I was chosen to give this past Sunday's message.
I used the YouVersion Bible iPhone App for research.
Exodus 20 : v. 7
"Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."
Notice that this is the only commandment where God says he won't hold you guiltless.
(Show/Discuss 10 Commandments briefly)
A commandment is a command from God. They aren't called the 10 suggestions. There are dozens upon dozens of suggestions and what are called "God's laws" in Deuteronomy and Leviticus such as not eating shrimp.
Not eating bottom feeding shellfish could be considered a suggestion. Shrimp contain a lot of allergens because they are bottom feeders. But, now that we have sanitary methods for preparing them ... they are safe to eat.
Nothing has changed about cheating on your wife/adultery ... stealing something ... killing someone ... or taking the Lord's name in vain. What has changed is the safety of food preservation and food storage.
A law in the Bible could be considered like a speed limit. It's a suggestion within reason - excessive speed and you will most likely be caught. A command should be considered like a stop light. You must stop when the light is red.
A favorite movie of mine is The Matrix. The first in the series is an amazing film. However the second two installments could be considered flops and were completely panned by even the biggest fans of the first movie.
The TV Guide one sentence plot description of The Matrix:
A computer hacker named Neo joins forces with rebel warriors to battle a malevolent computerized intelligence.
There's a lot of religious analogy / allegory in this movie.
Here's a few lines from the script that I found online.
""It's Maggie, sir. She's dead. Murdered. I think it was Bane.
"I knew it. I knew he was out of his "fix it" mind"
""Fix it" I should have beaten it out of him"
"We've searched the whole ship, Captain, he aint here."
"Well, "fix it" you better find him "fix it" I want you to find him right "fix it" now."
This scene is one minute ten seconds on the screen.
This movie has the words "GD" 244 times and runs 2 hrs 31 min. That equals the Lord's name in vain every 61 seconds of this movie. The funny thing saying just the word, "Damn" seems more effective to me.
* Mention that it's really about intelligence, you're saying,
"I say things without thinking, I speak hastily, I don't have the intelligence to substitute another word."
On Wednesday night, my wife and I were discussing this and my teenage daughter mentioned that saying,
"God, this cake is good!" isn't taking the Lord's name in vain.
A small family debate ensued ... My wife made a good point.
The Lord's name should only be invoked in praise and in prayer and I'll add "in discussion".
My wife also added the definition of "VAIN" from Webster's dictionary:
–adjective, -er, -est.
1. excessively proud of or concerned about one's own appearance, qualities, achievements, etc.; conceited: a vain dandy.
2. proceeding from or showing personal vanity: vain remarks.
3. ineffectual or unsuccessful; futile: a vain effort.
4. without real significance, value, or importance; baseless or worthless
5. Archaic. senseless or foolish.
6. in vain,
a. without effect or avail; to no purpose: to apologize in vain.
b. in an improper or irreverent manner: to take God's name in vain.
Should we ever think of the Lord senselessly, foolishly, or without significance, without value or as worthless?
The Lord's name shouldn't be exclaimed in anger or pain either.
If anyone had a reason to curse the Lord, it would have been Job. But in Job 1 verses 21-22; we see he, after so much suffering, chose not to.
Job 1: v. 21-22:
" ... the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly."
Taking the Lord's name in vain isn't a habit, it's a choice.
Opening your mouth to breathe is a necessity.
Opening your mouth to saw "OUCH!" is a reaction.
Opening your mouth to deliver an opinion or take the Lord's name in vain is a decision.
Writing it in a script is a concrete decision.
I don't want to get obsessive over this, but this is one thing we should pray for. We should pray for the sensibility and wisdom to choose our words wisely and to condemn wisely the commonality of using the Lord's name in vain.
I say "Geez Louise" a lot.
My wife says that "Geez" is a way of saying "Jesus"
Gomer Pyle's "Well Gawwwwleee"
Jesus H. Christ
Christ Almighty (in excitement or anger)
Cheese & Rice
OMG (Oh My God in textese)
Lawd A Mercy
My mom used to say, "God Bless A Pussy Cat!"
Leviticus 24 : v. 16
"And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death ..."
Psalm 135 : v. 1 & 3
"Praise ye the Lord, Praise ye the name of the Lord; praise him O ye servants of the Lord"
"Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good; sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant"
Psalm 29 : v. 2
"Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness"
Psalm 8 v. 9
"O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth."
David wrote Psalms. There was quite a bit of excellence and servitude around King David ... if anyone knew excellence, it was David. He reserves the word "excellent " for the name of God. Of all the people that David spoke to in the Bible he never said they did something excellent. David told Jonathan he loved him like a brother, not like he loved God. He didn't tell Jonathan he was an excellent friend. Bathsheba had a beautiful name, but David reserved the words, "lovely" for describing the name of God.
Proverbs 10: v. 11
"The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life; but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked."
Matthew 15 : v. 11
"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this, defileth a man."