Summary: Teaching on the third commandment
The third commandment Exodus 20:1-7
Here are two Christmas stories and they’re both a play on words. “There once was a czar in Russia whose name was Rudolph the Great. He was standing in his house one day with his wife and as he looked out the window and saw something happening. He says to his wife, "Look honey. It’s raining." But she was the obstinate type and she replied, "I don’t think so, dear. I think it’s snowing." But Rudolph knew better. So he said to his wife, "Let’s step outside and find out." So, they both went outside and discovered it was raining. So, Rudolph turned to his wife and said," I knew it was raining. Rudolph the Red knows rain, dear!"
This guy goes into his dentist’s office, because something is wrong with his mouth. After a brief examination, the dentist exclaims, "Hey, that plate I installed in your mouth about six months ago has nearly completely corroded! What on earth have you been eating?" "Well... the only thing I can think of is this... my wife made me some asparagus about four months ago with this stuff on it... Hollandaise sauce she called it... and doctor, I’m talkin’ DELICIOUS! I’ve never tasted anything like it, and ever since then I’ve been putting Hollandaise sauce on everything... meat, fish, toast, vegetables... you name it!" "That’s probability it," replied the dentist "Hollandaise sauce is made with lemon juice, which is acidic and highly corrosive. I guess I’ll have to install a new plate, but I’ll make it out of chrome this time." "Why chrome?" the man asked. "Well, everyone knows that there’s no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise!"
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 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 shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 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.”
As I said when we began this study of the Ten Commandments, the first three deal with the issue of worship which simply means giving God His due or treating Him with all the love and respect that’s appropriate for who He is and then the last seven deal with how we are to treat one another.
Have you ever had anyone treat you with less than the respect you felt you deserved? I usually don’t think I deserve that much; but I remember when I was in Bolivia with Glennie Wry and we were working on something in one of the dorms and we needed some extra material, so, Glennie asked me if I wanted to drive down to the store with him and get what ever it was we needed. And since I’m always looking for a good reason to take a break, I said, “Sure.”
And when we got to what he called the store, it kind of looked like an old garage and when we went in there was a customer in front of us and as soon as the clerk finished waiting on him; he was just about to ask us what we wanted but then another customer came in the door behind us and he was a Bolivian. So, the clerk looked over our shoulder and asked the man if he could help him? I didn’t understand what was going on, so I asked Glennie and he said, “They always take care of their own first.”
In our culture, we’d call this prejudice but in theirs, it’s called normal. And just as we expect the respect of other people God expects the kind of respect that’s due Him because He is the creator and the sustainer of all life. In other words, He didn’t just make the world but He’s the one who keeps it all going.
So, as we saw in the first commandment; because God is our creator, we are to have no other gods before Him and that means that He’s not just number one but He’s the only One. Listen, nothing and no one is ever to take the place in our hearts that’s supposed to be reserved for Him.