Truth of Love: Glorifying or Blasphemy?
Some atheists and agnostics unwittingly prove Yeshua/Jesus is Lord. What? It is true, I have heard them profane the name of Yeshua Ha Mashiach/Jesus the Messiah. When his name is used as a curse, disrespecting and defaming my Lord, the King of Kings, it grieves me.
Sometimes, I take the opportunity to let them know that his name is holy. Once I coughed, staring questioningly at an agnostic. They stammered, "Didn't know you heard. Sorry, forgot you're a minister." My response, "The Lord hears you all the time." Their stunned reply was, "Never thought of that."
On an elevator, the name of the Lord was profaned but turned into a prayer, when I reverently said, "Praise his Holy name." Silence ensued, as we rode the now tiny house of worship, provoking the riders to think.
Another incident is when I explained, "You just proved Jesus is Lord." They looked baffled as I continued, "You didn't say Buddha, Freud, or Muhammad, but took the name of the true living God in vain."
Many know better but do it anyway. Another minister experimented, while shoving his bag in the overhead compartment of a plane, he pounded the bag exclaiming, "Oh, Buddha, oh Muhammad." The result? Another passenger whispered, "Hey, buddy, it's Jesus Christ." The commandment applies to the casual use of God's name in interjections and curses, called blasphemy.
We may not have the words to speak up but we can pray against the spirit of blasphemy and for that person. Should we not be convicted? Our most high Lord teaches us that his name is holy and in daily speech should be used to bless, praise and glorify.
What about us believers? Maybe we don't take the name of the Lord in vain as a curse word but do we understand the depth of the meaning of the commandment, the deeper meaning of not taking the name of the Lord in vain.
The Hebrew translates "thou shalt not take in vain" by taking "in vain" as shav' which is "vanity; emptiness of speech, lying", while "take" is nasa' "to lift, carry, bear, take, take away". The expression "to take in vain" is also translated less literally as "to misuse" and sometimes the commandment is interpreted to be against perjury because invoking God's name in actuality is an oath, considered a guarantee of the truth of a statement or promise.
Examination of many Hebrew Bible passages refers to God's name being profaned by hypocritical behavior of people and false representation of God's words or character. Certain books in the Bible, such as Samuel, we see people confirming promises and covenants with such statements as, 'sure as Yahweh lives' but what we may not understand from our American culture is that such an oath could be a self-curse because the condition was the willingness to inflict punishment on the oath breaker. Now understand that spiritually these things can still happen today without repentance.
We need to be cautious about strengthening statements by bringing the Lord into our agreements because our word when invoking the Lord with it should never be taken lightly. This third command relates to covenant making within legal and personal situations. God opposes perjury. God values keeping ordination vows and marriage vows. It is serious business to commit to a vow made in the name of God.
Our words reveal our substance, the truth of who we are. They testify either of our devotion to God or of a spiritual problem. We know this because the command not to take the Lord's name in vain follows instructions to love God wholeheartedly and not to worship idols.
Leviticus 19:12 says, "Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I AM the LORD." (ONMB)
The most high Lord dealt harshly with false prophets in the original covenant for speaking illegitimate words in his name. That is why false prophets were stoned. Today that is not done but I would not want to be in a false prophet's shoes on judgment day. Our Lord cautions us not to listen to false prophets.
The third command also cautions us from proclaiming, "God told me this or that," unless we are positive it lines up with scripture. When the Lord sent me to another city to tell a woman who held a high position within her church community that the Lord said to stop fornicating or she would never find a husband -- that lined up with scripture (she obeyed, repented and is today married). The word the Lord gave specifically for her lined up with Holy Scripture and the Lord's name was not used in vain.
"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." (KJV)
Our Lord loves us, he died for us, he values us; which is why we should rejoice going forward as his witnesses, proclaiming the good news of the Lord's love. We prove how we value him by the integrity of our speech and our vows. May we never take our words lightly.
Blessings and Shalom