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You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
How many times have you read or heard this verse and wondered, what does the word "vain" means?
Well, the word vain means: emptiness, falsehood, emptiness of speech, lying.
So it would be using the Lord's name in a lying manner, or speaking falsely about the Lord. Like when you say that the Lord has done something for you or told you something when He actually hasn't.
In the NLT this same verse reads:
Ex 20:7 (NLT) "Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
This is a warning for the false prophets, who say something that the Lord has told them when He actually didn't.
It's also a warning against false teachings of the bible. The cults that do not speak the truth of God's word and/or say that an angel from heaven brought them new insight into God's word, which is totally against His word. (There is no new insight, because the Lord's word is complete.)
Another thing is that we go on our feelings sometimes and if we see someone hurting or in need then we try to comfort them, but our comforting words are not always from the Lord.
I heard a pastor teaching and he was saying that him and his wife could not have children at the time.
Well there where two different woman who came up to his wife and told her two different things. One said that the Lord would not bless them with children and that the people of the church were her children.
Well this was not true because they did end up having children and where blessed by the Lord.
This woman was telling her that the Lord told her that she would not have children. But this was an untrue statement, because they did have children.
Anther interpretation of this verse is to use the Lord's name as a swear word.
The context of this verse is also swearing an oath using the Lord's name, and then lying.
Like when you are on a witness stand in court, and you put your hand on the bible and "swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God."
Or you say, "I swear to God I'm telling the truth" to someone.
But then you lie to that person or on the witness stand, so you are swearing by God's name falsely.
So don't go on your feelings, speak the truth, and make sure the Lord is saying something before you say that He is.
If you are wrong or lie then: 20:7b The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.