“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.”
— Exodus 20:7
Can you remember the last time you heard someone using God’s name in vain? People do this so regularly that it often doesn’t register in our minds anymore. In fact, blasphemy and profanity are so common these days that Hollywood film producers feel they must include them in their pictures to draw crowds.
This wasn’t always so. In Old Testament times, no one could even speak God’s name (Yahweh) except the high priest, who could say it only once a year (when he entered the Holy of Holies). Whenever the scribes who copied the Old Testament Scriptures came to God’s name, they had to bathe, change their clothes, change their pens, confess their sins, and pray before they could write it. Then with great reverence they’d dip their pens into the ink only once. They wouldn’t dip their pens again in the middle of writing God’s name. That’s the kind of reverence God’s name deserves.
Some people say, “Taking God’s name in vain is just a habit. I don’t mean anything by it. I don’t even realize I’m doing it.” How sad that we sin so repeatedly that our consciences have become seared and hardened, making us unaware of our ungodliness and wickedness. Such people often find their lives crumbling around them, and they don’t know why. They don’t realize that God punishes those who take His name in vain.
Despite God’s clear command to treat His name reverently, many continue to swear. Jesus tells us the reason for this. He says that the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart. If your heart is a sewer, your mouth will be a gutter. But when God cleanses your heart, your lips become clean.
Do you struggle with taking God’s name in vain? If so, ask God to purify your heart. As you submit to His cleansing, He will replace your foul speech with a purity only He can give.