The Third Commandment: Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain


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.

This commandment is a strange one to those who don’t keep it. It is simply this: Speak reverently of God, and do not speak for Him who has not charged you!

To the puritan remnants in our society, this excludes us from using the names of God irreverently. There’s a whole class of foul language called “blasphemy”, and we would do well to avoid it. (The other classes — curses and vulgarities — are well avoided, but for a different reason.)

If we consider God to be a true God, then invoking His name casually is a serious no-no.

Consider a scientist who happily throws around the words of his trade inappropriately. What kind of scientist would he be? Certainly not one you can take seriously.

What about a president who throws around the words of his office casually? Again, the same fate befalls him. He risks losing all power altogether to vanity.

If we as a society took serious things seriously, then we would be better off for it. Let’s avoid the use of sarcasm around serious things, because otherwise we risk confusion and discord. Let’s avoid using serious terms incorrectly or else we risk losing them altogether.

But let’s especially avoid the deceitful practice of claiming to speak for God when we do not. When we do this, we alienate all of our society from God, as well as ourselves. How many false preachers and prophets do we have in our nation today! And what happens if a true prophet and preacher were to approach us? We would quickly regard him as false as well.

I think an important example is what has happened to the Climate Change scientists. Because of a few scientist who claimed to speak for Truth when they knew no such thing, the entire reputation of climate scientists has evaporated. Now, were the polar ice caps really melting, it would take serious work to repair the reputation of these scientists to the point where people would believe them. This is the punishment that God has described, and the inevitable punishment of irreverence.


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