This morning, we consider the third commandment. 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. Many suppose this word has to do with a short list of words to avoid in curses. I hope to help you understand that this command is about much more than that.
Special Note: This sermon by Kevin Bauder, preached nearly one decade ago at this church, excellently applies the 3rd commandment to believers today. This sermon was especially formative for Pastor Martin. The sermon was lost in the transition to the current website several years ago. This sermon, however, was “rediscovered” and is now re-posted to the church’s website for your edification in conjunction with Pastor Martin’s own attempt to preach this great text of Holy Scripture.
Then, we read in ch 20:1, “And God spoke all these words.” So, while Moses was up at the mountain peak, the Lord spoke audibly to him so that his people could hear. And what the Lord said that great day was none other than what we call the Ten Commandments. As they enter into covenant, God presents covenant stipulations that they must follow as his people. This morning, we will consider the first of these.
Exodus 19 is something of a Preparation for Worship email to Israel. Remember, according to 3:12, Israel is to worship Yahweh at Mt Sinai. God is preparing his people to worship him. That worship will involve the declaration of God’s Word. In the thick cloud, God prepares his people to believe him and his messenger, Moses. In so doing, Israel learns three crucial lessons about approaching God’s presence to receive God’s Word.
Exodus 19–24 is one of the most important passages of the Old Testament and entire scriptures. The covenant God makes with Israel in these chapters becomes the framework through which the great majority of the Old Testament is to be understood.
Our passage is really about God. He is a God of manifold grace, and that grace is seen in the covenant of Sinai. The text makes clear that what happens at Sinai represents his glorious desire for his chosen people. When we pause to look at how God is treating his people in Exod 19, we ought to be ready to proclaim the excellencies of this God who graciously cuts covenants with mankind.
The story of Jethro is primarily given to us to make this important point: All men ought to give the true God glory for his wonderful works. Even during this time of salvation history where God is dealing primarily with Israel, God’s dealings with them is intended to bring all the nations to confess that Yahweh is the true God. Every man, woman, and child ought to give God the glory due his name.
Our text this morning is the story of Israel’s first conflict after defeating Egypt. This morning, I think it’s better to approach our text from the ground up. I want us to understand what’s going on, and then draw lessons for us from what the passage reveals.
The rest of Exodus 16 deals with the institution of a pre-Sinai Sabbath and the people’s response to this. I believe that the same theme of first half of the chapter can be easily brought over and extended into the focus on the manna and Sabbath. That is, we still learn here that true saints believe that God alone can satisfy their greatest desires.