swearing isn’t taking His Name in vain

The next time you slip up out of frustration or anger and say the name “Jesus” in place of a curse word, remember, that isn’t taking His name in vain.

God sees the heart of His bride. He knows if you remain committed to your marriage to Him by worshiping no other god than Him; whether an idol god crafted of gold, or the love of money.

Where does your heart stand right now? Will you see your marriage to Christ through until the end?

Continue studying here.

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