Tim Challies – The Commandment We Forgot


It is a commandment of God. It is a commandment with promise, with divine blessings attached to it. It is a commandment positioned in a place of special honor and significance. It is a commandment pertaining to the whole life of every human being. It is a commandment with application to the home, church, and workplace, a commandment that provides a stable foundation to all of society. Yet it is a commandment that is sorely neglected today. It may not be overstating the case to call it the commandment we forgot. It is the fifth of God’s ten great commandments to humanity: Honor your father and mother.

Today I am beginning a short series on this commandment and mean to focus especially on an angle few of us have seriously explored: What does it mean to obey this commandment as adults? We understand that it applies to children and teaches them the importance of honoring and obeying mom and dad. But does the commandment stop applying the day we move out or the day we get married? Does it expire when our parents die or when they prove themselves unworthy of our respect? Does it apply to those who have been abandoned or abused? Does our adherence to this commandment change as we grow older and become independent? Maybe our questions are urgent and practical: What are my obligations toward my parents? Do I need to support them financially? Do I need to obey them even though I’m a full-grown adult? These are some of the questions we need to ask and answer if we wish to honor God by honoring his commandment.

I don’t mind saying that I have high hopes for this series. I want it to be biblical, to take the Bible as the ultimate source of truth and the only standard with the right to demand obedience and bind the conscience. I want this series to be practical, to answer real questions in real ways for real life. I want this series to be multi-cultural, to apply to people from different backgrounds and in different places in the world. I want this series to be convicting, to impact and perhaps even transform the way we live. This is true whether we are young or old, whether we are parented or parenting, whether we are dependent upon them or they are dependent upon us, whether we live under their roof or whether they live under ours.

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Matthew Henry – What is Required in the First Commandment?

Matthew Henry

Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requires us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.

1. Does that which forbids us to have any other gods, require us to have the true God? Yes: Put away the strange gods, and serve the Lord only, 1 Sam. 7:3, 4. Is it our duty to acknowledge God? Yes: The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God, 1 Kings 18:39. And must we acknowledge him to be the only true God? Yes: Thou art the God, even thou alone, 2 Kings 19:15.

2. Is it our duty to acquaint ourselves with him? Yes: Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, Job 22:21. Must we grow in that acquaintance? Yes: increasing in the knowledge of God, Col. 1:10. And may we attain to it? Yes: then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, Hos. 6:3.

3. Must we accept of God for our God? Yes: Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, Deut. 26:17, 18. And must we join ourselves to him? Yes: Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant, Jer. 50:5. And consent to be his? Yes: O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant, Ps. 116:16. Must we take God the Father to be our chief good and highest end? Yes: O God, thou art my God, Ps. 63:1. And God the Son to be our Prince and Saviour? Yes: My Lord and my God, John 20:28. And God the Holy Ghost to be our sanctifier, teacher, guide, and comforter? Yes: for they that are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God, Rom. 8:14. Must we renounce all others? Yes: For by thee only will we make mention of thy name, Isa. 26:13. Must we do this deliberately? Yes: Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, Josh. 24:15. Must we do it solemnly? Yes: One shall say, I am the Lord’s and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, Isa.44:5. Must we do it resolutely? Yes: Nay, but we will serve the Lord, Josh. 24:21. May we be at liberty to change our Master? No: but with purpose of heart must cleave to the Lord, Acts 11:23.

4. When we have avouched the Lord for our God, must we apply ourselves to him? Yes: If the Lord be God, then follow him, 1 Kings 18:21. Must we glorify him accordingly? Yes: Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name, Ps. 39:2. Must we worship him? Yes: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, Matt. 4:10. Must we worship him with inward worship? Yes: we must serve him with our spirits, Rom. 1:9. Is that the worship he requires? Yes: for such the Father seeks to worship him, John 4:28.

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Iain Campbell – What Does it Mean to Take the Lord’s Name in Vain?


