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I’ve been thinking about the second of the Ten Commandments about not taking the name of the Lord in vain.  Does it seem strange to you that this should be there among the Top Ten, one of the worst things we can do?  I mean, it’s right in there with murdering and thievery and adultery and not telling the truth.  But, OMG, what if it means something more than just thoughtlessly using His name to emphasize our extreme emotion?

I’ve heard it said that this commandment is talking about calling Him Lord and not living like He is.  That is hypocrisy, another thing that we agree with God is not OK.  I mean, hypocrisy is right up there with injustice.  It’s not right.  Things don’t match up.  It’s an imbalance between what we say and what we do, just as injustice is an inequality, an imbalance in what is right.

But let’s take it further.  I was reading in Ezekiel and noticed all the references God made to His people being to Him as a bride.  Jesus even refers to this in calling His followers His bride for whom He will return one day.  But in the book of Ezekiel, He calls His bride a whore.  Yes, He actually used that word, and many times over.  He went into detail about what that looked like, but the upshot was that she (His people) had entered into covenant with Him, like a marriage, but then went after other gods.  He became jealous, like any husband would, and would do anything to gain His bride’s affection and devotion once again.

Then I thought about how in marriage, a woman takes on her husband’s name.  And in that name is a reputation.  Everywhere she goes, she takes her husband, so to speak.  “Oh, you’re so-and-so’s wife.”  There are implications there.  His reputation is hers, and hers is his.  It’s quite the deal.  (This goes for children and parents, as well, and is vice-versa for husbands and wives, but let’s go with this analogy for the purpose of this article.)  So for me to “take the name of the Lord” is not just to speak it, but to take it for myself, like in matrimony.  It is my identity.  I have entered into covenant with Him, and that covenant holds promises on both sides.

Ezekiel goes on.  God actually told him to tell His people that if they are going to continue to act like a whore, He would rather they go after these other gods whole-heartedly.  That’s called integrity, living what you say.  He called what they were doing profanity, claiming to be His but giving themselves to other gods.  He wanted them to make a decision and stick to it.  Jesus said a similar thing in the first part of Revelation, when He told this one church to either be hot or cold and stop being just lukewarm.  I’m getting the idea that God really likes people who are real.

So I have a whole new take on what is in a name.  I carry mine, my family’s, and my Lord’s.  I will not use them lightly, nor live them unworthily.  And I do not say this in vain.

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