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6 Names of God That Can Be Used Vainly

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

Throughout the Bible, God gives us His names, each revealing a portion of His character. God’s name is precious to Him! Jesus taught us that God’s name must be counted as holy and must be treated as holy (Matthew 6:9). When we use His names vainly, we dishonor His character and we dishonor Him!

Here are 6 names of God that we must not use vainly:


God’s first recorded words to mankind in Genesis 1:1, He tells us, “In the beginning, GOD created the heavens and the earth.”

It all started with God. Genesis doesn’t start out with in the beginning the earth was dark and void or in the beginning there was no earth or galaxies. No, it all started with God!

The Hebrew name here is “Elohim” or the Creator. Our God is the Creator. He is the one who brought everything together and continues to hold it together.

I read the joke about a group of scientists who were so proud of their academic accomplishments they decided they no longer needed God and that they could create life on their own. God said, “Okay, let’s have a contest. You stand over there and I’ll stand over here and we’ll race to create life.” The scientists agree and started to bend down to pick up some dirt. But God said “No, no, no, you have to go make your own dirt.”

Truly everything that was and is and will be was created by God and this name “Elohim” reflects the glory of the one who made and sustains all things.

We use this name of God vainly when we discount His creative work and undermine His role in His creation.


In Genesis 16 Hagar gives God another name. The text says, “Hagar gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

The name she gives is “El Roi,” the God who sees. When Hagar fled and God called to her through an angel, she called Him “El Roi” because she was seen. It doesn’t matter how desperate we become, how lonely we are, how separated we are from anyone else, God is the One who sees. He is the One who is with us through it all. Just like Hagar, we will have times when we are trying to run away and El Roi will be there guiding us in the right direction, seeing us in all circumstances.

We use this name of God vainly when we claim that God is unloving or uncaring.


In Genesis 22, as Abram was about to sacrifice his son, an angel of the Lord appeared and provided a ram for the sacrifice. The name there: Jehovah Jireh or God provided.

We know that God will provide for our needs. His idea of what our needs are may be different than what we think are our needs. I’m sure Abram thought that he needed to stay off of that mountain altogether, but God knows all and sees the bigger picture; He knows what you need before you do. We can trust Jehovah Jireh to provide for all our needs when we need them and this name reminds us that God is the great Giver and Provider.

We use this name of God vainly when we doubt God’s provision.


In Psalm 16:2, David calls God His Lord or Master.

The word there for God is “Adonai,” which means sovereign. God wants you to recognize His authority. He wants to be the master of your life. He gives us every good thing that we have and so our reasonable service is to put Him in the driver’s seat. We shouldn’t try to do life on our own. We won’t always have it all figured out. We won’t always have all the answers, but God will. This name Adonai reminds us to surrender our will to His will and make Him the Master of our lives.

We use this name of God vainly when in our pride we cling to self-reliance.


Leviticus 20:7-8 says, “Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God.8 Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.”

Our God is perfectly holy, set apart from everything else, and He can make us holy too.

The name here for God is “Yahweh-M’Kaddesh, “The God Who Sanctifies.” Not only is God the Creator of all things and the Master of all things, but He’s also the one who sets His creation apart.

Without God, what we do is meaningless. James so eloquently put it through the inspiration of the Spirit that our lives are just a mist. They’ll fade away and all of our accomplishments will go into the ground with us. But with God, we can be made holy, set apart from the temporary things in this world. God gave us this name to make clear that He is the one and the only one who is capable of giving our lives the significance we were designed for.

We use this name of God vainly when we fail to live holy lives.


Finally, we are able to call this magnificent God who is our Creator, Provider, and Lord, Abba or Father (Luke 15:20).

God loves His creation to such an extent that He is willing to adopt us and become our Father. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,”

Our God is able and wants to adopt us to sonship so that we can call Him Abba and Father.

We use that name of God vainly when like the prodigal we run from the Father!

Praise the name of God and may we use it with all the honor and adoration it deserves!


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