No Careless Use

I. This Third Commandment is a strong warning against careless use of God's name.

A. The word choices are significant.

1. "Take" is a translation of the Hebrew word NASA, which is broadly used to describe the action of willful use, control or manipulation of an item or idea.

2. "Name," is the Hebrew word SHEM, which literally means "a position" and carries the idea of a mark or memorial. It implies a description of character.

a. Exodus 34:5-7 records the “name” of God.
b. Deuteronomy 32:3-4 gives another view of God’s name.

3. LORD GOD." is the use of YAHWEH ELOHIM . . . "self-existent powerful being(s)."

4. "In vain," is a translation of the Hebrew word SHAV, which describes "a desolation, an evil, a useless or worthless thing." This word is also translated "false" and "lie."

B. The various translations are instructive.

1. "Don't use the name of the LORD your God without a good purpose, because the LORD will not let anyone who misuses His name go unpunished.”  An American Translation, Wm. Beck.

2. "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God..."  New International Version, Zondervan.

3. "You shall not use or repeat the name of the Lord your God in vain (that is, lightly or frivolously, in false affirmations or profanely);" The Amplified Bible, Zondervan.

4. “Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will punish anyone who misuses His name.” Holman Christian Standard Bible

C. This was punished by death under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 24:16).

1. This is specifically called “blasphemy.”

2. Paul’s called his aggressive persecution of the Jews blasphemy   (1 Timothy 1:13).

3. Hymenaeus and Alexander “shipwrecked” faith is an example of blasphemy (1 Timothy 1:20).

4. Hypocritical behavior is called blasphemy (Romans 2:17-24).

II. This Third Commandment is amplified throughout the Old Testament.

A. The basic concept is expanded.

1. Wicked people express antagonism against God (Psalm 139:20).

2. Two major examples are identified (Leviticus 19:12):

a. Making a false (untrue, unrealistic, unmeant) statement using God's name (Jeremiah 5:1-3; Matthew 5:33-37).
b. Wounding ("Profane"- injure, destroy) the name of God through words or actions (Leviticus 20:1-5).

B. The examples of such disobedience are instructive.

1. It involves a bad testimony (Ezekiel 36:20-23).

2. It involves improper service (Ezekiel 20:39-40).

3. It involves giving the second best to God (Malachi 1:10-14).

4. It involves an immoral lifestyle (Amos 2:6-8).

5. It involves improper use of holy things (Leviticus 22:2, 15, 31-33).

6. It involves stealing (Proverbs 30:8-9).

7. It involves a rebellious nature (Isaiah 59:1-13).

III. This Third Commandment is amplified and applied in the New Testament.

A. We must maintain an accurate communication (Matthew 5:33-37).

1. We are not to take “oaths” in God’s name (Matthew 5:34-36).

2. We are not to “exaggerate” in God’s name (Matthew 5:37).

B. We bear the “Name of Christ” (2 Timothy 2:19).

1. We are to do “all” in Christ’s name (Colossians 3:17, 23).

2. We are “known and read” of all men (2 Corinthians 3:2).

C. We must guard our speech (Colossians 4:6).

1. It cannot be Corrupt (Ephesians 4:29).

a. Communication must be truthful (Daniel 2:9; Matthew 5:37).
b. Communication must not flatter to deceive (Daniel 11:32; Proverbs 26:28).
c. Communication must not center on evil.
1) Not evil about each other (James 4:11).
2) Not the evil of ugly or shameful things (Ephesians 5:3-12).
3) Not even the evil of the civil leaders of your country (Titus 3:2; 2 Peter 2:10-12).

2. It must be about good things (Titus 2:8; 1 Peter 4:11).

3. It must give grace to the hearers (Colossians 4:6).

4. It must not grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).

5. It must bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

B. We must conduct our church activity to honor the Lord's name.

1. Church unity is expected (1 Corinthians 1:10-13).

2. Church discipline is demanded (1 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Thessalonians 3:6).

3. Church testimony is critical (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:1).

C. We must teach accurate Bible doctrine (Matthew 15:9).

1. It is a declaration of truth (Psalm 78:4-7).

a. Colossians 2:8 warns against philosophy.
b. Ephesians 5:6 warns against deception by "vain words."
c. 1 Timothy 1:3‑7 and 2 Timothy 2:16‑17 speak of "vain jangling."
d. 2 Peter 2:18-22 speak of “vain talkers.”

2. It is not a search for new truth (2 Timothy 3:7-8).

The Ten Commandments


Living in His Light and His Love

A Life of Loving God's Word in Psalm 119

The Power and Perseverance of Grace

A New You and a New Life

A series of lessons on chapters 1-11 of Genesis

The People and Power of Christ

A series of lessons on the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

A series on the book of Revelation

Loving God and Loving Others in Exodus 20

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