Exodus Teaching - 11 - A God To Revere

Title: Exodus Teaching - 11 - A God To Revere
Category: Bible Studies
Subject: Exodus Study

Exodus Teaching Series #11

TITLE: A God To Revere

TEXT: Exodus 20:4-8


Dr. Samuel Marshall Gore has two murals affixed to a building on the campus of the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, Mississippi. I have marveled at Sam Gore’s art since I was a freshman at Mississippi College. The day I moved in I met his father, Bro. John Gore, who had baptized my father. Sam has been a good friend to Becky and to out sons. He gave my son John an oil painting of a cotton gin with a John Deere tractor on the scales to take home to me, and my son Mark worked for Dr. Gore. In fact, Dr. Gore walked over to the business office and told them they had better get in touch with us and offer Mark a scholarship before he went somewhere else. They did.

Sam Gore seeks to glorify Jesus in all his work. I have a sculpture of his Head of Christ in my living room, a valued gift from a good friend. He and I both have roots in Calhoun County, Mississippi. If you circle the block in down town Calhoun City you will see an historical marker that states that an ancestor of his was the first resident of the county. I could go on and on, but I must go back to the original work of art to which I referred when I mentioned the murals at the MC School of Law. There are two giant murals mounted on the reinforced wall of one of the buildings. One is MOSES AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS and the other is JESUS PREACHING THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT.

Dr. Gore invited me to come to his home on the day a maintenance crew from Mississippi College raised the mural so he could finish the middle of it. He explained the people in the mural - “this is Simon Peter” - the topography, and the village off in the distance. He wanted it to look authentic and he hand spent a lot of time studying the Scripture and the area in general. A reporter was there from the Jackson Clarion Ledger and she made pictures for the paper. Articles and photographs were published in Christian magazines. Dr. Paul Brown, a former student of Dr. Gore’s, and I had personal invitations for the unveiling and even though I was unable to make it, from what Dr. Brown said it must have been a special event. I visited the site shortly after that and, while I doubt that the word “glory” came to mind at the time, when I look back on it, I believe my friend’s work is a testimony to the glory of God. Furthermore, there is no doubt that when Jesus was delivering the Sermon on the Mount the glory of God was on display. We know the Lord revealed His glory at Sinai because the Bible tells us so.

In this series on the Exodus Experience we have looked at the call of Abraham when the Lord called him to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldees and go to a new land which He would give to his descendants some day - after they had spend 400 years in a foreign land. Countless questions come to mind as we look at the call of Abraham, the birth of Isaac, the marriage of Isaac, the birth of Jacob and Esau, and the marriage of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.

At this point I want to do something I did when I introduced the sermons on the first of the Ten Commandments. I quoted, with his permission, Dr. Paul Brown, a retired Bible professor as well as President of Hannibal LaGange College in Hannibal, Missouri. Dr. Brown and I have known each other for a long time - a very long time, in fact - when we were both students at Sledge High School, Sledge, Mississippi! Of course, Dr. Brown remembers those days much better than I, for the simple reason that I was too young to pay any attention to the details of our confinement in such a facility. I say I was confined because I really didn’t want to be there when there were fish to catch and rabbits to chase. When I quote Dr. Brown it will be obvious to you that he got a lot more out of his classes than I did mine. With his permission, I will quote Dr. Brown (I am adding bold to emphasize certain points):

“Bear in mind the purpose of the Ten Commandments: to show us our sin, to point us to Jesus for salvation, and to serve as moral guidelines for the Christian in his daily life.

“The first commandment dealt with WHOM we are to worship. He is the one, true God, and we are to love and serve him only. The second commandment dealt with HOW we are to worship God. We’re to worship him in spirit and in truth. We are not to substitute images, ceremonies, or institutions for God.”

We will return to Dr. Brown’s comments about the commandments a little later. Now, I would like for us to look at Sinai and the commandments that focus on Yahweh, the great I Am.


A. The Miracles of Sinai Glorify the Lord.

I have a confession - I am not sure how long I have considered this problem - in fact, I don’t remember when I first admitted to myself that I have a question about this. Okay, here it is: Why did the Lord lead Israel to Sinai? I could think of a number of places that some would consider safer, more convenient, a shorter route to Canaan, and a way that was better prepared to accommodate two million people for a year or more. Why would the Lord lead two million people deep into an uncompromising desert where the daytime temperature is reported to be 128 degrees? Why would He lead them into a desert where the rainfall is something like one-half inch in ten years? Think about the topography, geography, and isolation.

