What does the third commandment teach us?


To respect God’s name, word, and works.

The third commandment is part of the First Table of God's Law. And remember what that means – it's designed to teach us how to love God with all of our hearts. We can read it in Exodus 20:7. God commands, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”

Did you ever think about the fact that everything God created has a name? I mean, how could you talk about something if you didn’t have a name for it? Names are important, especially for people. Your name is a special label that represents who you are, sort of like how a flag represents a country. Making fun of someone’s name would be like going to another country, throwing their flag on the ground, and spitting on it! When people mistreat our names, it hurts because they’re really mistreating us!

Every human being is precious and valuable, but none of us can compare to the glory of the great God who made us. That makes his name more special than any name we could possibly imagine. In the third commandment, God commands us to not take his name in vain. In other words, God doesn’t want us to treat his special name as if it were something empty, worthless, or simply not that important.

When we speak about God’s name, when we talk about the words he’s said, when we tell the true tales about the things he has done, we should speak with special care and honor. After all, we’re talking about our glorious Creator! No one and nothing in all of the universe is more worthy of honor and glory and praise than he is! God’s name, his Word, and his mighty miracles are way too important for us to ever joke about!

There are many different ways people break the third commandment. Some people speak God’s name like it’s a swear word when they get angry. Other people will say things like, “I swear to God!” They are using God’s name a bit like a magic word to make you believe them. Even worse, some people will claim to be Christians (believers in Jesus), but live their lives in a way that brings shame to the name of Christ. All of these ways and more bring dishonor to the most special name of our most special God!


+ If you heard a friend or classmate use God’s name in vain, what would you say to them?

+ How should the third commandment affect the way we talk about God with each other?


Is. 8:13; Ps. 29:2; 138:2; Rev. 15:3, 4; Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11

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