When God alerts us to the power of His name, it is only for our good. Our culture has taken the reality of using the name of God in vain to new levels. There is no disdain in mocking the name of God or His Son Jesus Christ in all mediums. I know I have grown callous to the misuse of God’s name. My ears hardly revolt to His name being used to curse the people He loves. Of all the commands God could ask of utterly sinful people, one of the main ones is that we not misuse the name of God (“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7). Oh, how often is this offense committed on a daily basis. I’m not even talking about the obvious misuses in cursing, but what about the ways we say something is true of God that isn’t? How many wars have been fought in His name that have nothing to do with His character? How many force alliance through His name to perpetuate lies?
Obviously God is not a selfish tyrant tormenting anyone who misuses His name, otherwise, He would have plenty of reason to annihilate the world right now. He gives us His name and shows us more of His character through the many names He uses for Himself in Scripture. He tells us the unique power of His name. Jesus taught us to pray, Hallowed by Your name (Matt. 6:9; Luke 11:2). Paul told us that every family on earth derives its name from God (Eph. 3:15). Still we misuse it. Do believers misuse it more than those who mock His name? Do we ignore the power of His name? His name is our hope. Psalm 52:9 says,
“In your name I will hope, for your name is good. Obviously God wants us to revere His name because His name is our hope. His name has great power. His name sets us free.”
I don’t know what God is thinking when it comes to the innumerable offenses against His name, but I do know that His name is essential to my understanding who He is and to gaining the victory He wants to grant in my life. Philippians 2:10 says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” That will be a powerful moment for His name. That moment in time will reveal the immense power of the name of Jesus. His name is above every other name. All the misuses of earth could not penetrate the power that radiates from His name. Perhaps that is the moment that God was pointing to when He gave His holy command not to misuse His name.
The God who is so dedicated to our honoring His name invites us to use His name in intimate ways. Jesus called Him Abba and invited us to do the same. God is not protective of His name in the way that many Jewish followers supposed, taking care to ritually wash after speaking His name or writing it when copying the scriptures. God is protective of His name because it is great. It has the power to eradicate the sin in our lives. “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21).
God’s zealousness for His name is not meant to torment us. God’s intense desire for us not to misuse His name stems from His ultimate goodness. He wants all men to call upon His name for their salvation.