The more I study the Jewish language, the more I am amazed at what I learn! The depth it adds to reading the word of God is awesome.
I again saw this truth as I studied a scripture from Exodus.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain. Exodus 20:7
I know most of us have heard this scripture, right? What, may I ask, comes to mind when you hear this scripture?
Many of us would answer that question by saying, “don’t use God’s name to swear or cuss.”
Or, “don’t use God’s name in a way it should not be used.”
However, as I was studying this particular scripture, I found a truth I had not known before. I was reading a book by Warren Marcus, he was talking about this scripture.
As Warren Marcus puts it, “taking God’s name in vain is not about a swear word to God’s name. It is so much deeper.” He went on to show us how the scripture should read in original Hebrew.
You shall not take the character of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His character in vain. Hebrews 20:7
This word name, is referring to God’s character. In other words, taking God’s name is vain is misrepresenting His character.
Let me put it this way. Have you ever found yourself in a situation, when those around you knew you were a Christian, but your actions were not that of a spirit filled born again believer? Oh, I know I have.
One time comes to mind today. My grandson had been bullied at school for almost two years by one person in particular. I was at the end of my rope with it. We all were. We had prayed and met with the leaders of the school until there was nothing left to do. When I received that one final call that he had, once again, been bullied and hurt, I lost it. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I lost my temper in front of everyone involved. Out of my mouth spewed everything I had thought about the situation and the people involved. It was not pretty.
Frankly, even today, I don’t regret what I said, but I do regret my delivery. I should have handled it better. That day, I misrepresented the character of God in me.
If we are going to say we belong to God, we should act like it. Our actions represent the character of God. Others should see God in us. We may be the only God they ever see. What does God look like to others, if they are seeing Him through us?
That day, they should have seen longsuffering in me. Why? Because the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in our life.
If we say we are Christians, yet we lie, gossip, steal or commit sins, we are misrepresenting the God we say lives in us. If we do these things, we are taking His name, His character, in vain.
If we don’t want to take His name in vain then we must not defile of discredit His character. His character in us. Warren Marcus says it like this, you shall not falsely misrepresent the only one true God of Israel and the Messiah, Jesus.
I don’t know about you, but as I read his description of this scripture, it was an eye-opener to me.
1 John 2:5-6 says; But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.
1 Corinthians 11:1 says; Follow me as I follow Christ.
We should never mold our character after anyone but Christ. We can respect and honor people, but we follow one example…Jesus Christ. The One who said, “I only do and say what I hear the Father do and say.”
Taking God’s name in vain is misrepresenting God’s character in our daily life. Ouch.
I don’t know about you today, but this insight, caused me to search my heart. And to repent. It called me to attention in my spirit. To become more aware of my actions and how people perceive me. Because they are perceiving the God I serve, in me.
The fruit of the spirit of God is; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. As we present this fruit in our lives, we will not be found guilty of taking the name or character of God in vain.
“Worship is a human response perceived when the divine touches the ordinary.” KP