Sermon notes in a teaching series on Exodus 20:1-17
Paraphrases of Texts about the Law In Genesis 26:3-5, Yahweh made a promise to Isaac that He would confirm the oath which He swore to Abraham, and He said it was because Abraham listened to His voice and kept His mandate, His commandments, His statutes, and His instructions.
In Deuteronomy 7:9, Yahweh proclaims Himself as the faithful Mighty One who keeps His gracious covenant loyalty for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Notice how love and commandment keeping go together.)
In Joshua 1:7-8, Joshua says that above everything, Yahweh's people are to be strong and courageous to carefully observe the whole instruction that Moses, the servant of Yahweh, commanded. Do not turn from it to the right or the left. This book of the law must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do.
As King David was about to die, he instructed his son Solomon (in 1 Kings 2:1-3): "Be strong and brave, and keep your obligation to Yahweh, to walk in His ways and to keep His statutes, commandments, judgments, and testimonies. This is written in the law of Moses, so that you will have success in everything you do and wherever you turn."
In 2 Kings 18:6 we read that King Hezekiah trusted in Yahweh. He did not turn from following Yahweh, but kept the commandments Yahweh had commanded Moses.
Psalm 111 verse 10 tells us that the fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom, and a good understanding have all they who do His commandments.
Proverbs 3:1-4 says you should not forget Yahweh's law, and let your heart keep His commandments. They will bring you many days, a full life, and well-being. You will find favor and high regard in the sight of Yahweh and man.
In Ecclesiastes 12:13, we read: "Listen to the conclusion of the whole matter: fear the Almighty and keep His commandments. This is the whole duty of man."
In Matthew 5:19 Yeshua says: "Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so, will be called least in the kingdom. But whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom."
In Matthew 19:17 we read that someone came up to Yeshua and asked him: Teacher, what must I do to have eternal life? Yeshua responded: If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.
In Luke 1:5-6 we read that Zechariah and Elizabeth, the parents of John the Baptizer, were both righteous in Yahweh's sight, living without blame according to all the commandments and requirements of Yahweh.
Yeshua said in John 15:9-10, "If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love."
1 John 2:3-4 says that we know that we know Yahweh, by keeping His commandments. If we say we know Him, but don't keep His commandments, we are liars.
1 John 3:24 says that whatever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
And 1 John 5:3 says: This is the love of Yahweh, that we keep His commandments, and they are not a burden.
Exhortation to Keep the Commandments This is just a short sampling of scriptures that emphasize the keeping of the commandments of Yahweh. We should probably have a little card in our wallet, with all these verses on them, when someone asks us: "Why do you think it's so important that you keep the commandments?"
There is no other way to live. There is no other way to carry on day-to-day life. There is no other way to do business. There is no other way to do anything there is to do. Keeping the commandments of Yahweh is always the right thing to do.
We may come up with all sorts of reasons not to keep the commandments, but they all go back to one reason: man thinks he knows better than Yahweh, and wants to do what he wants to do.
Your flesh; your carnal human nature, doesn't desire to keep the commandments. We all battle with the desires of the flesh. Sometimes the things your spirit man wants to do, you don't do. And sometimes the things your flesh man wants to do, you give in to. It is a constant battle that we have, because we think we know better than Yahweh.
But you are to instead trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.
It is not loving Yahweh to just believe the parts of the Bible that you want to believe. It is not loving Yahweh to pick and choose what you want to obey. It is not loving Yahweh to talk yourself out of keeping commandments, or precepts, or instructions that He has given. That's not loving Yahweh.
If you are a believer, Yahweh has forgiven you of all your sins. He has removed them as far as the East is from the West. He's had compassion upon you as man has compassion upon a little child he loves. He has wiped your slate clean. You are saved by His grace and mercy. You aren't saved because you made the first move. You are saved because of Yahweh, not because of you.
So how do we repay Yahweh? Well, we could never repay Yahweh. We could never earn Yahweh's love. We could never do enough good things to take away the bad things.
But... He has given us a way to show Him that we love Him. He has given us a way to say, "Thank you Yahweh. Thank you for everything You have done for me. Thank you for my life. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my friends." He's given us a way to actively say this to Him, and that way is by keeping His commandments.
You don't show Yahweh you love Him by telling Him, "I love you." That's okay to do, but that doesn't prove you love Yahweh.
You don't show Yahweh you love Him by how loud you sing to Him. You don't show Yahweh you love Him by how many words you use when you pray to Him, or how eloquent you speak. No... none of this proves anything. His love language is keeping His commandments.
When you follow His commandments, summarized in the 10 commandments in both Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, Yahweh looks down and knows that you love Him. He says, "There is my child. I know she loves me. I know he loves me. I know they appreciate what I have done for them. I know they really mean it."
So many people in the world today will attempt to get you away from the commandments. They will pull on your heart strings in an attempt to say that some things Yahweh commands just don't go along with how we are supposed to love in 2018. They will pull out all kinds of man-made ideas, and false concepts of love.
And even worse, you have professing Christian pastors that downplay the commandments. They say that we don't have to keep the commandments. They call the commandments outdated, or bondage.
In light of all the scriptures I began with today, how could someone state such a thing? How could someone who claims to believe in the Bible think that keeping the commandments of Yahweh is not really necessary?
Like I said, the flesh often overrides the spirit. Sometimes Christian men can get de-railed due to pier-pressure, and cave into the popular ideology that goes along with the ways of the carnal world.
I want you to know today that I believe in keeping the commandments. I believe in teaching the commandments. By Yahweh's grace, I will never teach you to break a commandment that you have the ability to obey.
Now, I am not perfect. I have sinned against Yahweh in ways that I am ashamed of. I battle with my flesh everyday just like everyone else. But a righteous man falls seven times and gets back up. I am not going to give in. I am not going to give up. I am not going to stop running this race. I am not going to roll over and try to fit in with any ideology that teaches keeping the commandments really doesn't matter.
Today's lesson is an encouragement lesson to keep Yahweh's commandments, and it is also an introductory lesson to the next 10 weeks. Beginning next week, I will be teaching 1 lesson on each of the 10 commandments.