After a coach watched me circle under a fly ball before making the catch he asked me, “What is the shortest distance between two points?” It is a straight line, of course. Did the Lord not realize that when He led the Israelites off in a different direction? Is it not also possible that if He had led them directly to Canaan, the Promised Land, they might not have complained, and rebelled against Moses and Aaron. They may not have insisted that Aaron mold a golden calf for them to worship. On the other hand, we are talking about Almighty God. I have reminded myself that He is the Creator, He is the Sustainer of all things. He is omniscient - all knowing. He is omnipotent - all powerful. He is omnipresent - everywhere present at the same time. That gives Him a major advantage over me. So, maybe I should begin looking for reasons that He did what He did, instead of wondering why He didn’t do differently. In the first place, He put them to the test a number of times. In the second place, He led them away from enemies who would try to destroy them. In the third place, He led them to an area where they were totally dependent upon Him for everything, including their daily bread and for every drop of water they would drink.

We must remember that the Lord knew exactly where He wanted Moses to lead the freed Hebrew slaves. They would come to an isolated, mountainous region of Midian (Saudi Arabia today), where the Lord would put them to the test, and where they would be totally dependant upon Him for everything, from water, to food, to light at night and a cloud by day. We should pause to think of the significance of the pillar of cloud that protected the Israelites from the intense heat of the sun.
Farmers today break their land, plant their seed, cultivate their crops from the air conditioned cab of a modern tractor. Not too many years ago, farmers plowed their cotton, soy beans, or corn with mules, and then with rather primitive tractors. Take it from me, ten hours a day in a cotton field in the hot, humid Mississippi Delta was brutal, but it would have been much worse if we had not had a shade tree and cool water at the end of our rows. Of course, we didn’t have a shade tree at both ends of the rows in every field, but we could usually find a little relief from the intense heat and high humidity. The Israelites had only what relief the Lord provided: manna, water from a rock, and shade from the cloud the Lord provided for them every day. And don’t forget the light for security, comfort, and practical convenience at night. Can you imagine two million people scrambling in search of water or a bath room in the middle of the night if there had been no light?

The Lord protected the Israelites, even as He blessed them. They would know when Yahweh descended upon Mt. Sinai and they would know He was protecting them by having barriers erected around the base of the mountain to save them because anyone or any animal that touched the mountain when He came down to meet with Moses would be killed. It was at this mountain that the Lord entered a covenant with His chosen people. It was here that He would give them the greatest laws, statutes, and ordinances the world had ever seen. The Ten Commandments have been the foundation for laws and statutes in more countries than any other set of laws in the history of the world.

Later, Moses would recall his experience with the Lord:

“When I went up the mountain to receive the stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant the Lord made with you, I stayed on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights. I did not eat bread or drink water. (10) On the day of the assembly the Lord gave me the two stone tablets, inscribed by God’s finger. The exact words were on them, which the Lord spoke to you from the fire on the mountain. (11) The Lord gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant, at the end of the 40 days and 40 nights.” (Deut 9:9-11, HCSB)

Moses went forty days without food or water! If you are I were to go ten days without food of water, our family members would be talking with the funeral director. This, however, is another of those miracles at Sinai that testify to the fact that Yahweh, the God who spoke to Moses at the burning bush, is still in charge of things. Speaking of human limits, you may have heard the old adage: three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. This old adage is not fool proof, but if anyone goes much longer than that without air, water or food he or she would spend good part of that time unable to function in a normal manner, if not unconscious. This reminds us of the account of Jesus and His forty days of testing at the hands of Satan (Mark 4). This is miraculous, but the Bible tells us about the sad end to this experience:

“As he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became enraged and threw the tablets out of his hands, smashing them at the base of the mountain. (20) Then he took the calf they had made, burned ⌊it⌋ up, and ground ⌊it⌋ to powder. He scattered ⌊the powder⌋ over the surface of the water and forced the Israelites to drink ⌊the water⌋.” (Ex 32:19-20)

B. A Fundamental Miracle of Sinai Was the Giving of the Ten Commandments.

When the Lord saw the rebellion, idolatry, and all the sins associated with their idolatry, and after Moses destroyed the golden calf and made the people pay for their sin, He immediately told Moses to cut out new tablets and meet Him on the mountain again. There, with His finger, He wrote on the two tablets the same ten commandments He had written the first time.

While Yahweh was revealing His will and plans for the people they were in rebellion against Him. They failed God, but He never failed them, He never failed Himself, He never failed His plan and purpose, nor His commitment to the Chosen People, who were just learning to walk with Him. After the people returned to the idolatry with which they were familiar in Egypt, the Lord moved forward with His plans for them, including His covenant and the standards by which the people were to live.

The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. (2) Be prepared by morning. Come up Mount Sinai in the morning and stand before Me on the mountaintop. (3) No one may go up with you; in fact, no one must be seen anywhere on the mountain. Even the flocks and herds are not to graze in front of that mountain.”

