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. (Exodus 20:7 ESV) I was in the shower the other day and this thought came to mind. What if we have been missing a major point of this commandment? Here's my thought: The normal interpretation of this verse is the way the Holman Christian Standard Bible renders the verse. It reads, " Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God, because the LORD will punish anyone who misuses His name ". When we think of "taking the Lord's name in vain" this is the way we think of it. We think of it in terms such as hitting our thumb with a hammer and yelling, "G**DA** IT!" Or some people take it a step further and equate taking the Lord's name in vain as, once we become a Christian, doing anything that doesn't glorify God. This is a proper interpretation of the passage, but I think there is something deeper. Under what circumstances does a person "take" someone else's name? Well, it is in the situations of marriage and adoption. In marriage, the woman "takes" the husband's name as her own. She goes from being Jane Doe before she marries John smith to being Jane Smith. THe other situation is adoption. The child adopted "takes" the last name of the family he now lives in. Adoption and marriage are both covenants. Now let's carry that covenant thought into the area of the church. When a person get's baptized, they enter into the visible church not just outwardly but in a covenant manner. As Peter writes, in speaking of Noah and the ark, " Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ " (1 Peter 3:21 HCSB). The ark was a symbol of the covenant that God made with Noah to redeem His family from the destruction of the world. Circumcision is a similar symbol. " This is My covenant, which you are to keep, between Me and you and your offspring after you: Every one of your males must be circumcised. You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskin to serve as a sign of the covenant between Me and you. Throughout your generations, every male among you at eight days old is to be circumcised. This includes a slave born in your house and one purchased with money from any foreigner. The one who is not your offspring, a slave born in your house, as well as one purchased with money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be in your flesh as an everlasting covenant. If any male is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that man will be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant " (Genesis 17:10-14 HCSB). When a Jew was circumcised, he would become a part of the covenant community of Jews. The Jews were God's chosen people. In a way, they had received His name. Afterall, God was married to Israel. " She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce . Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore " (Jeremiah 3:8 ESV). You can't get a divorce from someone you're not married to. So, what if, when the commandment says, "You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain" it is referring to a covenant relationship with Him? What if, to put this into a Christian context, the commandment isn't saying to not make some statement like "G**da**" (although that is not a good thing to say at all) but is saying to not join the covenant community (aka the church) in vain? To say that another way, what if God is commanding people to make sure they don't join the church as a means to receive a get out of hell free card when in all truth and sincerity they couldn't care less about the things of God? Tell me if I need to explain myself better.