Why We Need To Rethink OMG - Guidelines Devotional
April 21, 2021

Why We Need To Rethink OMG

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You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Deuteronomy 5:11

Most of us have been taught that taking God’s name in vain means to swear an oath using God’s name or to use God’s name flippantly in shock or surprise. We may not understand why the command not to misuse His Name is far more important than we might think.

Misusing God’s name in Old Testament cultures meant that a person would swear to a falsehood in God’s name.  But profaning God’s name is much broader when understood to mean misrepresenting God, through the actions of our lives (Ezekiel 36:16-21).

In the Old Testament, there was a custom of inscribing one’s name on something to claim ownership, much like we still do today. God claims four things in the Hebrew Bible – His people, the city of Jerusalem, the temple, and the Gentiles[1]. His name is engraved on what is His own (Numbers 6:27, Deuteronomy 12:11, Amos 9:12). So, if you are a follower of Christ, the Bible says that you bear His Name and represent Him as an ambassador! (2 Corinthians 5:20).

So, we’re not talking about just a rule to follow. Our high regard for God informs our entire identity as followers of Christ. Belonging to God should affect every aspect of our lives. When we forget this and misrepresent God through our words, attitudes or actions, we have dishonored Him. Jesus taught us to pray, “hallowed be God’s name” (Matthew 6:9). Let’s follow His example.

Resource reading: Ezekiel 36:16-36

[1] Dr. Imes, Carmen. “Taking God’s Name in Vain?” BibleProject Podcast. March 19, 2020. https://bibleproject.com/podcast/taking-gods-name-vain/

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