(4) Moses cut two stone tablets like the first ones. He got up early in the morning, and taking the two stone tablets in his hand, he climbed Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded him. (5) “The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed ⌊His⌋ name Yahweh. (6) Then the Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed:

“Yahweh—Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth, (7) maintaining faithful love to a thousand ⌊generations⌋, forgiving wrongdoing, rebellion, and sin. But He will not leave ⌊the guilty⌋ unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ wrongdoing on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.”

(8) “Moses immediately bowed down to the ground and worshiped. (9) Then he said, “My Lord, if I have indeed found favor in Your sight, my Lord, please go with us. Even though this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wrongdoing and sin, and accept us as Your own possession.” (Ex 34:1-9)

The Lord heard Moses’ request and revealed Himself to him. As far as we know, He had never revealed Himself to anyone since He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden the way He revealed Himself to Moses.


A. The First Commandment Has Already Been Considered (# 10 in this series).

1. First, think about the preface to the Ten Commandments (20:1). The Lord began with these words: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” (Ex 20:2 (HCSB). For some twenty five years the late Dr. Jan Mercer more or less guided my studies in the Creation and evolution debate. Dr. Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, was active during that time and Jan and her husband Andy often traveled with Dr. Morris and some of his associates. Here is an article by Dr. Morris taken from “Days of Praise,” the daily devotional ministry of that organization:

“I Am" in the Pentateuch”

"And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." (Genesis 15:7)

“There are seven "I am's" in the book of Genesis. The first is a beautiful figure of speech ("I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward" |Genesis 15:1|), but the others are all names and titles of God. The first of these is in our text above, identifying Jehovah Himself (the LORD) with the "I am."

“The next is Genesis 17:1: "I am the Almighty God." The Hebrew here is El Shaddai ("God the nourishing sustainer"), also found in 35:11. Next is in 26:24: "I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee." Then, "I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac" (28:13). "I am the God of Bethel" (31:13). Beth-el means "the house of God." Finally, God says: "I am God, the God of thy father" (46:3).

“In Exodus, there are 21 places where God says "I am." Most of these are merely variations of the different names of God as noted above in the "I am's" of Genesis, but six do give new insight. The first, of course, is the great assertion of Exodus 3:14 where God identifies Himself as "I AM THAT I AM." The others: "I am the LORD in the midst of the earth" (8:22); "I am the LORD that healeth thee" (15:26); "I the LORD thy God am a jealous God" (20:5); "For I am gracious" (22:27); "I am the LORD that doth sanctify you" (31:13).

:In the remaining books of the Pentateuch, the phrase "I am the LORD your God" occurs very frequently, but there are two important new "I am's." "I am holy" occurs six times (e.g., Leviticus 11:45), and "I am thy part and thine inheritance" is recorded in Numbers 18:20. The great theme of all these claims and names of God is that the mighty God of time and space is also a caring, personal God. We can trust Him, and He cares for us.” (HMM, Days of Praise, 8-2-13)

This emphasis on the Lord prepares one for the first commandment, and for all that follow it. Obedience to the first commandment, “Do not have other gods besides Me” (Ex. 20:3), as we saw in the first message on the Ten Commandments, is essential to a relationship with the Lord. The Lord who created the heavens and the earth is without equal, the one and only God. There is no other and there can be no other. He is the uncaused Cause of all that exists, all that has ever existed, and all that will ever exist. When some come to realize that God is the uncaused Cause of everything that exists they commit themselves to Him. As I did research for this message I was sitting under an oil painting by Dr. Sam Gore. I can walk into my living room and stand before an amazing sculpture of the Head of Christ with the crown of thorns. Sam sculpted it some twenty five years ago and called one day to ask me to meet him on Interstate 20 at Delhi, Louisiana to pick up the sculpture he had promised me some time earlier. He had sculpted two for me before that. The first time he sculpted one for me and one for a Methodist church, but when he fired them the back of the head blew out on one. When someone from the Methodist church “showed up with a check,” Sam said, “I gave them your sculpture.” Later, after doing his sculpture for a church in central Louisiana, Sam and his son Paul were asked to spend the night with a family from the church and during the night Paul tripped over the cord to an antique lamp - priceless lamp, according to the lady in whose home they were visiting. When he mentioned giving her one of his sculptures she found that more than acceptable. He said, “I gave her yours.” The third time was the charm. Actually, I had an earlier one, but after improving his technique he did a new one for me.