The 10 commandments are 10 ways to love. They are 10 ways to live. They are 10 goals to strive for. None of them are outdated. All of them are for us today, and if we are interested in loving Yahweh, we must be interested in knowing, understanding, and obeying the 10 commandments.
I don't want any of my children, or any child in here growing up and deciding to trash the commandments, because they never heard them taught by the pastor of the church. But if I teach the commandments, and you still walk away from them, I have done my part.
I will talk about how we have broken the commandments, and I will talk about how we can keep the commandments. I will teach both law and grace. I will teach both faith and works. I will teach the whole council of Yahweh. I love you all, and I want you all to love Yahweh. I want to love Yahweh. I want to love Yahweh more and more. The way to do that is by studying His commandments, and learning how to keep His commandments.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT
Read: Exodus 20:1-3; Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Today we begin our study through the 10 commandments, looking at each of them in light of (1) our failure to keep them, and (2) the requirement to live by them.
The 10 commandments are not the only 10 laws in the Bible. If you are reading them as exhaustive details about how to live, you are reading them incorrectly. They are each summaries of broader law or categories of law.
It is similar to how Yeshua spoke of 2 commands (in Matthew 22:34-40). Yeshua wasn't saying Yahweh only gave 2 commandments. He was saying that every commandment can be summed up inside of those 2 (love Yahweh; love your neighbor).
The 10 commandments are more detailed than the 2, yet they are still summaries of the entire law. Each commandment contains within it a wealth of information.
The Command Itself The first commandment, which we read moments ago, is not just the first in order; it is also the first or primary commandment in rank. It encompasses everything in Yahweh's law. Yahweh says, "Do not have other gods besides me," (HCSB) or "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (KJV)
Some people read the words "before me" here, and conclude that other mighty ones do exist, but none are as high in rank as Yahweh. Others read the words as Yahweh saying "do not have other mighty ones before my face, or in my presence" because other mighty ones do not exist.
I believe that Scripture teaches that Yahweh is the All-mighty, but that there does exist other mighty ones in both the spirit realm and even in the fleshly realm.
This doesn't mean that any of the other mighty ones are equivalent with Yahweh in power, knowledge, and ability... but nonetheless they do exist.
For example: Exodus 15:11 says "Yahweh, who is like you among the gods (elohim)? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonders?" I don't think the question being asked is: "Yahweh, who is like you among the idols or non-existing deities," but instead, "Who among all the mighty ones of heaven and earth can be compared to Yahweh?" Psalm 86:8 says: "Lord, there is no one like You among the gods," and Psalm 136:2 says that Yahweh is the "God of gods" or Elohim of elohim. He's first place.
There exist other mighty ones in heaven and earth, but none can be compared to Yahweh. None have the authority that Yahweh has. None are able to make laws above or beyond what Yahweh has commanded. All authorities are subservient to Yahweh.
I Am Yahweh Your Elohim This is why you see a theme in the law of Yahweh, whereby laws begin or end with "I am Yahweh your Elohim." You'll find this over 30 times in the Old Testament, when Yahweh is giving authoritative declaration. He is declaring: "Because I am your Mighty One - your unique, sole authority - all other authorities bow to me. No one has the right to over-rule what I have commanded."
This is the first commandment. Yahweh is the Mighty One that stands above all others. He is the Mighty One that is to be first place in our lives, decisions, and in all that we do.
Putting Yahweh First Other authorities may exist in our life. Other mighty ones play a part in how we live. We have governments, parents, bosses, etc. We are called throughout Scripture to submit to authority structures. The key is that we understand that no authority structure would exist, unless Yahweh granted their authority.
A parent has authority over their child, but the parent was given such authority by The Supreme Being, Almighty Yahweh. This means that when the parent (or government, or boss) commands something contrary to what Yahweh has commanded, Yahweh still rules. There is no authority before (in front of) him, or beside (equivalent with) him.
It is alright to be devoted to others. I should be devoted to my wife and my children. I should be devoted to my family and my friends. There are levels of devotion though. For example: I am devoted more to my wife than anyone else in here. She's my best friend. I'm more worried about what she thinks of me, than what anyone else thinks of me. But as much as I love my wife, she cannot take top position in my life. Same goes for her with me. She has to be devoted to Yahweh in a stronger way that she devotes herself to Matthew.
Our Decisions vs. His Word In so many discussions, I've heard people say something like: "Well... I believe this, or that, or such and such. I think this is the way things should go," and they explain what they think is best or right, never looking to what Yahweh has said in His Word.
Anytime you come to a conclusion on what you think to be right or wrong, without looking to what Yahweh has commanded, you are having another mighty one in your life before Yahweh.
We grow up with ways to live and things to believe. We all inherit something from our parents and grandparents. Some of it is good, but none of it is infallible. It always bows to Yahweh's law. What a parent or grandparent says is always secondary to what Yahweh says.
We read some things in the Bible, and we think, "Ok... I can go along with that," but that's the wrong mentality. That's reading the Bible to see what we agree with, and trashing what we don't agree with. Reading Yahweh's law is supposed to transform us. We are to read it, and the many times it goes against what we think or want, we are to humbly submit to what Yahweh says.
Far too often people begin with their conclusion. I'm talking about Christian people; people who profess to believe in Holy Scripture. We decide what we think is best. We decide what we want to believe, because of various reasons: parents, grandparents, denomination, life experience, what makes us feel good, a dream we had etc. Then we go to the Bible to try and find something to back us up. That's beginning with your conclusion. That is the wrong way to read the Bible, and it is a violation of the first commandment.
Obedience means reading the Bible in order to come to a conclusion of what to believe; in order to come to a conclusion of what is right and wrong. You study, not caring what anyone else thinks, over and above Yahweh. It's not that you don't care about people; you do. You just don't care about people as much as you care about what Yahweh.
It is in the times when you are reading and studying Holy Scripture, and you come across something that goes against what an authority structure taught you, or something that isn't popular in main stream culture, or something that is looked down upon by society. You decide that you will submit to Yahweh, in spite of what anyone else may think of you. These are the times when you are loving Yahweh. These are the times when you are saying, "Yahweh, you told me not to have other mighty ones before You, so I'm standing on what You have said."
