|And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
| Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
What does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain? When I was young I was admonished not to take the Lord’s name in vain, and the sense was as an exclamation of astonishment, whether good or bad. Today, it is currently cloaked in the letters “OMG”, or “MG” or “OG” and perhaps “PTL”. In this current world we live in, we know, that the Lord Jesus Christ’s name is very often used along with profanity and cursing. But the use of the Lord’s name in vain goes far beyond using it in a cursing sense or as an exclamation of astonishment.
The key to understanding the depth of that prohibition lies in realizing the scope of the words “vain” and “holiness” as they relate to God. Exodus 15:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? We have nothing on Earth to compare the holiness of God to. He is pure in the most perfect sense. There is no margin of impurity allowed in His presence. Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: …? Everything on Earth is tarnished with sin. God is perfect in every respect. We have, (or should have,) no problem understanding “do not kill, do not steal, do not have any idols, or do not lie, etc. But when it comes to taking the Lord’s name in vain, we seem to have a very shallow understanding as to how far reaching that prohibition is. The Jews had some sense of the Lord’s holiness when they refused to say or write His revealed name.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary includes the following in the definition of “vain”, the context further defining the sense: worthless, of no value, fruitless, petty, empty, ostentatious, et al. Webster also closes his definition with the following: “To take the name of God in vain, to use the name of God with levity or profaneness.“ Here is where Christians may stumble a bit, not with profanity hopefully, but with levity. It is usually done to “lighten up the spiritual atmosphere”, but that has no biblical support. It may be a story, or a riddle, or a poem, tag line, etc. Nowhere in the Bible did the Lord start a conversation with a funny story or a joke. There is no levity in the Father’s business. We have joy with the Lord, not fun. Fun focuses on the flesh, joy on the heart and soul. If it is not in itself and in all points honoring to the Lord Jesus Christ, or to the Holy Spirit, or to God the Father, then I believe, that whatever it is, it should not be told.
But I say unto you,
That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:
and they are written for our admonition,
upon whom the ends of the world are come.
1 Corinthians 10:11