The best way to understand the third commandment is to equate God’s name to His character and reputation. It’s similar to understanding the expression people use when they make verbal promises without any legal documents and they say, “My word is my bond.” The expression means that you can trust they will deliver on their promise because they are attaching their words to their character, in essence saying you can trust their words because you can trust the type of person they are.
When we use the Lord’s name as a curse word, or make a promise in His name that we don’t intend to fulfill, this is taking the Lord’s name in vain because it belittles His character and reputation. It’s the equivalent of saying, “God, you are not worthy of being revered.” This is why God takes this law seriously, because the Israelites were to be the special people of the one true living God, and God’s reputation was represented to the other nations through their example.
To take the Lord’s name in vain doesn’t make God any less holy or perfect. What it does do is misrepresents Him to others and it speaks to our irreverence towards God thereby dishonoring Him and hurting our relationship with Him because He must be revered as Holy.
To revere God is to respect God and His character, and when God is revered in our lives, God will be glorified, and we will blessed.
Pastor Jason Witt