A name is very important, because it represents all that a person is. The third commandment warns, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). When Moses asked God what he should say to the Israelites, as he came to lead them out of Egyptian bondage, “God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). “I AM THAT I AM” is a form of the Hebrew for “to be,” indicating the eternal nature of God. The Israelites were so conscious of not breaking this commandment that they would not pronounce the name of God at all, instead substituting the word for Lord.
Words, such as names, have always been important. Jesus warned that the misuse of words could destroy us, because the words indicate what is in our hearts. “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18). James warns that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:6).
Our words are especially of concern when they involve God and His name. Men often curse God, blaspheme His name, or use His name in profanity. Rather than cursing His name, men ought to hallow His name. The Old Testament punishment for such sins was stoning (Leviticus 24:10-23). This may seem harsh, but Jesus said, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Since God’s name is often invoked in the making of vows and promises, such as the wedding vows, it is doubly important that these words be true.
The sense of this commandment is also broken when men do not respect God’s words. You cannot reject His words, and the things His spokesmen have said, without rejecting God. Jesus told His disciples, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (Matthew 10:40). Responding properly to God’s word means obedience to it. Words should match deeds. Paul condemned those whose works were not in accord with God’s word: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16) Jesus spoke of this important connection between our deeds and the word of God, warning, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Peter, referring to the name of Jesus Christ, said “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Surely those who love Him would not want to misuse His name in songs, jokes, etc. His name should be spoken in love and obedience.