So you see how this command is the pinnacle and summary of all other commands. This one comes first because it is first. It is a call of ultimate allegiance to Yahweh above anything or anyone else.
The SHEMA I coupled this commandment with Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to begin the sermon, the passage which begins with the Hebrew word SHEMA, translated as "hear" or "listen." The word SHEMA doesn't mean a mere hearing of the ear. Yahweh isn't saying to just listen to Him audibly. He is saying "Listen with the intent to obey." Oftentimes the word SHEMA is translated in your Bible with the English word obey, because that's what it means. Deuteronomy 13:4 says to keep Yahweh's commands and listen (shema) to his voice. Listen intently, so you know how to obey. He that hath ears let him hear (Yeshua said). Not hear physically. Hear spiritually, so you obey.
What are we to obey in the SHEMA? So many people read Deuteronomy 6:4, using it in debates on how many persons God is. I've been guilty of this myself in talking with Trinitarians. "The SHEMA says the Lord is 1, not 3" I've said. But this is not the original meaning of the SHEMA. I don't hold to the Trinitarian idea of Yahweh. I do believe Yahweh is one, single person. But that is not the point of the SHEMA.
Deuteronomy 6:4 is not a theological statement of belief. It is an oath of loyalty. It is a command to Israel to have Yahweh as the supreme Mighty One in their life. Listen Israel. Listen with the intent on obeying this: Yahweh is our Mighty One. Yahweh alone. That's how some Bibles translate it, and I believe that is the better sense of the passage in context. The SHEMA is not declaring monotheism. It is commanding loyalty.
When Moses penned that down, he wasn't debating Trinitarians. Yahweh was giving a command that the Israelites were to have Yahweh as their sole authority. They were to have no other mighty ones before Him. That is the command to us today as well.
How We SHEMA We are to love Yahweh with everything. His law is to be our guide. His law is to be in our heart. His law is to be in our conversation, and even written on the doorpost of our house and upon our gates. Writing His law on your doorpost and gates goes beyond just the writing; it means that Yahweh is the center of your home. He is the Ruler of where you live. What goes on - on your property - is governed by the law of Yahweh. Listen Israel: Yahweh is your Mighty One. Yahweh alone. Serve no other. Pledge your allegiance to no other.
Anytime we say something is a sin that's not condemned in the law, we break the first commandment. Anytime we say something is not a sin, when it is a violation of the law, we break the first commandment. Anytime we read our own bias or personal prejudice into the law we break the first commandment.
We all come to Yahweh with baggage, and we fight hard because we want to keep at least some of that baggage. We fight because we are prideful people that do not want to submit to His authority.
It ruffles our feathers so much when we see something Yahweh teaches that doesn't go along with what we think. We start proof-texting. I've seen it done so much. You scramble to find a way to justify your thoughts. You desperately look for something in the Bible to fit your own thinking. And if that's what you want, that's what you will get. If you want to serve yourself or someone else; if you want to have a mighty one before Yahweh, you will have that mighty one.
Yahweh knows how much effort and study you put in. He sees whether or not you are diligently seeking His will. He knows the intents of your heart. He knows if you are submitting or resisting. He knows when you have an elohim before Him.
I believe we've all broken the first commandment, and since we have... we've broken the most important commandment in the law. All other commands fall under this one, and we are all guilty of disobedience.
The key is that you recognize your sin, ask Yahweh to forgive you for your sin, repent of your sin, place your faith in His Messiah who did not sin, and then ask Yahweh to help you put Him first. When you pray, ask Yahweh to help you read His Word with a willing heart. Ask Him to help you not fight what He has said. Ask Him to help you let go of traditions, ideologies, ways of thinking... that don't align with His instructions.
Yahweh must be number 1 all by Himself. No one else gets that spot. Oh how I've fallen so short. I'm thankful He forgives when we repent. I'm thankful He gave His Son as a substitute sacrifice for my breaking the first commandment. Now... I want to strive to obey Yahweh fully. I don't want to have another mighty one before Him.
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT
Read: Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 4:11-19
We now come to the commandment concerning images and likenesses. In the KJV, the first part of this commandment reads: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything."
If the only passage dealing with this subject was Exodus 20:4-6, we might come to the conclusion that any images, statues, icons, paintings, drawings, etc. are forbidden. Some people throughout history have come to that conclusion. Others have read the same commandment, and focused on the second part in the commandment where we read: "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them." This view says that it is ok to make an image, so long as we do not bow down to, or serve the image.
Orthodox and Catholic The Orthodox Church, along with the Roman Catholic Church uses images and icons in their worship. They explain their use of images by saying that they are not worshiping the images, just venerating or honoring God or saints through the medium of the image.
An Orthodox believer would say that you might carry with you a picture of your spouse or children in your wallet (or in these days on your phone). If you are away from your family for an amount of time, such an image would mean a lot to you.
I remember watching Hacksaw Ridge, the movie where Desmond Doss (a 7th Day Adventist) joined the military, but kept a picture of his sweetheart with him to look at.
So... you might even kiss such a picture if you're away from someone you love for a long time, but you know that the picture is not the person. You are not idolizing the picture, you are just using it to help you remember someone you love.
Catholics would say the same, and maybe even go a step further. Some Orthodox believers limit their images to 2-dimensional icons; paintings of Christ and saints who have died in the faith. Catholics allow 3-dimensional images or statues. You've probably seen a crucifix before; a cross with a statue of Christ hanging on the cross. A Catholic believer would tell you that the he or she is using such a statue as a medium through which to worship THE Christ. They would say, "I am not worshiping the statue, only venerating or honoring the statue. It reminds me of Christ."
Protestant Reaction In history, some men in the Protestant Reformation re-acted to the Roman Catholic view by removing all images and icons from their churches. One such Protestant, a Puritan in the 1600's by the name of Thomas Watson, said: "The Church of Rome is reproved and condemned, which, from the Beginning of its religion to the End, is wholly idolatrous. Romanists make images of God the Father, painting him in their church windows as an old man; and an image of Christ on the crucifix; and, because it is against the letter of this commandment, they sacrilegiously blot it out of their catechism, and divide the tenth commandment into two."
