Category Archives: 2 – EXODUS


The fourth commandment says, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). God gave the Sabbath as a “perpetual covenant” (Exodus 31:17) between the Jews and God. As long as the Jews were a nation, they were to keep the Sabbath. This was not a perpetual covenant with anyone else, however. 

The Sabbath lasted from sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday. The Jews, especially the Pharisees, treated it very legalistically. They expanded, refined, and codified it until it became an intolerable burden. Jesus fought the popular distortion of the Sabbath by healing on the Sabbath, “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8). Jesus kept the Sabbath perfectly, something that no one else ever did. 

This commandment is the only one of the Ten Commandments that Jesus did not repeat for Christians. Jesus kept the Sabbath, but never commanded Christians to keep it. 

Although some try to keep the Sabbath today, none keep it as God commanded it. The Lord commanded that the Sabbath was the day for burnt offerings, and other elements which no one keeps today. Paul says that Christ abolished the law (Ephesians 2:15), and “took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” (Colossians 2:14). The first covenant was taken away so that the better, new covenant could be established. “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second” (Hebrews 8:6-7). 

While we are not commanded to keep the Sabbath, there are, however, many eternal principles to be learned from the Sabbath. All Christians should consider their use of time, and the work ethic taught in the commandment, that there are six days in which the servant of God will work. As the wise man Solomon wrote, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (Proverbs 6:6). Paul tried to set a good example for the Thessalonians by working to support himself, giving an example (2 Thessalonians 3:7-12). “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). 

Jesus showed the way to use the Sabbath, not by treating it as a day for idleness, but a day for service, a time for bringing blessings to others. The Christian should do no less with every day given to him. All life should be a rest from evil, and days devoted to God. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). Every Christian should evaluate his time to see how much is devoted to God, and how much is devoted to self.


A name is very important, because it represents all that a person is. The third commandment warns, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain” (Exodus 20:7). When Moses asked God what he should say to the Israelites, as he came to lead them out of Egyptian bondage, “God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). “I AM THAT I AM” is a form of the Hebrew for “to be,” indicating the eternal nature of God. The Israelites were so conscious of not breaking this commandment that they would not pronounce the name of God at all, instead substituting the word for Lord. 

Words, such as names, have always been important. Jesus warned that the misuse of words could destroy us, because the words indicate what is in our hearts. “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18). James warns that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (James 3:6).

Our words are especially of concern when they involve God and His name. Men often curse God, blaspheme His name, or use His name in profanity. Rather than cursing His name, men ought to hallow His name. The Old Testament punishment for such sins was stoning (Leviticus 24:10-23). This may seem harsh, but Jesus said, “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). Since God’s name is often invoked in the making of vows and promises, such as the wedding vows, it is doubly important that these words be true. 

The sense of this commandment is also broken when men do not respect God’s words. You cannot reject His words, and the things His spokesmen have said, without rejecting God. Jesus told His disciples, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (Matthew 10:40). Responding properly to God’s word means obedience to it. Words should match deeds. Paul condemned those whose works were not in accord with God’s word: “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:16) Jesus spoke of this important connection between our deeds and the word of God, warning, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). 

Peter, referring to the name of Jesus Christ, said “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Surely those who love Him would not want to misuse His name in songs, jokes, etc. His name should be spoken in love and obedience.


The second of the Ten Commandments, found in Exodus 20, gives timeless principles concerning God’s attitude about worship. Christians, who are “delivered from the law” (Romans 7:6-7), learn principles from the Ten Commandments that allow them to live under the better covenant of Christianity (Hebrews 8:6-7) 

The commandment reads: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6). Israel had to understand clearly that God would not tolerate idolatry. 

Idolatry, the worship of a creature, or inanimate object, seems inherently absurd to the modern mind. While modern man might not carve a statue, and then bow before it as ancient man did, he still has his idols, the false gods he worships. The problem of the idolater is not so much the idol as it is the spiritual blindness of the idolater. To place anything above God, whether it be possessions, family, occupation, or leisure activity, is to become an idolater. It has been well observed that sometimes the modern churchgoer may have his true god parked outside the place of worship. 

The command forbids making graven images to represent God to a worshipper. No image can ever “capture” God. As Paul told the Athenians, who worshipped so many gods, including an “unknown god,” “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:29-30). God’s Word must always govern worship to Him, because man has always had a tendency to worship the thing rather than the One Whom it represents. Despite God’s care of Israel, they easily slipped back into an idolatrous way of thinking. On one occasion they took the ark of the covenant into battle against the Philistines, as a sort of “good luck charm,” and wound up losing the ark, as well as the battle (1 Samuel 4). They also began to worship the bronze serpent Moses raised as a symbol of salvation (Numbers 21:4-9), so that King Hezekiah had to destroy it with the other marks of idolatry (2 Kings 18:4). 

The commandment gives a lengthy “enforcement statement,” which stresses that God will not share His people with any other god, but will bless all those who do His will. As Jesus met with the woman at the well, who wanted to sidestep the discussion of her checkered past, He reminded her, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Jesus warned that worship is vain when men worship God “teaching for doctrine the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). Blessings for future generations depend on proper worship today!