If someone looked at the painting or the sculpture and said, “John Smith painted that,” or “John Smith sculpted that Head of Christ,” I would not hesitate to correct him. My son Mark used the Head of Christ in an Easter arrangement on our Communion Table and it looked so good I made pictures of it and e-mailed them to Sam. He wrote back and asked who the sculptor was. I told him, and he said he had been pretty sure it was his work, but wondered if Mark might have done it. He said, “I can look at a piece and know if my fingers have been in that clay.” After sculpting the Head of Christ more than one thousand times for churches and Christian groups, he knows his work. Mark, who worked for Sam and took classes under him, knows his work, too. If someone came by my house and asked if I had sculpted the Head of Christ, or painted that John Deere Tractor on the cotton gin scales I would be quick to deny that it was my work, and just as quick to tell that person that Dr. Sam Gore had done the sculpting. The same would apply to the painting. I would never claim credit for his work. I am looking at his name: “Gore” and date: “1975,” even as I type. I would never give any other person credit for his sculpture or the painting. The very thought is repugnant to me. When I open the Bible to the very first verse, what do I see? Right! “In the beginning God...” His name is in His Book.

I would never give anyone else credit for Creation, Redemption, or for the Word of God. He has every right to claim authorship of the Scripture, ownership of the world, mastery of the elements, and sovereignty over everyone and everything He created. Wee must get this point! The Lord created everything that exists, He has the sovereign right to do anything He chooses with it, and He has the right to punish any and all who challenge His sovereignty. He has the sovereign right to impose His will and His laws on all who are created in His image. When He announced the tenth plague against Egypt, He did so with these words: “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn ⌊male⌋ in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. I am Yahweh; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt” (Ex 12:12) Do you see it? He has the authority to do whatever He wants to do! He can and will do whatever He decides to do because He is Yahweh.

NOTE: I Prepared this message using the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible and the Bible Navigator, both of which render the holy name for our Lord, YHWH, as “Yahweh.” Then, I picked up my 204 edition of the HCSB text Bible and found the words, “I am the LORD,” instead of “I am Yahweh.” Having served on the Board of Trustees for LifeWay for two terms, assigned to the Broadman and Holman Committee, I began my work in a meeting with the General Editor Dr. Ed Blum, who answered a lot of questions for us. We recommended to the full board that we go forward with the new translation. I was the recipient of various copies of the New Testament, text Bibles, Children’s Bibles, and Study Bibles, including the 2004 edition I have used when I preach for almost ten years. I was surprised to see the different words in Exodus 12:12, where my older edition had “The Lord” and the later ones had “Yahweh.” I contacted two of the men I remember working with at LifeWay to ask about the difference. Tim Vineyard asked someone in that division to respond to my request. The man who responded was Jeremy Royal Howard, Ph.D., who is listed as Publisher - English Bibles and Reference Books. He wrote:

“Thanks for your inquiry about the HCSB reading at Exodus 12:12. What you have discovered is one of the places where we updated "the LORD" to "Yahweh" in the 2009 update of the HCSB text. The Hebrew "YHWH" occurs 6,828 times in the OT text. Traditionally, many Bible translations have rendered this as "the LORD." When we launched the HCSB in 2004, it was felt that it would be too much of a shock to render all 6,828 usages of YHWH as "Yahweh," and so the translators chose to use "Yahweh" 78 times and stuck with "the LORD" in the other cases. When we updated the HCSB text in 2009, we upped the "Yahweh" count to 645 times. We have been encouraged by the positive response to the greater usage of "Yahweh." Many have even asked us to go all the way and render all 6,828 usages as "Yahweh."
(July 30, 2013)

B. Now, We Will Look at the Second Commandment.

“I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery.” (4) Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. (5) You must not bow down to them or worship them; for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin, to the third and fourth ⌊generations⌋ of those who hate Me, (6) but showing faithful love to a thousand ⌊generations⌋ of those who love Me and keep My commands.” (Ex. 20:2-6)

Most of us understand that an idol was an image carved from wood or stone. One commentary carries the note that “God was to be worshiped in the prescribed way; Yahweh could not be correlated with any beast or with the likeness of one. The prohibition of the second command is not against crafting art objects. God was prohibiting objects of worship or veneration as can be seen in 20:5.” (New Commentary on the Whole Bible)

In the Old Testament, Idolatry had to do with carved or molded images which were made to represent some god, or in the mind of the creator of such objects, to resemble his god. Another commentary reminds us that “To make an idol of God like something in the sky (sun, moon, stars), or on the earth (animals), or in the waters below (fish, crocodiles, or other sea life) was forbidden because God is a jealous God (cf. 34:14; Deut. 5:9; 6:15; 32:16, 21; Josh. 24:19), that is, He is zealous that devotion be given exclusively to Him. His uniqueness (Ex. 20:3) requires unique devotion. Absence of such dedication is sin and has its effect on future generations.” (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, OT - bold in original)

When we turn to the New Testament we see that idolatry is sill condemned. Paul was inspired to expand the definition of idolatry: “Therefore, put to death whatever in you is worldly: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry.” (Col 3:5) Persistent sinful behavior is considered idolatry in the New Testament. Would we be stretching the truth to say that anything that we consistently permit to come between us and the Lord may be considered idolatry? What do we permit to get between us and the Lord: television, football, hunting, fishing, baseball, the mall, a hobby, social events? Is it possible that we can permit those things to become idolatrous? We must guard against such things. If we feel that we are permitting anything (music, pornography, immorality, lust, greed, or theft) to come between us and the Lord we must repent (1 John 1:9).

