Ex. 20:7 “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.”
This third great command from God seamlessly follows the first two commands. 1. Have no other gods before me and 2. Thou shalt not make any graven images. The first command God gives us his awesome greatness. The second command he tells us not to make false gods out of wood or stone and He is a Jealous God wanting ALL of our worship. The third commandment gives us respect and humility towards God because of His awesomeness. God is all powerful, we are weak. God is omnipotent, we are mortal. Our vanity is worthless in comparison to God Almighty and His supreme universe ruling power. We are not to use God’s name (names) lightly and in any insignificant way. God is so great and so very wonderful that we must RESPECT Him at all times and HUMBLE ourselves before Him at all times. We must understand the first two commandments before we can do this. Making light of His name and using such words or phrases as GD this, OMG that etc. is disrespectful to God and shows an acute lack of humility on our part. We are nothing compared to God, thus we must rid ourselves of all our vanity and only worship God.
The third commandment is truly about RESPECT of God and His total awesome existence and our HUMILITY towards Him in this human existence of ours. The Hebrew word “vain” used in Ex. 20:7 means “worthlessness”. We are worthless and God is worth all. God is worth so much that He was willing to die for our salvation (John 3:16) and only He could do this. We should not ever make light of Him!
We keep from taking God’s name in vain by our humility to Him and by understanding our human pride and vanity is worthless. God wants a humble and contrite heart from us (Isa. 66:2; 57:15). All human activity is vanity to God (Ecc. 1:2). Pride comes before a fall (Pro. 16:18-19). Our pride will bring us low (Pro. 29:23). We must have the attitude of a child towards our God (Matt. 18:4). If we exalt ourselves as Satan did, we will be abased. If we humble ourselves as Christ did we shall be exalted (Matt. 23:12). God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble and we must humble ourselves to Him (James 4:6, 10). Humble ourselves before God so that He may exalt us (I Pet. 5:5-6). Humble ourselves before God as we worship Him in spirit and in truth. Never belittle God or casually throw His name around, by doing so we will be found guilty of disrespect to the Almighty Sovereign God and suffer the fate of the sinful (Ex. 20:7b).
How powerful is God? How humble must we be? We can read exactly of His great power and of the humility He requires of us in the book of Job. From Job 37:1 to Job 42:1-6 we read the most amazing story where God Himself describes His greatness to Job. God did this to crush the vanity out of Job. As God describes how he framed the universe and created all creatures we can see and feel Job becoming smaller and smaller in his own eyes, as we should become smaller in our own eyes in comparison to God. For a brief moment, we see Job begin to understand in Job 40: 3-5 but God once again continues on explaining His own greatness to Job. Finally, Job understands God. We read his remarkable words in Job 42:1-5. “Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore, have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job finally understood respect and humility towards God.
What are we compared to God? Nothing. God’s remarkable description of His great power to Job should give us all time to pause, to humble ourselves and to respect God. The third commandment is all about our respect and humility to God because He is truly all powerful and omnipotent and we are as nothing. He is too awesome to use His name in vain.