Summary: Third Commandment: Christians should never bring shame to the name of God
What’s in a Name?
How many babies born in America are named “Adolph”? How about “Saddam” or “Osama”? Do you know anybody named “Judas”?
A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but some names get pretty stunk up by their owners, don’t they?
Of course, the opposite can be true, too. We can have a fondness for a name if it belonged to someone we loved and respected.
Kyle Rote, Sr., was an all-pro National Football League player of the 1950s. He was the captain of the New York Giants for 10 years. After his death, his son, Kyle Jr., said of all the compliments and awards his dad had received, one stood above the rest: 14 of his father’s former teammates had named a son Kyle.
The Good News Bible renders the third Commandment:
7 "Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the Lord your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.
Literally it is broader than that as the New American Standard translates:
"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
Before we dive into this commandment, I want to take a brief side trip.
The whole reason we are looking at the 10 Commandments is to help us to learn to live in a way that pleases God.
So we want to see not just the negatives but the positives
That is, we aren’t just looking for things we SHOULDN’T do, but things we SHOULD do.
You know that most of the Commandments (including this one) are stated in the negative: “Thou shalt not…”do this or that.
Whenever God says, “Thou shalt NOT…” we need to ask, “So what SHALT we do?”
If we’re going to use the 10 Commandments to help us in a guide for everyday living, we need to turn them around into the positive.
So what would that look like with the commandments we’ve covered so far?
The First commandment is: You shall have no other gods before Me
If we flip that around, we have something like, “You shall worship the one and only true God, as revealed in the Scriptures.”
The Second commandment is: “You shall have no idols or images of God.”
The positive side of that might be “You shall have a RIGHT concept of who God is.”
Now we come to the Third commandment: You shall not take the Lord’s Name in vain
If we state that in a positive way, we can say, “You SHALL bring God’s name honor” or “You SHALL treat God’s name with respect.”
In general, our culture takes names less seriously than perhaps any other culture in the world or any other time in human history.
Parents often choose their children’s names just because they like the way it sounds.
I know a couple who named their son Dawson, because they liked the show Dawson’s Creek.
But at least they didn’t do what some friends of mind did years ago, when they named their daughter Molly.
Now, Molly is a fine name.
But it also happened to be the name of their neighbor’s dog.
The two couples were good friends and spent a lot of time together.
I don’t know whether they just hoped dog-Molly would die before human-Molly knew any better or what…
But they liked the name, so Molly it was.
There is one arena in our culture where names are very important.
That’s names of products or brands.
If a name has to do with making money, it is protected very carefully
A 1993 book titled: Naming for Power: Creating Successful Names for the Business World.
Names are like weapons: Marketing weapons, which have one main function: To come to the mind of a buyer at the time of a purchasing decision.
I recently read that Vidal Sassoon is suing Proctor & Gamble to get the rights to his own name back
P&G has been using the Sassoon name in their hair care products, and he feels that they aren’t using it as much as they could, which cuts into his royalty payments.
But since he sold them the rights, he can’t use his own name to promote products without taking legal action.
What’s in a name?
When it comes to American business, billions and billions of dollars a year.
What would happen if we treated God’s name the same way a businessperson treats that precious, moneymaking brand name?
Here’s what one writer had to say about that:
One way for a modern American to begin to understand this commandment is to treat God’s name as a trademarked property [i.e., brand name].
In order to gain widespread distribution for His copyrighted repair manual – the Bible – and also to capture greater market share for His authorized franchise – the Church – God has graciously licensed the use of His name to anyone who will use it according to His written instructions. It needs to be understood, however, that God’s name has not been released into the public domain. God retains legal control over His name and threatens serious penalties against the unauthorized misuse of this supremely valuable property. All trademark violations will be prosecuted to the full limits of the law. The prosecutor, judge, jury and enforcer is God.