Understanding the Ten Commandments 1-3

Ryan Listerman

  1. I am the LORD your God. You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  3. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.

We are first introduced to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:2, which begins with "I am" We see this in other parts of the bible; earlier in Exodus 3:14, God says to Moses, "I am who I am." in the New Testament, John 8:58, Jesus says, "before Abraham was, I Am."

In John 1:1, we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." God isn't just giving us the Law; God is the Law.

God's Law is not the whims of a petty tyrant meant to ruin our joy and break our spirits; its instruction is for our benefit. We see in Hebrews 12:10-11, "For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems not to be pleasant, but painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." God's Law, or as Thomas Aquinas penned it, reasonable instructions, allow us to grow closer to God as we see in Proverbs 23:24 “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him”. Commandment one states we are to love and serve only God; Our obedience to the Law He gave us gives joy to our heavenly father; this is how we love Him.

Anyone that has ever held been entrusted with Authority will understand how vital respect is to realizing our jurisdiction; a disrespectful subject will ultimately undermine your Authority if left unchecked; this discontent will render you completely ineffective. We all fundamentally understand this, and I'm reminded of pop culture, where a gang boss is disrespected and must take violent action or risk losing his power and life. Still, we have fallen, and often the disrespect we acquire in Authority directly results from our own sinful failings in our leadership. God, however, is the “I Am.” Our disrespect undermines His kingdom by influencing a culture around us that first becomes disrespectful to God and, left unchecked, becomes callous towards God. God loves us so much that God shows us mercy, unlike the mob boss in the movie that kills the disrespectful subordinate.

Christians don't recognize Saturday’s Jewish sabbath day but Sunday's ceremonial day of the resurrection. Rest doesn't mean idleness; St. Jerome said, "Be ever engaged so that whenever the devil calls, he finds you occupied.