Thomas Watson got a bit excited when he wrote that, because it's not technically accurate. If you pick up a Catholic Bible you will find the commandment we read at the beginning of this lesson there. They didn't remove it. What they do is number the Ten Commandments differently. They see Exodus 20:3 and Exodus 20:4-6 as all going together for the first commandment, and they explain the part about graven images and likenesses as pertaining to worship, not just the making of the image.
Thomas Watson, among others, re-acted to Rome's theology of images and use of images by removing all images from the church and worship setting. So even today, if you enter into a Protestant Church, you probably wouldn't see any images or icons anywhere. Walking into a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Church, you'd see quite a few.
But should we take a position on this issue by simply re-acting to another's point of view? Sometimes we do that. Sometimes we see how people do things religiously, and we think they are wrong, so we get as far away from their view as possible, and we forget about studying the Bible.
Are Images Forbidden? (Examples) Does Yahweh forbid the making of any image or likeness? Well... this commandment is found in Exodus 20:4-6, and just five chapters later, Yahweh gives another commandment in relation to the building of the Tabernacle. In Exodus 25 Yahweh commands that two cherub of gold be fashioned to go on top of the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was the holiest tangible object in Israel's faith, and was housed in the holiest place on earth. In it sat a pot of manna, Aaron's rod that budded almonds, and the Ten Commandment stones. On top sat a lid, sometimes called the mercy seat, and on the lid were fashioned two statues - cherubs, or angelic creatures with their wings touching each other.
Then, in Exodus 26 Yahweh commands that the curtains for the Tabernacle have a design of cherubim (plural) worked into them. These are living creatures in the heavens above, and Yahweh is commanding that images of them be made.
We also see later on in the stationary tabernacle, known as the Temple in Jerusalem, that king Solomon had two 15 foot cherubs built out of olive wood, and the temple walls had carvings and engravings on them of cherubs, palm trees, and flower blossoms. You can read about this in 1 Kings 6.
1 Kings 7 mentions a cast metal reservoir that held water used for ceremonial washing. Ornamental gourds encircled the reservoir, and it stood on top of 12 statues of oxen facing outward in a circle. You can also read here about water carts for the Temple. The carts were framed, and on the frames were pictures of lions, oxen, and cherubim.
In 1 Kings 9 Yahweh told Solomon that He consecrated this Temple that Solomon had built, and Yahweh never said one negative word about all the images and likenesses inside the Temple.
Catholic and Orthodox Christians point all of this out when talking to Protestants. They say, "See, it's not the images or likenesses that are forbidden, but the bowing down to them and the worshiping of them."
The Bronze Snake They would also point out Numbers 21. Let's go to Numbers 21 and read verses 4-9.
4 Then they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea to bypass the land of Edom, but the people became impatient because of the journey. 5 The people spoke against Elohim and Moses: "Why have you led us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread or water, and we detest this wretched food!" 6 Then Yahweh sent poisonous snakes among the people, and they bit them so that many Israelites died. 7 The people then came to Moses and said, "We have sinned by speaking against Yahweh and against you. Intercede with Yahweh so that He will take the snakes away from us." And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then Yahweh said to Moses, "Make a snake [image] and mount it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks at it, he will recover." 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and mounted it on a pole. Whenever someone was bitten, and he looked at the bronze snake, he recovered.
Yeshua mentions this account when speaking with Nicodemus. He says (John 3:14-15): "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life." Yeshua is equating himself with that bronze snake. Just like the Israelites were healed of their snake bites by looking on the bronze snake, the Israelites will be granted eternal life by looking upon the Son of Man. (I believe the lifting up here of the Son of Man is speaking of him being lifted up on a pole or cross, just like the bronze snake was mounted on a pole.)
Again, an image was made at the command of Yahweh. This bronze snake was not worshiped here in Numbers 21, but it was looked upon in accordance with the command of Yahweh.
Turn over to 2 Kings 18:1-4 and let me show you something. Let's read:
1 In the third year of Israel's King Hoshea son of Elah, Hezekiah son of Ahaz became king of Judah. 2 He was 25 years old when he became king; he reigned 29 years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi daughter of Zechariah. 3 He did what was right in Yahweh's sight just as his ancestor David had done. 4 He removed the high places and shattered the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah [poles]. He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made, for the Israelites burned incense to it up to that time. He called it Nehushtan.
Nehushtan simply means "copper." Hezekiah called it "copper" to remind the Israelites that it was just an object. It had no life in it. The people had taken it too far. They were burning incense to it, which was worshiping the image.
What's the Answer? In studying the Scriptures, it appears that the Catholics and the Orthodox have a pretty good case for what they do. They acknowledge the commandment, but in light of the totality of Scripture, they believe the commandment forbids worshiping the images made, not the making of the images themselves.
Here's what I think they miss. There is no positive example in Scripture of any image being made of Yahweh, and then using that image in the worship of Him. There is also no positive example of the early New Covenant church making images or icons of the Messiah to use in their worship of Yeshua. This is where I think the Catholics and Orthodox go overboard.
It can be argued that an image of Yeshua is permitted, seeing he is a flesh and blood human. I can't argue against that, but (1) we must still guard against how it is used, and (2) how do we know what he looked like?
While some Protestants are too strict to have any images inside of a church setting (which is not Biblical), some Catholics and Orthodox go to the other extreme, and have images of the Almighty and Christ in the church setting, and set a level of affection on such images that I don't believe Yahweh is always comfortable with.
They might always come back with the rebuttal: "We are not worshiping the icon or the statue." But at what point does it become worship and thus sin? At what point does the veneration of images and icons become the worship of the image or icon?
I once had the opportunity go to San Antonio Texas, and visit a Roman Catholic Church built in the 1500's. The architecture was stunning, and there was a giant crucifix at the center of the front wall in the main sanctuary area. A young man knelt on a kneeler gazing at the crucifix with great affection. I wondered how long he would kneel there. It seemed like forever. Was this a mere looking upon the crucifix, as the Israelites looked upon the bronze serpent? Or was this overstepping the bounds of looking at the crucifix?
