Exodus 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.”


As we continue our series on the ten commandments and the family, we come to the 3rd commandment: Do not take God’s Name in vain. What does this mean? Does this command involve saying curse words with God’s name in it? Although I don’t think it’s good for a Christian to use profane language, this is not what God is referring to here, not directly anyway. Job 11:11 uses the same Hebrew word for vain which also can be translated “deceitful” or “wicked.” So, to take God’s name in vain is to use God’s Name wickedly. How do we do this?


We could swear to something, then add God’s name in order to give our testimony more authority and power. We could call down God’s authority by using His Name, as if He obeys our demands. This is manipulating God’s name for our own selfish purposes. We are not permitted to do this. God’s name and authority will not be manipulated.


This occurred in one place in Scripture when some Jewish exorcists tried to use Jesus’ name to cast out demons. But since they were not permitted to use God’s name deceptively, they were attacked by the demons. They were not under the authority of Christ so they were using His name under false pretenses. The exorcists didn’t fool the demons and they gave them a severe beating (Acts 19:13-16). A father should teach his family to not treat God’s name like a genie in a bottle. God wants the trust and obedience of every family. The family has no right to manipulate God for their own purposes.