Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
- Psalm 29:2
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
- Matthew 6:9
and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb:
“Great and marvelous are your deeds,
Lord God Almighty.
Just and true are your ways,
King of the nations.
Who will not fear you, Lord,
and bring glory to your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship before you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”
- Revelation 15:3-4
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.
- Ecclesiastes 5:1
“Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the Lord Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.
- Malachi 1:14
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
- Psalm 138:2
Remember to extol his work,
which people have praised in song.
- Job 36:24
If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome name—the Lord your God—the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants, harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.
- Deuteronomy 28:58-59
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.
- Psalm 107:21-22
The Larger Catechism’s Scripture Proofs:
1. Matt. 6:9; Deut. 28:58; Ps. 68:4; Ps. 29:2; Rev. 15:3, 4.
2. Mal. 1:14.
3. Ps. 138:2.
4. I Cor. 11:28, 29. See context.
5. I Tim. 2:8.
6. Jer. 4:2.
7. Ps. 76:11.
8. Acts 1:24, 26.
9. Ps. 107:21, 22.
10. Mal. 3:16.
11. Ps. 8.
12. Ps. 105:2, 5; Col. 3:17.
13. Ps. 102:18.
14. I Peter 3:15; Micah 4:5.
15. Phil. 1:27.
16. I Cor. 10:31.
17. Jer. 32:39.
18. I Peter 2:12.
“Q. 48. What is required in the Third Commandment?
“A. The Third Commandment requires the holy and reverent use of God’s names (Ps. 29:2), titles, attributes (Rev. 15:3-4), ordinances (Eccl. 5:1), Word (Ps. 138:2), and works. (Job 36:24, Deut. 28:58-59).”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)
“Q. 54. What is required in the Third Commandment?
“A. The Third Commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, Word, and works.”
- The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)
“Q. 112. What is required in the Third Commandment?
“A. The Third Commandment requires, that the name of God, his titles, attributes, ordinances, the word, sacraments, prayer, oaths, vows, lots, his works, and whatsoever else there is whereby he makes himself known, be holily and reverently used in thought, meditation, word, and writing; by an holy profession, and answerable conversation, to the glory of God, and the good of ourselves and others.”
- The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)
The Shorter and Spurgeon catechisms have the same wording, essentially. The Shorter adds an extra proof for “names” and has different proofs for “ordnances” and “works.” As usual, the Larger Catechism is larger in detail and biblical proofs. Due to the “largeness” of the Larger Catechism, each point having its on biblical proof, I just listed the Scripture references.
In the Larger Catechism, the “largeness” expands on the types of things in which we should reverently refer to God, but it also expands the reasons for doing so and our attitudes toward God.
While I have used coarse language, I have avoided using God’s name in vain. If I have violated this Commandment, it is in His ordnances. But even using improper words for human excrement is not having our “Yes” be “Yes.” But invariably, just like today, when someone cuts you off in traffic, I pray that my last word uttered is not that one. Today, it was a scissor move where two people in opposite directions moved into the center turn lane with me between them and a truck pulled out of a side road. The traffic lights in both directions changed at the right time and everyone went for the same spot at once, the spot that I occupied. I swerved to the right and hit the gas, almost closing my eyes, definitely not looking to see if that lane was safe to move into because there were three people already moving into the space that I had vacated and doing so rapidly. I have no idea why we are not in the hospital, except that I should have said, “Oh, God, please, help!” instead of thinking about excrement.
God guided me through that traffic issue, whether my thought as I swerved the steering wheel was on Him or not.
And that is the key here. It really ties into the first two commandments. We should have no other god except God. We should worship God in everything that we do, even driving a car. And we should be reverent in doing so.
Now for the corollary, what happens when we say some commonly used phrase as an exclamation, something that used God’s name in vain?
I overheard people at a table in the Narthex talking with one of the most vociferous of their little group, many years ago. Everyone was trying to get her to quit saying “Oh, My God.” Even OMG is violating this commandment, but this lady punctuated everything with, I’ll use OMG for short. The lady defended herself by saying, “OMG, I do not say OMG all the time! OMG!” They said, “You just did three more times!” Her reply was to more than double down. She said, “OMG, OMG, OMG!!!! I did not just say OMG. OMG! You are taking this too far by putting words in my mouth. OMG!!!!!”
Even if you think this commandment is the little commandment and the other nine are more important, see how the name of God meant so little to this person that they did not realize they used it improperly. If we should worship all the time, we should refer to God in reverence all the time. Thus, reducing any reference to God to the point of not knowing that we even say it, means that God is far from our worship at that moment.
And now let us sing.
The following song is Thine is the Glory, sung by the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir, Sydney, Australia.
“1 Thine is the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
endless is the vict’ry Thou o’er death hast won.
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave-clothes where Thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
endless is the vict’ry Thou o’er death hast won.
2 Lo, Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb.
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let His church with gladness hymns of triumph sing,
for the Lord now liveth; death hath lost its sting. [Refrain]
3 No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life!!
Life is nought without Thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conqu’rors, through Thy deathless love;
bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above. [Refrain]”
- Edmond L. Budry, Thine is the Glory
We need You. We need to be reverent when addressing You, but also in our speech, in our writing, and even in our thoughts. Only You are worthy of our praise, deserving all the glory.
In thy Name we pray.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
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