Remember: in 2 Kings 18 the Israelites were burning incense to the bronze snake. Nothing is said about praying to it, or bowing down to it, yet it was still seen as sin, because they had taken it too far.
When a person can look at a statue of the Virgin Mary and say: "Hail Mary Mother of God, full of grace and truth," is that not crossing the line? When a person can kiss a crucifix in a religious setting, is that not overstepping the bounds of the commandment?
None of the images or icons in the Old Testament were used in the proper worship of Yahweh. The images were there. The cherubim were there. The oxen were there. The bronze snake was there. But the most we can say is that these images were looked at. They were not kissed. No one bowed before the image. They were not held in the hand while an Israelite prayed. They were simply there, and in this list of images, there was never an approved image of Yahweh the Creator.
Can we go above and beyond what Yahweh has commanded and approved of? I don't believe so. While some Protestants may be disallowing less than what Yahweh allowed, we can't go beyond what Yahweh allows. According to Scripture, we would be allowed to have an image or icon here in the church setting, but (1) only to look at for its artistic beauty, (2) to bring to remembrance a great person or occurrence in Scripture, and (3) never of Yahweh.
The moment we begin worshiping Yahweh contrary to how He has prescribed, we open up a box that cannot be shut. This is why you see churches today doing everything under the sun in their worship service. I saw two guys do a rap about the UGA-Alabama SEC championship in front of their church during worship service. Then there was this pastor dude that came down from the balcony on a wire in an attempt to depict Christ coming in the clouds.
What has happened is that people have decided how they are going to worship Yahweh, when Yahweh has already prescribed how worship towards Him should go. We don't get to come up with our own images - our own imaginations - as to how He should be worshiped. We don't get to make a calf and proclaim (Exodus 32), "This is the elohim that brought you out of the land of Egypt!" No. We are to worship Him in the manner He prescribes. The Israelites were not creating another elohim in Exodus 32, they were depicting Yahweh by the calf. In the ancient near east, the bull was a sign of strength and power. They made this image to worship Yahweh through.
If He allows images and likenesses in the Tabernacle, so be it. But that doesn't mean we can make an image or likeness of Him who is the Creator, nor does it mean we can go beyond looking at the images that He allows, else they should be smashed into pieces like Hezekiah did to the bronze snake.
There are lawful things we may do outside of a church context. You wanna' go zip lining? Knock yourself out, but don't zip line into the pulpit to preach. You want to paint a picture, or make a carving, or form a statue. That is fine, but don't make one of Yahweh, and don't bow down or pray to any of the ones you are allowed to make.
It's about what makes Yahweh comfortable. It's not about what you want, it's about what He wants. Yahweh decides how He is to be worshiped, and we should respect His decision. Do what He says. Allow what He allows. Don't go beyond it, and don't condemn someone who stays in the parameters of the law, even if you personally refrain.
Some Protestants I believe are too strict on images and icons. And some Catholics and Orthodox I believe are not strict enough. We should always examine our practices in light of Holy Scripture, least we be involved in adding to or taking away from Yahweh's law. This commandment says that Yahweh is a jealous Mighty One. Let's not provoke our Mighty One to jealousy with an image or likeness.
As the end of the second commandment says: "For I Yahweh your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, punishing the children for the father's sin to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands."
THE THIRD COMMANDMENT
Read Exodus 20:7; Leviticus 19:12
I was talking to a fellow one time about the Sacred Name, and he remarked how it grated on him to hear someone swear using God's name. He made a clever statement by saying, "God's last name is not damn." I chuckled, and said, "You're right... and his first name is not God."
In Exodus 20:7, the KJV reads: "Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Mighty One in vain, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who taketh His name in vain."
The Complete Jewish Bible gives an interesting take on this verse that I believe is good. It reads: "You are not to use lightly the name of [Yahweh] your Mighty One, because [Yahweh] will not leave unpunished someone who uses His name lightly."
The First Commandment teaches us that there is no higher authority than Yahweh. The Second Commandment teaches that we should not form idols to represent Yahweh, and that we should worship Yahweh on His terms. The Third Commandment goes right along with these two in teaching that the name of the Almighty should be held sacred. His name expresses who He is. His name is part of who He is.
The Sacred Name I've used the name Yahweh in reading Exodus 20:7 from three versions of the Bible. This is because that is the name that belongs in Exodus 20:7. You'll find it rendered as "the LORD" in all capital letters in these Bibles. While "Lord" carries the meaning of Master or Superior, the letters there in Hebrew are yod, hey, waw, hey - coming over into English as YHWH. This is the Divine Name. This is the name that Yeshua spoke of in the prayer he taught us to pray: "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name."
During the second temple period, a Jewish tradition to not speak the Sacred Name came about. It started with a noble beginning. People were worried about violating the Third Commandment. They did not want to misuse the Name, take it in vain, or use it lightly. That's a righteous concern. The problem is, oftentimes when we place fences around the law, we end up violating the law in other areas.
You will never find any Patriarch, Prophet, or Holy Man in Scripture that felt this way about the Third Commandment. Psalm 99:6 says: "Moses and Aaron were among His priests; Samuel also was among those calling on His name. They called to Yahweh, and He answered them." At the burning bush in Exodus 3:15, the Almighty said to Moses: "Yahweh is my name forever. It is my memorial to all generations." The word memorial means "my remembrance." Yahweh is telling Moses, "This is how I want to be remembered." The NIV says here: "This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation."
It is important that we use the name of Yahweh, because it's how He desires to be remembered. We may say, "When I say 'the Lord," he knows who I'm talking about," but it doesn't matter how we think He should be remembered. What matters is what He wants, and what He commands.
The name Yahweh means "I will be who I will be" rendered in many Bibles as "I am that I am." The meaning carries with it the idea that He is the Creator. He is the Sustainer of the Universe. He is self-existent. No one brought Him into existence. He is the One who makes everything else happen. Every time we say "Yahweh" we are acknowledging His supremacy over the Universe. Yahweh is not just any name. It is the Supreme Name.
