“You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain” (Genesis 20:7).
What does it mean to “take the name of the Lord your God in vain? It seems rather important because God said He “will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”
Does this mean if someone says, “Oh, my God!” he’s condemned to be punished? Let’s take a closer look at Genesis 20:7.
I was looking up the word “take” in Strong’s Exhaustive concordance of the Bible and it reads: h5375. נָשָׂא nâśâ’; or נָסָה naçah (Psalm 4 : 6 (7)), naw-saw; a primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literal and figurative, absol. and rel. (as follows): — accept, advance, arise, (able to, (armor), suffer to) bear(-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honorable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, x needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), x utterly, wear, yield.
I found the meaning interesting. One thing for sure that this commandment is saying is if we accept, take, lift up, advance, carry, exalt, and bear God’s name we represent Him. In other words, if we confess to belong to God, then we are His ambassadors. The New Testament says it like this: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Those of us who have accepted Jesus as Lord become ambassadors of His. We represent Him.
So what does it mean to “carry, to lift, to hold up” the name of the Lord your God in vain? Well, one thing for sure is those who do evil in the name of God will be held accountable. They will not be guiltless of representing His holy name. Murder, extortion, backbiting, lying, unforgiveness, malicious intent, sexual immorality, witchcraft, violence, and other works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) is carrying the name of the Lord your God in vain.
We must ask ourselves, “How am I representing the name of the Lord? What kind of ambassador am I?