Taking God’s name in vain is offensive, inappropriate

How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh my God!” this week?

Instead of saying, “Wow!” people often use God’s name as an exclamation point. “Oh my God! I got the job.” While some people may think this sounds extreme, it is a clear example of what it means to take God’s name in vain.

The scriptures are clear: God’s name should be spoken reverently. We should take His name seriously. Don’t ever speak His name flippantly or with disrespect. Don’t use God’s name as a cliché, filler or figure of speech. Be careful about speaking His name without even thinking about its importance.

Unfortunately, we have heard expressions like this so often, we have become accustomed to it. We have been desensitized. But I find it hard to believe that God has been desensitized to people taking His name in vain.

Exodus 20:7 tells us that we are not to misuse the name of the Lord, our God. That verse continues with a clear warning: “The Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name.” The third commandment should not be taken lightly.

Leviticus 24 says that a person caught taking God’s name in vain was to be stoned. It was a capital offense. God wants us to know that His name is important. When you misuse or disrespect God’s name, you are offending the creator of the universe. God wants His name to be treated with respect.

There are so many ways we can use God’s name correctly. We must reverence God’s name continually. Use His name carefully. Reference His name lovingly. Use God’s name as an act of worship.

In Psalm 29:2, we are invited to “ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.”

I am concerned that Christian people are far too comfortable with hearing God’s name being used disrespectfully. Shouldn’t Christians be offended whenever God’s name is spoken in vain? The problem is we have been desensitized to what is going on. But God takes this matter seriously, and so should we.

I have heard people say, “It doesn’t bother me. I hear it all the time. You should work where I work. It is no big deal.” Don’t kid yourself. It is a very big deal. It bothers God, and it should bother us.

We should be concerned whenever we hear someone speak His name irreverently, and we should never do that ourselves. Blessings are promised to those who reverence God’s name. (See Psalm 61:5)

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.