Years ago, when I was a very young pastor, I visited a patient in a hospital and while I was there I couldn’t help but notice the man’s interest in a football game on the television set in his room. I stood there watching the game with him for a few minutes and when I left the room I was hooked on a game, a team, and a quarterback. The Baltimore Colts were playing the New York Giants in the championship game in the old National Football League. I had never seen anyone like Johnny Unitas, and it was obvious that the announcers hadn’t, either. The great line backer Sam Huff said someone hit him and put him on the ground and when he got up and looked around he discovered that Johnny Unitas was the one who had hit him. Unitas called his own plays and commanded the offense as no other quarterback I had ever seen. When he needed a first down he would fake one way and then throw the ball out of bounds so Raymond Berry could dive out of bounds, snag the ball and then drag his toes across the line. I mean, I was hooked!

Some time later, I was driving to Vicksburg, Mississippi to visit a young girl who had been burned and transferred to a burn unit at a Vicksburg hospital. It was a Saturday afternoon and as I drove I listened to an Ole Miss football game, pulling for Archie Manning, who was the college version of Johnny Unitas to me. After arriving at Vicksburg I circled the hospital for some time, waiting for the game to be over. It was that day that I came under conviction of the fact that football was becoming too important to me. I have known hunters and fishermen who seemed to think they were justified in taking God’s Holy Day for their pleasure. Now, I don’t think there is anything wrong with my celebrating Peyton Manning’s seven touchdown passes in one game last week!

Americans are permitting a lot of things to come between them and the Lord today. Millions have become addicted to movies, sports, shopping, parties, immorality, alcohol and drugs. And what about a favorite tel-evangelist on TV?! If you stay home and refuse to support your local church and use the televised service to justify your behavior you may well be guilty of putting something good between you and what is best for you. That is not a condemnation of televised worship services. I remember when a brain tumor forced my godly mother to stop attending Sunday School and worship services. In fact, she lost her voice while teaching her Sunday School class. I drove from Louisiana to the northeast corner of Mississippi, or to a hospital in Memphis to visit my parents every week. I took every off day for years to drive up to four hours each way to visit them. My mother kept quoting Adrian Rogers to me. We had watched the services from Bellevue Baptist Church when R. G. Lee was pastor and she was watching a new pastor. I thank the Lord Bellevue televised their services for those who could not attend their local church. I was especially appreciative of that telecast when my mother was confined to her bed at home and then in the nursing home.

Worship of false gods is called idolatry, but what about the false worship of the true God? What about those who adopt un-Christian values, behavior, and practices. Is not that idolatry? It just may be. May I risk upsetting some people one more time? What about those who become so “hooked” on a certain type of music that they would like to sing those songs the entire service and forget the sermon? The Lord called me to feed His sheep and I must prepare a sermon from the Bible and preach it under the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There can be no compromise on that, no matter how much some of the members love gospel, contemporary, or traditional music.

C. The Third Commandment Focuses Attention on God’s Name.

“Do not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, because Yahweh will not leave anyone unpunished who misuses His name” (Ex. 20:7).

We are familiar with the King James, “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.” (Ex 20:7, KJV) Dr. Paul Brown has written that God’s name is sacred, and adds:

“That’s why God’s name is so profoundly important. We can never separate God’s name from God himself, because his name is expressive of his attributes, his character, his very being. Psalm 8:1 declares, “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” Psalm 111:9 says that “holy and reverend is his name.” In Matthew 6:9 Jesus taught that we are to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name” - and “hallowed” means “uplifted, revered, respected.”
(From sermon by Dr. Paul Brown, posted on SermonCity.Com)

When we read “name of God” in the Old Testament it will help us to understand that “name of” in the Old Testament denotes the person named. The “name of” God in the Bible has to do with more than the proper name by which God is identified. “Name of”, especially when it refers to God, speaks of His person. To misuse God’s name is to commit a sin against God Himself. When we pray in the name of Jesus we are praying in the Person of Jesus Christ. We go to the Father, through the Son, in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we ask people to call on the name of the Lord, we mean they must be saved by going to the person, and not just saying a name. When we challenge people to believe in the name of Jesus we mean that they are to believe in Jesus (the Person) and not just a name.

