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“Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy….” Exodus 20:8

The Lord God required His people (under the old covenant) to set aside the seventh day as a day of rest from their labors and as a day to consider Him and His ways. Since God Himself created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested upon the seventh, so also His people were to refrain from their labors on the Sabbath, hear His Word and honor Him (cf. Exodus 20:8-11; Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Isaiah 58:13-14).

We are no longer required to rest from all our labors on the seventh day, or on any other day of the week (cf. Colossians 2:16-17; Romans 14:5-6; Acts 15:1ff.; Galatians 1:1ff.). But, as God required the children of Israel to rest on the Sabbath Day that they might have time to hear His Word and worship Him, so He requires that we set aside time from our earthly labors that we also might hear and consider His Word and glorify His holy name (cf. Isaiah 58:13-14; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; Luke 11:28; Acts 2:42; Psalm 95:1ff.; Psalm 111:1; Galatians 6:6-8; etc.). For this reason, we have set aside Sunday as a time for worship and meditation upon God’s Word and ought to take time each day for Bible reading and prayer.

To neglect the services of God’s house, and not to take the time for Bible reading and prayer in our homes, is a sin against God’s commandment. And, when we neglect to hear and carefully consider the teaching of God’s Word, we endanger our own souls; for it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit reveals to us our Savior and eternal life in His name (cf. Hebrews 10:24-25; Romans 10:17).

Hearing God’s will and commandment regarding the Sabbath should move us to repent of our erring ways and turn back to Him for mercy and forgiveness in Messiah Jesus, God’s Son. It ought, then, also guide us as we then seek to amend our ways and live for Him, so that we regularly set aside a portion of the time God has given us to meditate upon His Word and worship Him. And, as with all of God’s commandments, obedience brings with it rich blessings we would otherwise never know or experience. The treasures of God’s Word are rich!

Dear LORD God, forgive us for neglecting to set aside time to hear Your saving Word and to worship You. Give us a true love for You and Your Word, that we may continue to learn of the salvation You have provided for us in Christ Jesus, our Savior. In His name we pray. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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“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

Many consider it a light thing to misuse God’s name in their language and speech. They curse, swear, lie and deceive by it. Some use God’s name or His Word, the Bible, to support their own false beliefs and teachings. Some use it superstitiously, as though their use of God’s name or things connected with it will bring them good luck and fortune. And all too seldom is God’s name used rightly to pray to Him, to praise and glorify Him, and to give Him thanks!

God says that He “will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” It is not a trivial offense with God to abuse His holy name, but a serious offense which will bring His wrath and judgment!

This commandment condemns us all for our misuse of God’s name and for our neglect to use it rightly in ways which bring to the LORD God honor and glory and praise. God’s Word applies to each of us, when it says, “The LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

Our only hope is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, for He kept this commandment perfectly for us and used God’s name rightly. Jesus called upon His Father in prayer and praises. He taught God’s Word rightly. And His whole life brought honor and glory to God’s holy name – whether that be through His manner of living, His teaching or His miracles.

And, in His death and resurrection too, Jesus brought honor and glory to God’s holy name. He willingly carried out His Father’s will and went to the cross and bore the guilt and shame and punishment for the sins of all mankind that God might show us mercy and give to us forgiveness in His Son, Christ Jesus. And Jesus rose again and is ascended to the right hand of His Father and continues His work of bringing life and salvation to lost sinners.

Jesus, rightly prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent…” (John 17:1ff.).

Jesus Christ, on the tree of the cross, brought glory to His Father’s name and bore the full punishment for all our sins. He desires that we, too, bring God glory by repenting of our misuse of God’s name and of our failures to live and speak in ways which bring God’s name glory. He desires that we turn to Him for mercy. And, in His Word, He promises that forgiveness for all our sins and life everlasting, as well as the help to use God’s name rightly, are ours through faith in Jesus’ name.

And placing our faith in Jesus – trusting in Him alone for forgiveness and life – brings glory to God’s name!

O LORD God, forgive us for taking Your holy name in vain, and for neglecting to use it rightly. Graciously help us to hallow Your name among us. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ and His innocent sufferings and death upon the cross to redeem us. Amen.

[Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]

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