So a first way we take His name in vain is by not using it. The word vain means "nothingness, emptiness, to bring to naught or falsity." The Jewish tradition says: "If we do not speak the Divine Name, we will not have the possibility of mis-using the Name." The problem is: by not speaking it, we are bringing it to naught. We are removing from our vocabulary the very Name the Creator desires to be remembered by.
The Taking of Oaths A second way we violate the Third Commandment is by taking His name upon our lips in a vow or oath, and not keeping that vow. This is likely the primary meaning of the commandment in the days of old. Deuteronomy 6:13 says: "Fear Yahweh your Mighty One, worship Him, and take your oaths in His name."
In Genesis 24 Abraham required his servant to swear by Yahweh that he would perform a task. In Jeremiah 34 the Israelites are said to have freed their male and female servants in the year of release (the 7th year), but then to have changed their mind and enslaved these people all over again. Verses 14-15 of that chapter read:
Today you repented and did what pleased Me, each of you proclaiming freedom for his neighbor. You made a covenant before Me at the temple called by My name. But you have changed your minds and profaned My name. Each has taken back his male and female slaves who had been freed to go wherever they wanted, and you have again subjugated them to be your slaves.
Oaths were taken in the name of Yahweh to show forth the seriousness of the oath. No one else could really hold you accountable to an oath. But Yahweh says that he will. He will punish those who do not keep their oaths in His name.
When you promise Yahweh you will do something. When you pray to Yahweh and tell him you are going to do something, and then you back off of that, you've taken His name in vain.
In Matthew 5 Yeshua rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for developing a loophole in this law of swearing by Yahweh's name. Yeshua told them, "Don't take an oath at all: either by heaven, because it is the Almighty's throne; or by the earth, because it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King. Neither should you swear by your head, because you cannot make a single hair white or black."
Some have taken Yeshua's words as a command to not take oaths, even oaths in Yahweh's name, but that would contradict what Yahweh says in Deuteronomy 6:13.
What is happening here is: the Pharisees had come up with a way of taking oaths that did not technically hold them accountable. They would swear, but they wouldn't use the Sacred Name in their oath. They'd swear by heaven, or earth, or Jerusalem, or the hair of their beard, and then when they didn't keep their word, it would be ok... at least in their minds.
Yeshua is saying: "Don't take this kind of an oath at all. Your yes should be yes. Your no should be no." Oaths should be serious. We shouldn't have to go around swearing oaths all the time to prove our word. Our word should be yes and no on a regular basis.
When I was a teenager, I heard of one guy on the construction job site who would always tell a story and then say, "That's the God's honest truth y'all." When he said that, you knew He was lying. As soon as he brought God into it, it got sketchy.
You don't have to swear all the time to back up your word, but we should perform oaths in Yahweh's name, and then stick with those oaths. We have righteous examples of this in Scripture.
Using the Name Lightly A third way we can violate this commandment is by using Yahweh's name flippantly, in a joking or light manner. His name should be held Sacred. That doesn't mean we can't use His Name in our everyday speech. For example, in the book of Ruth, Boaz came out to greet His workers by saying, "Yahweh be with you." That is acceptable. It's okay to use Yahweh's name in your day-to-day speech.
What we want to make sure we do not do is use it lightly. Don't speak Yahweh's name in a joke. Don't use it half-heartedly, or Yah-forbid, in the midst of unrighteous anger or in a curse.
In Leviticus 24 a fight broke out between an Israelite woman's son and an Israelite man, and the woman's son cursed and blasphemed the Sacred Name. The young man was brought to Moses, and when Moses went and asked Yahweh what should be done, Yahweh told him to stone the young man to death. Yahweh told Moses: "If anyone curses his Mighty One, he will bear the consequences of his sin."
This brings me back to the beginning of my sermon where I talked about the man who said "God's last name is not damn." Now I do not believe that "God" is the name of the Creator, but I do believe that when people use the expression "God damn," they are blaspheming the Creator, because that is the intent behind the phrase. In their minds, God means the Mighty One spoken about in the Holy Bible. So when someone uses this expletive, they are violating the Third Commandment in principle. They are using an appellative for Yahweh in a demeaning way.
The Way We Live Life A fourth way we can violate the Third Commandment is by living a lifestyle that doesn't promote the ways of Yahweh. People who know us know that we stand for the name of Yahweh, and thus what we do shines a big, bright light on His name. If we use His name on our lips and then live a life of wickedness, it brings dishonor to His name.
The Apostle Paul wrote of the Sacred Name being blasphemed among the heathens because of the way certain Israelites were living. Paul rebukes hypocrisy. He says that some Israelites say they uphold the law, and boast in the Almighty, but do not practice what they speak. He says, "You then who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who boast in the law, do you dishonor the Almighty by breaking the law? For as it is written, the name of the Almighty is blasphemed among the heathen because of you." That's Romans 2:17-24.
We are to live in such a way that people see we are different in a good way. In our marriages, child-rearing, business, recreation, etc. People should see righteousness and truth. Our lives should bring honor to the name of Yahweh. People should trust us. People should come to us for help. People should ask us to pray for them. But when we half-heartedly serve Yahweh, or speak His name and then live the opposite way, we cause His name to be blasphemed among the heathen.
The Lord Spoke to Me A fifth way of violating this command is when people so casually claim the Lord spoke to them about something. It's like some people have a big red phone that they can call the Lord on. I'm not saying Yahweh can't speak to you, I'm just saying (1) I don't believe the majority of the claims, because they are much too frequent and nonsensical, (2) don't say it if you just felt an impulse while reading or studying, and (3) don't say it unless it actually happened.
There's only a handful of people in all of Scripture that Yahweh spoke to verbally. He's not just cavalierly speaking to people left and right today. If you claim He spoke to you, and it didn't happen, you've just used His name in vain. You've just attributed something to Him that is false.
Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness The first use of the law is as a mirror to show us our sin. Each time I teach on a commandment, if the Holy Spirit lives inside of you, you will be convicted of something. I want you to know that you can repent, and He will forgive you with open arms. He loves those who repent daily and seek to obey Him with their whole heart. While he will not leave unpunished those who take His name in vain, He will reward those who reverence and honor His name. May we be among those who have a high regard for His name, and be a special possession on the day He is preparing. May He have compassion on us as a man has compassion on his son who serves Him.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT
Read: Exodus 20:8-11
There are hundreds of commandments in the Bible. Here in Exodus 20 we have a 10 point summary of them. It is difficult to say which of the 10 is your favorite, because they are all good and holy. But, if I had to pick one to call my favorite, it would probably be the 4th commandment.
The Sabbath is a weekly recharge of your natural and spiritual batteries. The old Puritan Thomas Watson said: "The business of week days makes us forgetful of God and our souls: the Sabbath brings Him back to our remembrance." It's not that we forget Yahweh throughout the week, but we become forgetful. We get involved in life's activities. We have busy schedules. We have things to take care of. The Sabbath brings all of that to a halt. We pause. We remember why we are here on this planet.
The command brings the Creator to mind. Yahweh is not asking us to do something that He doesn't do. He's asking us to follow His example. Genesis 2:2 says that Yahweh "rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done." We are called to do as He did.
Slavery vs. Freedom The Sabbath reminds us that we aren't slaves. Slaves of man are made to work hard and work all the time. Slave-drivers do not care about their slaves. We are servants of Yahweh, but He cares about us. He gives us a day off.
If you have a job you work hard at, and your employer says: "You're doing a great job. You've been working hard. You need a day off. Your job security is fine, I just want you to take a rest day each week." Would you think that employer was a slave-driver, or a nice guy? The allowance of a rest day equals a good boss.
Everyone Gets to Sabbath The Sabbath teaches us to respect everyone, regardless of their status. The command says "you must not to any work - you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates." Your children, your servants, and the foreigners get to keep Sabbath. The Sabbath was for anyone who joined to Israel. Isaiah 56 says that the foreigners who keep the Sabbath will be blessed.
Yahweh respects all life, right down to the animals. Horses were used for transportation. Cows and donkeys were used for plowing, or carrying burdens. But on the Sabbath, they all get a rest. We have a righteous Elohim that regards the life of even the animals.
Is the Law a Burden? It's amazing that people think and teach the law as a burden, when we have one of the Ten Commandments that says to rest for a whole day each week. How is that a burden?
And on top of that, Yahweh only asks for 1 day and gives us 6 days. We are to live holy everyday, but all days are not holy. The 6 work days are common, meaning we are to labor in them, and do our chores, errands, and mundane things. The 7th day belongs to Him. He blessed in the 7th day in Genesis 2:3, declaring it holy.
He could have asked for 6 days and given us 1, but He didn't. He only asked for 1 day. Is 1 too much? Are we so stingy that we won't remember to dedicate the 1 day that He has blessed and sanctified? That's 24 hours a week y'all. We have 144 hours to work and do what we want to do, within the confines of His law. He only asks for 24 hours to be dedicated solely to Him.
No Work at All The Sabbath is a day of no work. Not just commerce or gainful employment, but any work. Doing your laundry. Taking out the trash. Cleaning your home, etc. I'm not saying that if you make a sandwich you can't scrape the crumbs off the counter top. Or if your baby has an accident on the floor your can't get the Swiffer out. Let's not get Pharisaical here. Pharisees always complicate things. You get the picture. Stop working. Rest. Don't do what you normally do the other 6 days of the week.
Seeing that work stops on the Sabbath, the commandment includes that no buying and selling take place on the Sabbath. You aren't to work for someone else, and someone else should not be working for you. The clearest place we see this in Scripture is Nehemiah 13:15-22, which I'd like to turn to and read.
15 At that time I saw people in Judah treading wine presses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in stores of grain and loading [them] on donkeys, along with wine, grapes, and figs. All kinds of goods were being brought to Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. So I warned [them] against selling food on that day. 16 The Tyrians living there were importing fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah in Jerusalem. 17 I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them: "What is this evil you are doing-profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Didn't your ancestors do the same, so that our God brought all this disaster on us and on this city? And now you are rekindling [His] anger against Israel by profaning the Sabbath!" 19 When shadows began to fall on the gates of Jerusalem just before the Sabbath, I gave orders that the gates be closed and not opened until after the Sabbath. I posted some of my men at the gates, so that no goods could enter during the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and those who sell all kinds of goods camped outside Jerusalem, 21 but I warned them, "Why are you camping in front of the wall? If you do it again, I'll use force against you." After that they did not come again on the Sabbath. 22 Then I instructed the Levites to purify themselves and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, my Mighty One, and look on me with compassion in keeping with Your abundant, faithful love.
The Sabbath was a big deal to Nehemiah, because he knew the commandment. Sometimes people wonder why we make such a big deal about the commandments. The answer is simple: they are Yahweh's commandments. He's the Creator. He created us, and knows what is best for us. If He commands us to do something, or not to do something, it's a big deal. If it's a big deal to Him, it should be a big deal to us.
One time a Pastor and I had a conversation about the Sabbath. He asked me: "Don't you think you're being a bit legalistic (by keeping the fourth commandment)?" I asked him if he kept the 7th commandment (don't commit adultery). When he said yes, I asked: "Don't you think you're being a bit legalistic?" It's righteousness, not legalism, when we obey Yahweh's commandments.
Our Schedules The Sabbath reminds us that we live on borrowed time. Yahweh is the Creator of time. He makes everything tick. In Him we live and move and have our being. If time is His, we should make sure we are using His time, the life He gives us, to honor Him.
Have you ever thought about this? Whatever you schedule around is what is most important to you. When you get out your calendar for the week, and something is top priority to you, you make sure it happens. No matter if it's a ballgame, or your favorite show on TV, or something you need to do around the house. It's ok to have things on our schedule, but when the Sabbath rolls back around, it needs to be the main thing we are scheduling around, because you wouldn't even have any time if not for Yahweh.
If you love your wife, you'll spend time with your wife. And if you love the Lord, you'll spend time with Him. You'll schedule around His Sabbath. "Nope. I can't do this thing on that day, because it's the Sabbath day." "I'm sorry, but I won't be able to make it to that event, we have our holy convocation for the Sabbath then." The Sabbath should be the most important thing on your calendar.