It would be a serious offense to misuse the name of God, or to use His name casually, but it is more serious when we realize we cannot misuse the name of God without offending God Himself. Any profane, distorted, or casual mention of the Lord’s name is a direct attack on His person. I sent the following quote to as an illustration and it was posted on the SermonCity.Com web site by Editor Dr. J. Mike Minnix:

“When I was writing a study on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans in The Bible Notebook series, I spent a lot of time with the book, A PRACTICAL AND EXEGETICAL COMMENTARY ON ROMANS, by the late Dr. J. P. McBeth. I recently found a note I made while studying that commentary. The note is on the sins of speech, or the Tongue. The references are all from Romans.

“Vulgarity (3:13a) is the most obnoxious form of speech. Flattery (3:13b) is the most hypocritical form of speech. Slander (3:13c) is the most deadly form of speech. And profanity (3:14) is the most inexcusable form of speech.

“There may be temptation for the first three; but there is never a temptation for a person to profane God’s name. It is a characteristic of man to sin by temptation; and it is characteristic of Satan to sin without temptation; therefore, to use profanity is to sin in similitude to the devil.” (Bold added by this writer)

If using profanity is to sin in similitude to the devil, what does that say about using God’s name in a profane way? To combine God’s name with common profanity is to show contempt for the name of God, the holiest name in our world or the world to come. His is the most sacred name on mortal tongue. His name is holy, it is sacred, it is powerful, it is precious. Then, why is it that so many people from all over the world, through the ages, have taken God’s holy name denigrated more than any name on earth? How can anyone who owes his or her very existence to God show such contempt for His name? There can be but one answer: Satan is controlling the tongues or people who profane His name. To show contempt for the name of God is to show contempt for God Himself.

It is a vile thing to use God’s name in profanity, but it is a sin to misuse His name in anyway. We have all done that in one way or another, like telling a humorous story in which we use His name in any way that is not holy. Have you heard people who are very casual in their use of His name, and how about those who seem too self conscious to say “God” reverently. Instead, they make reference to “The Man up stairs”. One of my high school teachers told me about a classmate who had been in the navy for some period of time. When he came home on leave he visited this teacher and shocked her by using the name Jesus over and over in a light or profane way. She tried to talk with him but it didn’t seem to help. He left and when back to his ship and the next thing she heard about him was that he had been swept overboard by a giant wave somewhere between California an Hawaii.

I have many books of sermons in my library by the late Dr. R. G. Lee. The title of one is: The Name Above Every Name. I heard Dr. R. G. Lee preach in person numerous times. I heard him preach Pay Day Some Day at First Baptist Church, Senatobia, Mississippi and again in Jackson, MS. He preached that sermon over 1200 times, and if he was still living today I would want to hear him preach it again.

We got home from our mission church every Sunday around 12:20 or 12:25, just in time to turn on the TV and see the white haired R. G. Lee, in his white Palm Beach suit, kneel on his right knee by the right side of the pulpit and pour out his heart to God. He would then stand and preach as no one else I have heard.

To illustrate the godly power of Dr, Lee’s spirit, I would mention something that I cannot imagine any other preacher in America doing. He was preaching a powerful sermon one Sunday morning when he suddenly turned slightly to his left, and pointing to the television camera, declared, “AND DON’T YOU TURN ME OFF!!!” The station left him on through fifteen minutes of the noon news.

Here is a sample of one of his sermons in the book, The Name Above Every Name, which is also the title of that sermon. Under one point, Dr. Lee, who had memorized the New Testament, began one of his alphabetical points which held one’s attention and caused us to anticipate the next line. He wrote of Jesus:

He is Adam, Advocate, Anointed, Apostle, Author, Amen, Alpha, Ancient of Days - born of woman.

He is the Beginning, the Begotten, Beloved, Branch, Bread, Bridegroom, Bright and Morning Star, Bishop of our souls, Brightness of the Father’s glory.

He is the Cluster of Camphire, Captain, Consolation, Chief Cornerstone, Counselor, Covenant, Chosen of God, Christ.

He is the Daysman, Deliverer, Dayspring, Daystar, Door, Desire of all nations.

He is the Elect, Ensign, Everlasting Father, Emmanuel.

He is the finisher of our faith, Forerunner, Friend, First Fruits, Faithful Witness, Fountain of Life issuing form the cave of death.

He is God, Gift of God, Governor, Guide, Glorious Lord.

He is Help, Hope, Husband, Horn of Salvation, Hearer, Head of the Church, Heir of all things, High Priest, Hell’s dread, Heaven’s Wonder - the Holy One.

