What’s in a Name?


God-Worshiping: Ten Commandments - #3 – The name of the Lord.


Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.

Exodus 20:7

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.


In a world where people of all ages punctuate their lives with “Oh, my God!” , it seems old-fashioned to identify this with the third commandment. But when I was growing up we were not allowed to say anything that could be construed as a derivative of God’s name like “Oh, my gosh” or “golly”, or “geez.” Even though this seems old-fashioned to us, there is something about using the name of God carefully that shows that we take God seriously. 


Someone’s name, especially in Bible times, tells us something about that person. Today parents look at family history or ethnicity to choose a baby’s name. They want something that will show who the child belongs to, and who the child is or can be. In Bible times a person’s name somehow identified the essence of a person’s character. That is why naming was so meaningful.


As this episode illustrates there is more than one way to misuse God’s name. Maligning God’s character, giving God the blame for our own mistakes, claiming to follow God but going our own way, making promises to God but not keeping them are all ways that we show that we do not take God seriously. The Heidelberg Catechism explains it this way:

To keep the third commandment is to “use the holy name of God only with reverence and awe, so that we may properly confess him, pray to him, and praise him in everything we do and say.”


How well did you listen to the story?

Q. Q. What does Liz say that reminds Grandpa of the Third Commandment?
A. Oh, geez.

Q. How Scooter misuse God’s name?
A. His campaign poster implied that God wanted people to vote for Scooter.

Q. What did Skink say in his campaign speech?
A. He said “I swear” when he said his campaign promises would happen.

Q. How about Spike?
A. Spike blamed God for the fact that he cheated on a test.

Q. And Morrie.
A. He didn’t keep the promises that he made to God.

Q. How did Lucille misuse God’s name?
A. She called herself a Christian but didn’t always act like one.


This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.


Why is it so important not to misuse God’s name?


We should not misuse God’s name because God is holy, and good, and sovereign. You would not refer to an earthly king in a cavalier manner, how much more would we want to take care how we use God’s name. God is Sovereign over all things and we want to talk about God with respect and honor. Jesus includes this commandment in the Lord’s Prayer when he says that we are to pray, “Hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). To hallow is to make sacred, to consecrate, so sanctify, to make holy. In other words it is to set this name apart as something special, something that you don’t use lightly. To use God’s name carefully, means that we take God seriously. 


What are ways that show your respect for God? Can you think of ways that you have misused God’s name? Tell God about it. Pray and ask God for forgiveness.
This page can be found at http://kidscorner.reframemedia.com/parents/guide/whats-in-a-name1