The Sabbath Gathering Speaking of holy convocation, that's another aspect of Sabbath-keeping. Holy Convocation is an old, English way of speaking about a set-apart public gathering. The HCSB calls them "sacred assemblies" in Leviticus 23. It's what you might call a church service. What we are doing here. We have set aside a time for the Sabbath to have a weekly public meeting. We pray, we sing, we share testimonies, we read Scripture, and we have the teaching of the Word.
Yeshua always attended synagogue on the Sabbath. Luke 4:16 says: "As usual, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath day." The KJV says "as his custom was." The word synagogue means an assembly of people. It's the same as our word church, that doesn't just refer to a building we meet in, but also the people that meet together. We do this, right here, to encourage one another. Sabbath service is like pulling back into the gas station to fill up with gas. If you forsake to assemble yourself together with the brothers and sisters on the Sabbath day, you will slowly fade away into more and more of yourself, rather than more and more of Yahweh. The Sabbath gathering is a way to keep yourself in check. It is a way to have accountability in your life.
We come in here and hug one another. We smile at one another. We sing songs to and about Yahweh with one another. Some of us sing in tune, others out of tune, but we all make a joyful noise to Yahweh. We listen to a lesson taught from the Word, so that we are taught to obey the Word. We are here for Yahweh, but we reap the benefit. We are here to keep the commandment to assemble, but in keeping it, Yahweh grants us spiritual strength.
Hebrews 10:25 tells us we should not stay away from the assembly, as some people habitually do, but come together and encourage one another. We are here for Yahweh first, and each other second. We are here to promote love and good works. You can't do that if you always stay at home and never attend Sabbath service.
I stand by everything I've just said, but let me say this as well: I realize some people live in areas without fellowship. That's why we offer the call-in number, and live Facebook feed. If that's the best you can do, Yahweh understands. I also realize that people get sick or care for those who are sick in their family. I'm not referring to these people. Forsaking the assembly means that you have the ability to come to the Sabbath gathering, nothing is holding you back, but your flesh. When you do that, you are sinning against Yahweh
Overlooked There's much that can be said about this commandment. It is overlooked in our day and time. You'll often hear things like "The Sabbath has been abolished. Jesus is our Sabbath now. We don't have to keep a day holy, etc." But none of that is in the Bible. People derive that from certain verses they take out of context.
Yahweh kept the Sabbath. Yeshua kept the Sabbath. They still keep the Sabbath. Why in the world would we not keep the Sabbath? I can think of no better examples to follow.
Cooking? There are some intricacies in Sabbath keeping. There are some things that you will do as you grow and learn. For example, from reading Exodus 16 I came to conclusion years ago that we shouldn't cook on the Sabbath. Not all the people of Yahweh agree. Some of the brothers and sisters I've met over the years see that chapter as teaching against going out to gather on the Sabbath rather than cooking. I honestly can see and understand that position, but I would still say that some forms of cooking are work. There's a difference between making some coffee or a sandwich, and putting together a 3 course dinner. You could just decide to eat raw on the Sabbath, or even fast on the Sabbath, and then you don't have to worry about much of anything.
Details What you need to do is study the Torah portions about the Sabbath. Look up the word Sabbath in a concordance, and read every section in the Law and Prophets that talk about Sabbath-keeping. You will grow as you learn, and something you may allow in your life now may be disallowed a year from now, but that's how life serving Yahweh goes. He doesn't plop everything down on us at once. He's gracious to let us learn at a slow pace. This race we run is a marathon, not a sprint.
Never be so tedious about the Sabbath that you make it into a burden. The Pharisees did this during the days of Yeshua. They didn't want Yeshua healing anyone on the Sabbath. Some Sabbath traditions even later included making sure to tear your toilet paper before the Sabbath arrived. That's not the heart of the Sabbath. If you want to go outside and take a walk, breathe fresh air, and enjoy Yahweh's creation, that's fine. Don't put on your running gear... Lol, but go for a walk if you want to. If you need to use the bathroom, it's ok to tear the toilet paper. Yeshua teaches that it's also ok to take care of your animals on the Sabbath. They still have to drink and eat. And he healed people on the Sabbath too.
Life always takes precedent. There's been times where I've went and visited people in the hospital on the Sabbath. A hospital doesn't have to shut down on Sabbath. They are caring for the sick. People are in need. I've bought a parking ticket on the Sabbath so that I could sit with someone in the hospital who needed a friend. It's lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
When it comes to what you do and what you don't do on the Sabbath, first stick with what is written, and second check your heart. What is your motive? Ask yourself if something is necessary, or can it wait?
Always plan for the Sabbath. In Exodus 16, the 6th day of the week is called "Preparation Day." If we fail to plan we plan to fail. You can make a list of things you need to get done on Preparation day. Years ago I started working a half-day on Preparation Day, so I could get home and get everything ready for the Sabbath. Run those errands. Get gas. Prepare that meal. Take out the trash. Tidy up. The more you prepare, the more peaceful your Sabbath will be. Then when the Sabbath arrives, rest.
Conclusion Let me say that this sermon is not meant to be a detailed examination of how to keep the Sabbath, nor a rebuttal to the claim that the Sabbath has now been abolished. This sermon is a broad overview of the commandment. How the commandment is a blessing. What it means. How we can observe it.
There's also the matter of when the Sabbath is. Myself... I'm a lunar Sabbath man. I believe the Sabbath is regulated by the lunar-solar calendar. But if you're not at the same understanding, honor what you see at this time. I respect anyone who actually honors a Sabbath as they understand it. This message is not about Sabbath timing. That's for another message or series.
Don't forget the Sabbath saints. It's the only commandment in the 10 that Yahweh says to remember, but it's the commandment that is most forgotten. If you've been forgetting to keep it holy, you can start at this point in your life. You can commit to keeping this commandment, and you will be blessed for doing so. Yahweh will forgive you for all your breakings of the Sabbath if you ask him to, and repent. Yeshua died for your Sabbath breakings. He wants to renew you, and teach you his ways.