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Read: Exodus 20:7-11

You shall not take the name of the LORD [“Yahweh”] your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain (Exodus 20:7)

The Third Commandment instructs us to protect our use of the name of God, Yahweh. Professor Philip Graham Ryken writes:

Yahweh, or ‘LORD,’ is much more than a name. It is God’s identity. This was the whole Hebrew understanding of names. For us a name is a label; it is something we have, not something we are. But for the Hebrews the name was inseparable from the person. It expressed a person’s inward identity. When we use the name of God, therefore, we are referring to the essence of his divine being. *

Jesus put this commandment in a positive form when He taught us to pray: “Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name.” (Matthew 6:9) To be “hallowed” is to be honored and treated as holy, held in reverence; beyond that, it means that we honor God Himself as holy — as God!

God’s name represents how God reveals Himself, and we are to honor all He has revealed:

His works and actions are holy, including creation and Jesus’ work on the Cross; His faithfulness is shown toward His covenant; His revealed character and personality are to be honored and valued. His commands are worth obeying.

When we approach a gathering for worship, we’re going to a place and time dedicated to honoring God’s name. It’s possible to get in the car and go but not be ready to honor God’s name.

  • Is there any frustration in your approach to God in worship? Seek God’s forgiveness for this selfishness.
  • Are you flippant about the words spoken, the songs sung, or prayers prayed? Ask God to let you honor Him by valuing Him. Hallowed be thy name!
  • Are you physically in a worship gathering, but your thoughts are elsewhere? Shakespeare’s Hamlet said, “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; words without thoughts never to heaven go!”

Father, please help me to honor your name, your personality, and your reputation. As I ponder the power of the cross, show me what it means that you have highly exalted your son, Jesus, and bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name! Jesus, let me enjoy and treasure your mighty works of rescue and so honor your work and name. Holy Spirit, help me to see Christ clearly, so that my eyes are filled with your holiness!

* Philip Graham Ryken, Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory. Crossways, 2012