10 Commandments: 3rd and 4th

Opening Prayer

God of grace, you have given us minds to know you, hearts to love you, and voices to sing your praise. Fill us with your Spirit, guide us by your Word, and help us as we seek to follow you and your commandments. Amen.

Exodus 20:1-11:   “Then God spoke all these words: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labor and do all your work. But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”

The Third Commandment
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.

What does this mean?
According to Martin Luther in the Small Catechism, this Commandment means that “we are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise preaching or God’s word, but instead keep that word holy and gladly hear and learn it.”

What does this mean for me?

It is important to spend time in relationship with God. Not everyone is able to be in worship every Sunday, but make time in your week to step away from the demands of your world and rest. Invest time in hearing God’s Word (through scripture or study), and in talking to and listening to God in prayer.

The Fourth Commandment
Honor your father and your mother.

What does this mean?
According to Martin Luther in the Small Catechism, this Commandment means that “we are to fear and love God, so that we neither despise nor anger our parents and others in authority, but instead honor, serve, obey, love, and respect them.”

What does this mean for me?

Loving parents want the best for their children. Children will not always agree with everything a parent has to say, but the Fourth Commandment invites us to respect the wisdom and guidance that our parents can offer and to seek a good relationship with our parents.

Reflection Questions (Answer Question 3 in the comments below)

1. Why do you think God commanded the people to take one day of rest each week? What happens to people who are so driven at work that they rarely take a break?

2. Luther interpreted the Third Commandment as more than a day off. How do you understand Sabbath in our world today?

3. “Honor your father and your mother” is the only commandment that comes with a promise attached. Does the promise change your understanding of the commandment?

Closing Prayer

Gracious and holy God, give us diligence to seek you, wisdom to perceive you, and patience to wait for you. Grant us, O God, a mind to meditate on you; eyes to behold you; ears to listen for your word; a heart to love you; and a life to proclaim you; through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

“Luther’s Small Catechism with Evangelical Lutheran Worship Texts.” Copyright © 2000, 2006 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Prayers are adapted from “ELW -Additional Prayers” Copyright © 2015 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #25165.