3rd Commandment – Respect God’s Name

Rule #3 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”   Exodus 20:7

Paul Dickinson has written a book called Names.  He has a hobby of collecting strange and unusually names.  He says sometimes names seem to be prophetic.  In 1941 there were two men who were executed in the electric chair in the Florida state penitentiary and their names were Burns and Frizzle.  There was a Montreal window washer who died by accident, falling as he was washing windows.  His name was Will Drop.  Others, he says, seem destined for certain occupations.  Joe Bunt became a baseball coach.  Dan Druff became a barber.  Jeff Treadwell became a podiatrist.  Goforth and Ketchum, two guys, became police officers and partners.  O’Neill and Pray became partners in church equipment.  Wonderfully Trembly, a psychologist.  Zoltan Ovary, a gynecologist.  P.P. Peters, a urologist.  A plaster contractor, Will Crumble.

Here in the Austin area there is Dr. Chop who does vasectomies.  His first name is Richard, is his nickname Dick?   Also there is a Dr. Barker, a Veterinarian

Have you noticed names come and go in cycles?  There would be years when say, “Lisa” was very common. Or Michael.   My Grandmothers’ name was “Maxine, “ her sisters were Mildred and Veatrice, and my Grandfathers name was Emile.”  They are the few people I know with those names. The days when they were popular are apparently gone.

Sometimes parents don’t take the responsibility of naming their children seriously enough and give names to their kids that become a real burden for them to bear. Like the former Governor of Texas, Jim HOGG, who gave his two daughters the names “IMA” and “URA.”

But fortunately most parents don’t follow the examples of Governor Hogg and use the task of naming their children as an opportunity to make a joke. Most parents take the task seriously because they realize that a person’s name is important.  We carry it with us all our life and it becomes a summary of who we are.

In the culture of Moses and the people of Israel names had even greater significance. In those days a name was much more than a way to distinguish one person from another and much more than an identifying label. It reflected the ESSENCE of a person. It was similar to the way we use a “nickname” like “shorty” or “red”.” But it was much more than that. In those days, names were also important because a person was felt to actually have been present in the name in a manner in which he would not have been present apart from the name.  The name WAS the person, so to speak.

God’s Name Represents His…


When I bring up a name,  we will automatically think of that person’s character. What character comes to mind when you see: Hitler? Mother Teresa? Charles Manson?  Billy Graham?

Many times in the Bible when somebody changed their character, their life was changed; and God often gave them a new name.  Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel, Simon became Peter.  Saul became Paul.  God would change their names because He said it represents the person’s character.

God’s name represents His character of being the creator, being holy, all powerful, all knowing and all present.


I am with you always”  Matt. 28:20

We need to remember that Jesus has promised to be with us always.  Since that is true we don’t usually take somebody’s name in vain that is standing right by us. When we recognize and realize that we’re never without God presence we’ll be a lot more disciplined in our speech, because He hears it all.


All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matt 28:18

The name of Jesus isn’t just another name. There is special power in His name! The Bible says that demons screamed and writhed and tore themselves from their hosts at the mention of this name. In the authority of this name the eyes of the blind were opened and withered legs were made strong and even the dead came out of their graves.  In the name of Jesus alcoholics have been made sober, harlots have been made pure. At the name of Jesus atheists have been made believers.  Addicts have been set free. Eternal life is found in this name.

How Do We Misuse God’s Name? 

Profanity.  The word profane means “debasing or defiling that which is holy or worthy of reverence.” So to “profane” something is to take something that is perfect and holy and yank it down in the mud to our level.

Impulse:   When we use God’s name as a convenient expression of fear or anger or joy or amazement or surprise.  “I just caught a 10-pound fish!  Oh My God!”  “Suzy’s pregnant!  O, my Lord!”  “I just split my pants, Oh My God!”  This is one that I have to remind my kids of often.  We’re reducing God to a level of a Wow! or a Far out!  We want to avoid making God an exclamation point.  God says, “when you use my name you take it seriously.”

“In Vain” literally means “empty.”  We can’t turn God into a cliché.  Insecure believers do this a lot.  They often try to prove how spiritual they are by their jargon, by using continuous religious phrases, spiritual clichés.  I feel like the more I use the name Jesus in a sentence then the more spiritual I must be.

Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.”  Matt 6:7 (NKJV)

Have you ever seen someone use God’s name as a filler in prayer?   If Niki made a great dinner how silly would it sound if I said, “Oh Niki, I just want to thank you, Niki for this bountiful harvest of a meal, Honey, Sweety it will nourishes our bodies, O Niki.  We just thank you sugar Baby.  She would think I was smoking crack!   Huh?

Notice the last part of this verse…  for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”   Exodus 20:7

To get a good understanding of this the best example I can think of is a word, that cannot be used lightly.  When it is used it is not thought of as a joke, it is serious you can be taken into custody by the law just by referring to it.  Here it is, The word is “BOMB” We know this is not a joking matter because we have all seen the power of a bomb.  The power to rip apart buildings, turn concrete to dust, to dismember bodies and extinguish the life out of anyone near by.  Authorities everywhere will just like the verse says, not hold anyone guiltless who misuses This name. 

Let’s respect the name of God.




About dkoop

Lead Pastor of Upwards Church: Leander & Jarrell, TX
This entry was posted in Journey with God - Exodus and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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