Talking Point #54 – do not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain

You may recognize this post title as one of the Ten Commandments.  Even if you aren’t a Christian you probably recognize it as being a Christian element.  The point is, you’ve heard it before.  And you’ve no doubt heard it incorrectly explained as using foul language.  Do not “say” God’s Name as in a curse word (use your imagination here…I’m not going to write it).  Hands up if you believe that’s what this command means…most of your hands are up.  But does the command say “do not say”?

“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.”
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.”
Deuteronomy 5:11

As you can see, it has nothing to do with speech, in either of the places in which the command appears in the Bible (in fact, both are the same, word for word).  So if it has nothing to do with “saying” His Name, we have to examine what it means to “take” His Name.

How many of you are married?  How many of you ladies, when you married your husband, “took” your husband’s last name?  How many of you took your husband’s last name in vain?  By that I mean, how many of you took his name but didn’t mean it?  How many of you took your husband’s last name as your own but didn’t act like you were his wife?  How many of you men want your wife to take your name yet fail to act like your wife?

Are you starting to see the point God (of the Bible) is making for you in this command?  God is saying simply that if you choose to accept His Son, Jesus Christ (of the Bible) as Lord and Savior, ACT LIKE IT.  Act like you are His.  Act worthy of the salvation offered you.  Don’t merely seek fire insurance but serve Him as a bondservant, an ambassador, one who loves his Master:

And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.”
Exodus 21:5-6

In the account above, don’t read this as slavery.  Slavery is not the point here whatsoever.  What is pointed to here is servitude, or a sense of “longing” to serve out of love.  Jesus (of the Bible) exemplified this:

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:26-28 (NLT)

We also see Paul talk about his calling to serve Jesus (of the Bible) and his recollection of how he used to blaspheme the Name of Christ (once again, not referring AT ALL to the use of language but in his lack of respect of Jesus as Lord):

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
1st Timothy 1:12-13 (KJV)

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.”
1st Timothy 1:12-13 (NLT)

The Proverb writer has this to say about taking the Name of God (of the Bible) in vain, and it, perhaps as the best example yet, very clearly shows that his actions are what he considers to be taking the Name in vain:

“Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”
Proverbs 30:7-9

In the above example, the Proverb writer is asking God to neither put him in a place wherein he could be so satisfied that he forgets God and accredits his success to himself, nor put him in a place wherein he has nothing and he has to steal (a breaking of God’s commands) and thereby (through his actions) take the Name of God in vain.  He paints a pretty clear picture for us from which we should learn.

And lastly we see our personal call to serve through the acceptance of Jesus (of the Bible) as Lord and Savior:

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:14

So, now we have a clear, Biblical understanding of what it is to serve – this is the same as the command to NOT take His Name in vain.  It means do not take His Name and then FAIL to serve!  How many of us would go to school to get a Master’s degree and then fail to use it?  Would you not put it on your resume and advertise that you hold an advanced degree and that you are available to USE it in the workforce somewhere?  Of course you would…so why don’t we advertise that we hold an advanced SALVATION and use it to study the Word of God to make ourselves available to USE it in the world somewhere?

Why would you take His Name in vain?

By now you must be thinking, what does this have to do with “Jesus is NOT in the Quran”?  I’ll tell you.

God (of the Bible) created this command with the meaning as explained here, all the while building with His Word (the Holy Bible) and with His Son as the example, the picture of a marriage as representative of our relationship with Him!  Is not the church called “the Bride of Christ”?  Is not Jesus (of the Bible) called “the Bridegroom”?  Are we not looking forward to a “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”?  It isn’t hard at all to see God’s (of the Bible) use of the marriage as an example for how we are to conduct our relationship with Him.  The marriage is supposed to be a place of love, comfort, trust, and a knowledge of one another not shared with anyone else in the world!  Husband and wife have intimate knowledge of one another that is special and reserved only for the bonds of matrimony, and are a “shadow of things to come” as far as they represent (or, they are a type) of the special bond and love we are to share with our Bridegroom.

The false moon god of Islam knows nothing of this special relationship.  He couldn’t care less what you do with his name because he doesn’t love you nor does he want or need your love in return.  In fact, all he wants from you is your service, and that to a self-denigrating, literally self-destructive end of yourself.  There is no notion in Islam of a loving god that cares for his people.  There is no notion in Islam of respect for the marriage (even to this day, Muslim men are allowed to marry up to four wives – where is the “special” relationship in that?) or the sanctity of the personal relationship shared between a man and a woman.  There is no intimate knowledge (sure, there may be sexual relationships, but sincere care, love and desire to create a relationship unknown by all others – I don’t think so).

We could continue discussing the lack of love in Islam as the example as set by their false god, but you get the point.  Even in the act of giving His commandments to us, God (of the Bible) has set an example of pure love and devotion and His desire that you give Him that.  He won’t force your hand…it’s your call.  He won’t make you love Him, but He’ll accept it if you decide to do so.  Meanwhile, the capricious and “unknowable” god of Islam gives himself away through his lack of such a command, proving again his being different from the God of the Bible, and proving that…

Jesus is NOT in the Quran!

About LTSMinistries

Bible Teacher and Founder of Learning to Serve Ministries
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