The Third Commandment - Weekly Devotional
This week's focus: Ten Commandments
(this is the third in our series on the 10 Commandments)
3. Do not take God's name in vain.
We might wonder why there would be a commandment focusing on the use of God’s name, of all things, but when we consider the importance of names in the Bible, it is easy to see why the Lord would be concerned with how His name is treated. In Scripture, names reflect the character of a person, and this applies to God no less than it does to human beings (Gen. 32:22–32; Ex. 3:13–14). All that God is can be summed up in His name, and so to abuse His name is to hold contemptible His character. We must not misuse His name, lest we be guilty of this great sin. The third commandment reminds us that to set His name apart as holy is to give Him the reverence He deserves as our holy Maker.
The third commandment is the one modern culture is most adept at breaking, for hardly anyone blinks when the name of Jesus is used as an expletive in movies, on television, or in everyday conversation. The trivial use of this name has become ubiquitous; thus, we hardly remember that each misuse of the Lord’s name makes a person liable to the wrath of God. At the same time, this commandment is not always well understood in the church. Many Christians, for example, tend to think the name of God is taken in vain only when it is used in conjunction with four-letter words. Yet, while the third commandment certainly includes such cursing within the scope of speech that is banned, there are other ways that the Lord’s name can be taken in vain.
One way the name of God can be treated profanely is through cursing others. James 3:1–12 is clear that to mistreat human beings is ultimately to mistreat the Lord Himself because all people are made in God’s image. To abuse and disrespect, the part of creation that most reflects the Lord is to abuse and disrespect the Creator who made us to reflect His glory.
Adapted from Ligonier Ministries
Exodus 20:7 (ESV)
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain."
- Lord, I can be careless with my speech and forget that the sinful cursing of others, spreading gossip, and other such things are also ways we blaspheme Your name. Help me to think before I speak, asking the Spirit to help me control my tongues. Forgive me, Lord, for times when I don’t give Your name the honor it deserves and when I don’t give You the honor You deserve. May all praise be to You, God Almighty.
- Everyone knows America is divided -- but why? Our conversation with Os Guinness dives into a fascinating look at how our current cancel-culture, the sexual revolution, and Critical Race Theory stem from the French Revolution in the late 1700s. You’ll appreciate his robust view of history and Christianity and why he says no Christian can afford not to be engaged in our ever-growing secular society. Watch here.
We want to see God honored in America, and we pray for an unprecedented spiritual awakening.
This devotion was produced in partnership with Every Home for Christ.
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