” Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Exodus 20:7
From the time I was a small child in Sunday School, I had heard this commandment, not to use God’s name in vain. I could pick up on someone across the room using His name in vain and wondered why they would do such a thing. My mind was finger pointing as you can see. Where they not taught? Did they dare to speak of a Mighty God in such a way?
Reading “It’s Not About Me” by Max Lucado enlightened me to make a deeper connection of the third commandment. I find myself guilty after reading the following story of upholding this commandment. Max Lucado in latter part of the book tells about meeting up with a Jewish man on a trip he took. The man told him to think of the commandment as a lifestyle and not language.
He told Max Lucado, “The command calls us to elevate God to the highest place. We exist to give honor to his name. He went on to give him an example, which I will summarize and quote directly at times. A man owned a high rise and has a daughter. The daughter in the first scenario took advantage of her position will working for her father and demanded of people who were at work certain privileges’ like demanding a Danish of a worker on duty. The worker did as he was asked but perceived that “if the daughter was so bossy, what does that say about her father?” Next she goes to a secretary who is very busy and demands she vacuums her office carpet, which makes the secretary question the wisdom of the father. The daughter never mentioned the dad’s name but the workers perceived that it came from the father. “They had not seen the father but they know his child thus they know the father.”
The teacher then gave a second scenario, what if instead of demanding that the daughter brought a muffin to the first person. What if the daughter had helped with the secretary with her work. Max Lucado went on to say, “Paul another rabbi, would have appreciated the point. He wrote: ‘We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us’ (2 Corinthians 5: 20). The ambassador has a singular aim – to represent his king. He promotes the king’s agenda, protects the king’s reputation, and presents the king’s will. The ambassador elevates the name of the king.”
The rabbi then concludes the story for the second scenario. The daughter takes an elevator to the top story of the building to see her father. He says six words to her. “Well done, good and faithful servant.”