“And ye shall not swear by my name falsely, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:12)
A few days ago I was driving down Expressway towards Highway 101 when I heard behind me a loud thumping noise. As I neared the traffic light and slowed down, there was a car with tinted windows that pulled alongside and it was vibrating as if an explosion was about to occur. The noise I heard was the pulsating beat of the bass on a car stereo playing music (?) that from a distance was unintelligible. When the car pulled to a stop beside me, I could then hear the lyrics of a disgusting profanity laced rap song. Nearly every word was unfit even for the gutter, but the worst of it was when it included the name of God.
These scenes are repeated day after day all across our city and sadly even in the homes of many Christians. I have spoken with people that are so used to hearing profanity that it unconsciously slips into everyday conversation without people even realizing what they have said. I have sat in my office across from people that have problems and as they explain some difficulty they will curse right in front of the preacher and don’t even realize it!
There is no way we can condone the degeneration of vocabulary in our society and much less can we overlook the inclusion of the holy name of God used in common speech as if we were speaking of a dog. The third commandment given by God restricts the use of His name. God’s name is holy and is to be revered. It is not to be spoken in normal conversation unless it is for the purpose of giving it all due respect and reverence. I often hear expressions like “Oh, God,” Oh, Lord,” “Christ” or “Jesus Christ” spoken by church members as terms of exclamation. God’s name is not for exclamation; it is for exaltation.
God’s name is not merely a designation that distinguishes Him from Harry or John or Steve. God’s name represents His person and nature. It is an expression of His attributes and includes everything that makes Him what He is. God’s name represents omnipotence, omniscience, holiness, righteousness, mercy, grace, justice, benevolence, loving kindness—and lest we forget it—wrath. If you are ready to speak His name, be sure you are aware of the consequences. “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.” (Exodus 20:7)
Pastor V. Mark Smith