“You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”NIV
In a society governed by honor, information was power. Family secrets were closely guarded. Strangers had no right to the truth. Assertions in the public square, therefore, required a vow. “May God do to me and more if I do not…” To use the name of God in support of a falsehood meant that you did not think God had any power to hold you accountable for your vow. It regarded God as powerless and the name of God as worthless. Empty. Vain.
Terrible things follow when we think God will not hold us to account. Lies come easily. Corruption grows. We take advantage of the weak. We abuse the poor. We add “house to house and field to field.” If an illegal resident cannot call the police, they are easy to rob of their wages.
It is a dangerous thing to misuse the name of God, dangerous to use the name of God to say what God has not said, dangerous to invoke God for the sake of our political agenda – whether it is a Supreme Court nominee or the kidnapping of young girls and beheading of our enemies. It is dangerous to use the name of God to justify our lusts and neglects, our greeds and warrings. God the protector of widows and orphans sees what is done. God the guardian of the poor hears what is spoken. And God will hold us to account.