Read Deuteronomy 5:11
11 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. (NLT)
If we reckon this commandment is simply about swearing or blasphemy, we are selling it short. Of course we are not to use the names of Jesus or God in an offensive or thoughtless manner. These people mean much to us and so we treat them seriously.
But there is a lot more to it than that. In the Bible, the word ‘name’ means character, much as we describe someone as having a ‘good name’. So we are not to demean or mistreat God’s character. And so we see this commandment covers a lot more than just bad or thoughtless language.
We breach this command when we claim the name of Jesus to further our own ends, when we pray arrogantly and finish the prayer with the tagline in Jesus’ name. When we urge actions on others contrary to the character of God and when we ourselves act or speak contrary to that character. When we glibly use the word ‘Lord’ in our prayers and conversation and have no intention of submitting to his lordship.
To claim to be a believer in the one true God and not reflect something of his character is to blaspheme his name. This commandment urges us to watch not just our tongues but our entire lives.