The ethic of Jesus is the ethic of the Ten Commandments. He taught His people to live by that rule, and He did so Himself. He is the very embodiment of obedience to God; nowhere are the Ten Commandments personified and manifested in their fullness as they are in the life of Jesus.

As the law of God requires of us not to take His name in vain, so Jesus teaches us to pray, “Hallowed be your name” (Matt. 6:9). Prayer expresses our desire to keep the third commandment. It also expresses our need for the grace of God to that end. Prayer is a recognition that what God requires of us, He also provides for us.

In Scripture, God’s name is a means of His self-revelation. As early as Genesis 4:26, there is a reference to people’s calling on the name of the Lord—not because God had told them His covenant name, but because He had spoken and revealed Himself. Later, however, God did make His name known. He revealed Himself to Moses as the great “I AM” (Ex. 3:14) and declared that He had raised up Pharaoh so that His name—the revelation of His justice and power—would be proclaimed throughout the earth (Ex. 9:16). Later, the temple was built “for the name of the LORD” (1 Kings 3:2; 8:17), and that name became the object of Israel’s worship as they praised the name of God in song (Pss. 69:30; 122:4).

So important is the name of God that it is guarded solemnly in the Ten Commandments by a prohibition on taking His name in vain (Ex. 20:7). Violation of this law is a capital offense: “Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death” (Lev. 24:16). Leviticus cites a variety of examples of what such misuse of God’s name includes: offering children to Molech (18:21), swearing falsely (19:12), and priests’ shaving the edge of their beards (21:5–6). The sheer variety of infringements of the command shows that taking the Lord’s name in vain involves not merely speaking it badly, but includes living it wrongly.

It was the name of the Lord that was to be put “upon” the people of Israel, through the Aaronic blessing (Num. 6:24–27). The name was not merely a title or an epithet, but it included the character and eminence of God revealed for the salvation and sanctification of His people. By the name of God they are saved, and by the name of God they are set apart.

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Thomas Watson – The Ten Commandments


1.1 Obedience
‘Take heed, and hearken, O Israel; this day thou art become the people of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt therefore obey the voice of the Lord thy God, and do his commandments.’ Deut 27: 9, 10.

What is the duty which God requireth of man?

Obedience to his revealed will.

It is not enough to hear God’s voice, but we must obey. Obedience is a part of the honour we owe to God. ‘If then I be a Father, where is my honour?’ Mal 1: 6. Obedience carries in it the life-blood of religion. ‘Obey the voice of the Lord God,’ and do his commandments. Obedience without knowledge is blind, and knowledge without obedience is lame. Rachel was fair to look upon, but, being barren, said, ‘Give me children, or I die;’ so, if knowledge does not bring forth the child of obedience, it will die. ‘To obey is better than sacrifice.’ I Sam 15: 22. Saul thought it was enough for him to offer sacrifices, though he disobeyed God’s command; but ‘to obey is better than sacrifice.’ God disclaims sacrifice, if obedience be wanting. ‘I spake not unto your fathers concerning burnt offerings, but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice.’ Jer 7: 22. Not but that God did enjoin those religious rites of worship; but the meaning is that he looked chiefly for obedience – without which, sacrifice was but devout folly. The end why God has given us his laws, is obedience. ‘Ye shall do my judgements, and keep mine ordinances.’ Lev 18: 4. Why does a king publish an edict, but that it may be observed?

What is the rule of obedience?

The written word. That is proper obedience which the word requires; our obedience must correspond with the word, as the copy with the original. To seem to be zealous, if it be not according to the word, is not obedience, but will-worship. Popish traditions which have no footing in the word, are abominable; and God will say, Quis quaesivit haec? ‘Who has required this at your hand?’ Isa 1:I2. The apostle condemns the worshipping of angels, which had a show of humility. Col 2: 18. The Jews might say they were loath to be so bold as to go to God in their own persons; they would be more humble, and prostrate themselves before the angels, and desire them to present their petitions to God; but this show of humility was hateful to God, because there was no word to warrant it.

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