He is I Am, Inheritance, Image of God’s Person, Immortal and Invisible.

He is Judah, Judge, the Just, Jesus.

He is King - King of Israel, King of kings, King of glory, King everlasting.

He is the Life, the Light, Love, Lily, Lion, Lamb, Lawgiver, Living Stone, The Lord of glory.

He is Messenger, Mediator, Master, Messiah, Mighty God, Mercy’s paradox.

He is a Nazarene.

He is the Offspring of David, Omega, Only Begotten of God, Offering, and Offerer.

He is Priest, Passover, Potentate, Prophet, Propitiation, Prince of Life, Prince of peace, Physician.

He is Righteousness, Rabbi, Ransom, Rest, Root of Jesse, Root of David, Refiner, Refuge, Resurrection, Rose of Sharon, blossoming in the shades of hell, Whose sweat, tears, and blood quenched for all believers the fires of hell and quenched for all believers the fires of hell and clothed the crater of damnation with foliage, fruit, and flowers. Yes. He is - Redeemer, Rock of Ages, Regenerate breath “rekindling the dead fires on the soul’s altar and restoring the broken strings of the spirit’s silent lyre, tuning them to heaven’s harmony.”

He is the Stone, Shepherd, Son of God, Son of Man, Shield, Servant, Seed of the woman, Surety, Sufferer, Saviour, Sinless Sacrifice, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

He is Teacher, Truth, Tabernacle, Testator, Treasure, Tree of life.

He is Witness, the Word, the Way, the Wisdom of God, the Wonderful.

In all things, through all ages, He is the lovely and mighty Christ, beyond all comprehension of the finite mind. His is “the sweetest name of mortal tongue, the sweetest carol ever sung.”

While skimming one sermon I saw where I had marked a sentence. I checked that sentence and remembered hearing Dr. Lee mention Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “from whose pen words fell like golden pollen from the stems of shaken lilies.” Words seemed to flow like that from the pen of R. G. Lee.

God’s name is (1) A holy name, (2) A sacred name, (3) A saving name, (4) A powerful name. In the Model Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Peter declared, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:

“He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. (9) For this reason God also highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow—of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth—(11) and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:8-11).

One of our founding fathers, George Washington, said: “The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and so low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.” What a quote from “the greatest American”! Dr. Paul Brown shares this story in his series of sermons on the Ten Commandments:

“Following the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was a broken man and was living in very modest circumstances. One day the managers of the infamous Louisiana Lottery came to see him. They said they wanted him to endorse their evil business. General Lee sat in his old rocking chair, his crutches at his side, and listened to their proposition. Thinking that he might not have heard them right, he asked them to repeat what they had said, so he could be sure he had understood. They said they wanted no money from him; all they wanted was the use of his name, and for that they would make him rich. Lee sat up straight in his chair, buttoned his old gray tunic about him and, with his eyes flashing fire, thundered, “Gentlemen, I lost my home in the war. I lost my fortune in the war. I lost everything in the war except my name. My name is not for sale, and if you fellows don’t get out of here I’ll break this crutch over your heads!”

D. The Fourth Commandment Makes the Lord’s Day a Holy Day.

(8) Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: (9) You are to labor six days and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. (11) For Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.” [Ex 20:1-11 (HCSB)

I loved and respected my father, Joe B. Sanders, but my mother actually taught my brothers, my sister and me more about the Bible than he did. She taught by word and by example, as she continued to grow in the Lord until a brain tumor claimed her life. My father never quoted Scripture about honesty, for example, but I have never seen a person who placed greater value on honesty. He was orphaned when he was four years old and he was reared by his grandparents (grandmother after the death of his grandfather) and from time to time, by his aunt.

He did not grow up in church, but he was saved and baptized by Bro. John Gore, whose son Sam made an effort to teach me Art at Mississippi College. In time, we became friends and he has visited in our home and sculpted the Head of Christ a number of times for the two churches I served as pastor over the past 35 years. He also sculpted the MOTHER AND CHILD (Baby Jesus), and the CREATION for us.

Let me add another note here. If you ever visit the Mississippi Ag Center, Lakeland Drive, in Jackson, Mississippi, you will see a very interesting sculpture out front. While he was working on that sculpture Sam took me down to the basement of the Art Department at Mississippi College where he did his sculpting at school. He also does it in his own shop at home. He showed me the sculpture and told me it was almost ready to be taken to Memphis where it would be fired, and bronzed. He explained in detail what he had in mind as he worked on it. He and a friend had found a small dog, a beagle, and taken it to the Art Department, fed and watered it, and then waited for it to go to sleep. Then he took clay and made a mold that would depict the dog sleeping at his master’s feet.

