In Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5, we read the commandments of God. These Commandments are the foundation of God’s Law, and of our culture, and in the keeping of them, we find great reward.
The third commandment is, “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, Deuteronomy 5:11
Most of us understand this commandment to mean that we should never use or invoke the Name of the Almighty lightly, but always only in reverence and veneration, and with the greatest respect.
How many Christians today are guilty of thoughtlessly violating this law! I have seen in many times, whether it be a careless exclamatory remark or someone piously saying “the Lord told me” when He really had not told them any such thing. The Name of the Lord is to be venerated and worshipped and praised, and is not to be tossed about in casual conversation, nor is it to be used as a good luck charm.
But I believe there is also a deeper truth to be found in this commandment of God: In the Bible, the Lord calls His people Israel His bride, and Himself the bridegroom. It is a grand theme of the Scriptures. There is an ancient tradition which requires a woman, when she marries, to drop her maiden name and to take the name of her husband. This practice has come under criticism in recent years with the rise of feminism, but it will always be the practice of the godly.
In this ancient tradition of our people, we discover a deeper understanding of the third commandment, and we discover the reason for this tradition. Marriage is a Bible type of the union between Christ and His bride. When we give our lives to Christ, we become His — and we take His Name. We leave home (our old lives) and are joined to our bridegroom (the Lord Jesus Christ). Once we are His, and have taken His Name, we are thereafter never to allow ourselves to be found unfaithful to Him, but are to keep ourselves only to Him as long as we live, and abide by His Law.
God’s directive to wives now becomes not only the duty of every wife to her husband, but also the duty of every Christian to the Lord Jesus Christ: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing . . . and . . . see that she reverence her husband.” “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord.” Ephesians 5:22-24, 33 and 1 Peter 3:6