I’ve been thinking a lot about Old Testament law lately.
Sound exciting? It actually is. There’s so much I am learning. But let me give you one particular example.
In Exodus 20:7, God says:
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.
We are so familiar with that verse, but I wonder if we understand what it means?
It’s not as easy as you might think. We almost automatically think of this command as having something to do with our speech. But, if you look up the Hebrew word translated ‘take,’ it literally means to bear or to carry or to lift.
You see how it suddenly gets a little more complicated?
Don’t carry the name of the Lord your God in vain.
What does that mean?
A passage that may help us understand what God is getting at is found in Exodus 28. One author explains,
Buried in the instructions for building a tabernacle … is the plan for what the high priest will wear…His most striking item of clothing is his elaborate apron, woven with gold threads and set with twelve precious stones, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes. And Moses is told that the high priest is to ‘bear or carry the names of the sons of Israel’ as he moves in and out of the tabernacle. Moses’ brother Aaron, who becomes Israel’s first high priest, literally carries these tribal names whenever he is on duty.
That was a long quote. I wonder, did you see the connection?
It’s the same word as in the ten commandments.
That’s the link. Aaron carried the names of Israel. What’s more, besides carrying their names on his chest, he was supposed to wear a shining gold medallion or plate on a turban on his forehead that said, ‘holy to the Lord.’ In other words, owned by God.
So, if you ever wondered what Aaron’s role was, the way he dressed made it pretty clear. His uniform was literally shouting out that his job as a priest was to represent Israel to God and God to Israel. And by looking at Aaron, Israel was reminded of their calling as a nation, because God had called them to be a kingdom of priests. The high priest then is a picture of what God’s plan was for Israel to do.
They were to bear God’s name, represent God, to the nations.
If you still have some questions about that, Numbers 6 makes this clear. After Aaron is set apart as high priest, he is supposed to bless the people of Israel, and you know what that blessing was intended to do? Listen to Numbers 6:27.
So they shall put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.
Did you see it? The high priest with God’s name on his forehead and the people’s name on his chest says a blessing, which God says places His name on Israel.
And in Exodus 20:7 he is saying, don’t bear my name in vain.
In other words, represent me well.
Now, why did I say all that?
How were they to do that?
Keep reading in the ten commandments. What’s the next command?
Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
Isn’t that amazing?
What’s the first thing God wants Israel to do to represent Him well?
And there’s all kinds of reasons for that connected to God’s big plan for Israel and more, but, I guess I just want to remind you of what a gracious God we serve. He saves Israel, He calls Israel, and He gives them commands but even the commands are grace. Show the world how great I am by trusting me enough to rest and enjoy my ability to provide for you.
Now, what’s all that have to do with this Sunday?
Not a whole lot, except that we are going to be looking at controversies the Pharisees had with Jesus over the Sabbath. And what we are going to see is that man is so self-righteous that he can find a way to take a gracious command from God that is designed to put God’s greatness on display and make it a work that exalts man instead.
And I hope that our look at Luke 6:1-11 this Sunday will show us how not to do that as a church.
Come ready! Come expectant! Come praying!
To help you make the most out of Sunday messages, I’ve made some changes to the sermon brief I normally send out. It includes some things to do before you come on Sunday, some things to do while you are at church, and then some things to do afterwards.
For the younger children this Sunday, you can have them listen for the word, “rituals” To encourage them, Marda will have some treats afterward.
On the Family Matters Podcast this week, I talked about how to make people angry. I wasn’t able to finish. I hope that doesn’t make you angry! But, I am praying that it will still be helpful. Check it out here.
It’s been nice to hear from some of you who are listening! That encourages me to keep going. You might even give a rating on our apple podcast channel. Apparently that helps others know about it. Also if you have questions you would like me to address, give me an email.
Men’s Ministry. Saturday, June 25th at 7:30am. Enjoy breakfast with other men and discuss how to apply God’s Word together.
Church-Wide Prayer. Next week, July 3rd, the church will join together to pray at 9am. Among other items, we’ll pray for the short term teams launching this week!
STM Update. Please be praying for the Czech team which departs from LAX on Tuesday, June 28th and the South Africa team which departs from LAX on Wednesday, June 29th.
CBC Outing! Angels vs Astros, Wednesday July 13th at 6:30pm. Here is a link to a google form set up by Polus Ting where you can reserve how many tickets you’d like. Tickets ($8) can be picked up on Sundays, July 3 and 10. This is an excellent opportunity for your eternal family to meet your neighbors and coworkers!
Vacation Bible School. Sunday, July 31st to Wednesday, August 3rd, 6-9pm. Registration is open at the church website. Please invite your friends! (For children Pre-K to 6th Grade this fall)
Service Teams. If you are interested in serving on the Welcoming Team, the Communicaitons Team or the After-School Tutoring Team, please contact us.
Bible Reading Project will resume later this summer.
Weekly Pre-Service Prayer. While the whole church will be joining together at 9am on the first Sunday of the month, there will be a weekly, pre-service prayer time from 8:15-8:45am in the Upper Room. The focus will be praying for that morning’s ministry, our missionaries and other requests
Always Ready. If you have questions about our Equipping Hour series, please email email@example.com. Assignments are mailed out weekly. (Equipping Hour will take a break in July but Isaiah will continue to facilitate Two Ways to Live practice and discussion for any who want to assemble.)
Order of Service
Welcome and Call to Worship
Scripture Reading: Luke 6:1–11
Preaching of God’s Word: “Getting Rites Wrong” – Luke 6:1–11