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.
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.
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.
The Lord himself tells us what the purpose of the Red Sea episode is. This is in v 4b: I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and all the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD (cf. v 17). The episode at the Red Sea, just like the plagues before it and the Exodus, is really all about God’s glory. God’s purpose in the salvation of his people at the Red Sea is also that Israel would know and glorify the Lord. And the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to write this account at the Red Sea so that we too see the glory of God and better love and believe him.
We see examples of the irrationality of unbelief in our passage this morning. Pharaoh is on his last legs. It’s clear that he is no longer in a position of strength or control. So he begins to act more and more irrationally as the plagues go on. This is one of the themes that rise to the surface as God’s judgments on Egypt draw to a close in the eighth and ninth plagues before the final great plague.
The seventh plague, before us this morning, is the fiery hail. It is a lengthy plague. It, like the first and fourth plagues, announces an amplification of God’s original purpose for the plagues. Here the Lord gives Moses a much longer word for Pharaoh than in previous episodes. Like in the first and fourth plagues, a clear statement of the Lord’s purpose in the seventh through ninth (and tenth) plagues right at the outset. This purpose is stated at the end of v 13: so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.This Scripture passage is not only about God, however. It also contains important teachings of what this glorious God of the Exodus demands of all humanity. Today, I want you to see from the seventh plague four important teachings, not only about God and who we are before him.
It is instructive to frame verses 5:22 – 6:9 in terms of the great despondency of the Israelites in Egypt described in ch. 5. We see Moses’s response, and then we hear from God. In all this, the passage emphasizes God’s purpose to bring glory to himself through the redemption of his people. The Holy Spirit wants to draw us in to this great agenda, that we would glorify God ourselves.
In vv. 23-28, Paul explains how the resurrection of Christ is fundamental to our future hope as Christians and the end of all history. This victory is summed up in v. 28, That God may be all in all. This is where Paul’s argument is headed. The main point of these sermons is that the resolution of all creation is the glory of God in Christ and his resurrection. How is God going to work in creation through the resurrection to resolve all things to his glory?