What Is Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain?

Isaiah 4:1 – “And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.’”

In this verse I see Jesus and the church in the last days, particularly close to the last day. The one man is Jesus. The church is often described as a woman, the bride of Christ. Here, the seven women make me think of the seven churches in Revelation, representing the complete church.

What do the women, the church, say?

“We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes.” Jesus is the bread of life, but these women say we will eat our own bread. We don’t need what you have, Jesus. We don’t need to rely on you. We can provide for ourselves.

When we put on Jesus, as a garment, we are clothed in his righteousness. But, these women say they will wear their own clothes. They don’t need Christ’s righteousness. Their own is good enough.

Instead of partaking of Jesus, the bread of life, and putting on his righteousness, these women, the church, just want to be called by his name. They just want the benefit of his name without the reality of the relationship with Jesus. The church wants Jesus to take away her reproach, her shame, her sin, but she doesn’t want anything else from him. This makes me think of the great falling away spoken of in the New Testament that occurs in the last days. Or, when Jesus says that there will be many who say “Lord, Lord,” but he will say depart from me for I never knew you.

This gets at the heart of what the Bible means when it says to not take the Lord’s name vain. We think that simply means don’t use his name as a curse word. But, I think it means much more. It means wanting his name, using name, but then living however we want to live, failing to recognize him as Lord. When we say we are called by his name but don’t do what he says, we are taking his name in vain.

In Isaiah 5, God says, “Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.” When we don’t feed on Jesus, we go thirsty and hungry. This results in a lack of knowledge and wisdom that lead us out of the presence of God, into exile.

Let us not merely seek the benefit of the name of Jesus. But, let us seek Jesus just for him as if our very life depends upon him and be clothed with his righteousness in obedience to his will.

And, let us not take the Lord’s name in vain.

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