I am to respect God. I am to show respect for His holy name. I should not take His name in vain. That is, I am not to misuse His name. I must represent God accurately. That is very important to my integrity.
The CSB translate Exodus 20:7 this way:
“Do not misuse the name of the Master your God, because the Master will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses his name.”
The apostle Peter summarizes the Bible’s teaching on respect in his first Epistle:
“Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17).
This passage encompasses four major areas of our lives, teaching us that, as followers of the Messiah, we should respect all men, the disciples, God, and governmental authorities.
The word respect is a translation of the Greek word timēsate, meaning “honor or value.” It literally means “to place a great value or high price on something.” Interestingly, today we tend to place our values on our personal rights and the equality of man.
Respect for God leads to godly living. Biblical respect is different. It is more about a perceived inequality in that we recognize that some things and some people are more important than I am.
- Psalm 29:2 (NASB) — 2 Ascribe to the Master the glory due to His name; Worship the Master in holy array.
- Exodus 20:7 — 7 “You shall not take the name of the Master your God in vain, for the Master will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
- Exodus 23:20–21 — 20 “Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 “Be on your guard before him and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him, for he will not pardon your transgression, since My name is in him.
- Leviticus 18:21 — 21 ‘You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Master.
- Leviticus 19:12 — 12 ‘You shall not swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God; I am the Master.
- Leviticus 22:31–33 — 31 “So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the Master. 32 “You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel; I am the Master who sanctifies you, 33 who brought you out from the land of Egypt, to be your God; I am the Master.”
- Leviticus 24:10–16 — 10 Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the sons of Israel; and the Israelite woman’s son and a man of Israel struggled with each other in the camp. 11 The son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. (Now his mother’s name was Shelomith, the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.) 12 They put him in custody so that the command of the Master might be made clear to them. 13 Then the Master spoke to Moses, saying, 14 “Bring the one who has cursed outside the camp, and let all who heard him lay their hands on his head; then let all the congregation stone him. 15 “You shall speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will bear his sin. 16 ‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Master shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.
- Psalm 86:9–11 — 9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Master, And they shall glorify Your name. 10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God. 11 Teach me Your way, O Master; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.
- Jeremiah 3:16–17 — 16 “It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the Master, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Master.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 “At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the Master,’ and all the nations will be gathered to it, to Jerusalem, for the name of the Master; nor will they walk anymore after the stubbornness of their evil heart.
- Malachi 2:1–2 — 1 “And now this commandment is for you, O priests. 2 “If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Master of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.