Summary: The third commandment tells us how to love God.
The Ten Commandments are principles for keeping free. In Exodus 20, these people have become free for the first time in 400 years, and God is telling them, "I gave you freedom. I made you free. Now let Me tell you how to keep it."
So these are ten principles for individual, collective, and national freedom.
When they asked Jesus what the greatest of all the commandments was, He said: "The most important one...is this: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
The first three commands are God telling us how to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It begins by saying you must remember that He is God, not you. You will not take His name in vain. That means you will not use His name in an easy or light way. Whenever you speak the name of God, you must speak it in reverence. You will not misuse His name by using it to get power or glory for yourself. You will not misuse His name to manipulate power over other people. This is a part of how you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Now we come to the third commandment which tells us how to love God.
Patty and I married when we were very young, and I remember how deeply and quickly I fell in love. I recall the story of a young boy asking his father, "Do you believe in love at first sight?" His father wasn't quite prepared for the question so he said, "Well, it does save a lot of time." We waited a whole year after graduation from high school and then we got married, 39 years ago. It was not economically feasible. Of course, it hardly ever is.
Have you heard this?
The bride, leaning on her cane,
Her footsteps needing guiding,
While down the aisle,
With a wan, toothless smile,
The groom in a wheelchair came riding.
Who is this elderly couple just wed?
You'll find if you closely explore it
That this is that rare
And conservative pair
Who waited till they could afford it.
Well, after many years of marriage I made the startling discovery that I liked her more than anybody else. It has long been our practice to strive to save one day a week for each other. I don't play golf, I don't fish, I don't do windows. But, I discovered one way I could express my love for my wife was to give her one day a week. She is my best friend in the whole wide world.
Give God His Day
When God says, "You will love Me with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength,"
in this third commandment, He is saying, "I want you to give Me time. I want you to give Me a day. I want there to be a day when you give Me your undivided attention to renew our relationship and love for each other."
In the Old Testament, the Sabbath, of course, was Saturday. The word Sabbath means "seven." But in the New Testament, Jesus came out of the grave on the first day of the week. He appeared to His disciples on the first day of the week. Pentecost, when the church was born and the Holy Spirit came with great power, was on the first day of the week. We read in the New Testament that the church always met on the first day of the week. When John was getting the revelation while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos, he said, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and he spoke to me. He revealed Himself to me." It was the first day of the week, and it came to be called the Lord's Day, the day in which we love and honor Him. We set it aside to say, "You are the Lord God, and we are not. We love and honor You, and we recognize how much we need You."
Just as we are mind and body, we are also soul and spirit, and we must feed that if we're to recognize our totality of the person that we are. We need the day. We need to say, "Lord, I love You, and I'm giving You time."
We've heard all the teachers and preachers say it. We are even taught this concerning our families. "How do you spell love? T-I-M-E." How do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? Part of that is to say, "Lord, I give You time. I give You this day."