What’s in a Name?
“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.”
Moses further clarifies the meaning of this commandment in Deuteronomy 6:13 by commanding the people, “It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.” So narrowly speaking, this idea of taking the name of the Lord in vain is relating to making vows by His Name and not keeping them. But in light of the fact that this next commandment closely resembles the first and progresses from it, let me add that failing to keep our vows is only a fraction of the way we take God’s Name vainly from day to day.
Consider another application that hits closer to home in our crooked and perverse generation. The first rule, “I am the LORD your God,” relates to God’s Being, as we said, and this rule proceeds logically from that, “You shall not take the name of the LORD in vain,” which relates to His character. In other words, once we know that God is, we’ll need to know Who He is. Which is why a name is so important. A substance is invisible, but a name gives it form, describes its identity, sets it apart from all else. So keep that in mind as you filter through the various narratives being spun in society today, friend. How can elected statesmen repeatedly say that a biological man is a woman and a biological woman is a man? Easy: because they disregard the fundamental laws on which the world hinges. They begin by denying the immutable existence and unique character of Creator God, which then leads them to deny the immutable substance of created things. And everything devolves from there. Because if God’s Name isn’t an actual description of an actual Person—a real-life Being—then the names we use for ourselves and others aren’t either.
Sadly, those who take God’s Name as vain take all of life as vain. And they live in vain. And we don’t have to look very far in society to see the gaping emptiness into which that transversal leads.