The American Laborer is seated on a stump reading his Bible, with his dog asleep at his feet. The point I want to stress is a statement Sam made. He used his father, brother John Gore, the Baptist preacher who had done some farming in his younger days, as his model and inspiration. The face is his and the hands are his. There in the basement of the Art Department, Sam made a statement I shall never forget. He said, “I had to take the left hand off and make it larger because the hand that holds the Bible should never be a wimpish hand.” I have recalled that statement many times, both when looking at the sculpture and at home. In fact, when I think of the Bible I often remember what Sam Gore, a man who studies and lives by the Bible said to me that day.

Sam loved his father as I loved my father. I wished my father had spoken more about his commitment to the Lord, but he didn’t talk much about himself. Mother talked about my father’s salvation and baptism, but I know he was saved and Brother John Gore baptized him. I don’t remember his talking about honesty and integrity too often. What I do remember is his example.
Then, when I would ask he would tell me why he believed “a man is as good as his word”, or something to that effect.

1) Bill was a sharecropper who, with his family, lived on our farm. Daddy was scrupulously honest
with those who worked for him. He was honest to the last cent, and he was honest with his word.
I never heard him condemn another person just for the fun of it, but if asked, he either refused to respond, or he told you what he really thought.

Bill came to the house one Saturday to talk with my father. He said, “I know you go to church on Sunday and you don’t work on Sunday. I don’t go to church, so I was wondering if I can borrow a tractor and plow my cotton tomorrow.” My father - and it was hard to misunderstand what he said - replied, “I don’t work on Sunday. My land is not worked on Sunday, and my tractor doesn’t work on Sunday.” I was a young boy and I had never heard anything quite like that before. It made a lasting impression.

2) My father was a cotton farmer who had just begun planting soybeans. Before he bought a combine to cut his own beans (“harvest” for city folks!) he contracted with someone to cut them. One Saturday the man who was doing custom harvesting came by the house and told my father that his combine had broken down, but he would be out Sunday morning and repair it and then he would cut the last four acre field before moving on to another farm. My father said, “I don’t work on Sunday and my land is not worked on Sunday.” The man said, “When I finish the repairs, if I can’t cut them tomorrow I will have to move on to another farm and I cannot move everything back here for that one field.” My father said, “You will just have to move, then. I will not have my beans cut on Sunday.” He never made a speech to me, but I will never forget that he was a man of convictions. We had neighbors who would decide every Fall that it might begin raining any day, so they had better pick their cotton or cut their beans on Sunday because, “the ox is in the ditch.” They assured folks at church that they were not going to do it again, but they just had to that Fall. The ox was in the ditch! Of course, they didn’t own an ox, cow, or mule.

3) I told my sons, John and Mark about what I heard my father say, and should not have been surprised when John came home from Mississippi College and told me that he had resigned from his job at a mall not too far from the campus. The State of Mississippi had repealed the “Blue Laws”, which opened the malls up for business on Sundays. They changed John’s schedule and he went in to talk with the manager. He explained that he did not work on Sunday and that he went home so he could be in his church every Sunday. The manager said, “You will have to take your turn just like everyone else.” He resigned on the spot.

John had worked one summer on a rice farm, and then for two years for a hardware store while in high school. He also mowed lawns. He had saved his money and invested in CDs, which he reported on his application. Because of the money he had invested for his education in those CDs he could not get work on campus. He had the Presidential Scholarship but that didn’t meet all his needs. He ended up transferring to a university closer to home for his Junior and Senior years, but he was not especially happy with the new school. He loved the Christian atmosphere at Mississippi College, but without work he could not stay there.

I learned to honor the Lord’s Day from my church and from my mother, but the lessons that registered deepest were the lessons my father taught me without calling attention to it. He set a good example for his children. We need a lot more of that today.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: (9) You are to labor six days and do all your work, (10) but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the foreigner who is within your gates. (11) For Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then He rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.” (Ex 20:8-11)


I mentioned Dr. Sam Gore earlier. When my son Mark was a student at Mississippi College he worked for Dr. Gore in the Art Department, took classes under him, and did some personal favors for him. He had not been working in the Art Department very long when he had an occasion to open the door to a large closet in the office and what he discovered there amazed him. There were certificates, awards, and honors galore that Sam had received over the years that he simply placed in the closet without showing them to anyone. For example, Sam Gore was voted National Art Educator of the year four times. There were many other awards that he may have stored without anyone else having seen them.

Sam sculpted the Head of Christ over 1,000 times for churches and other Christian groups. He gave every honorarium to the Mississippi College as an endowment for the Art Department so Christian Art students could go to Mississippi College to study Art without being exposed to nudity in any way. His interest was in training Christian art students. Sam is a Christian and he conducts himself as a servant of Jesus Christ. His sculptures might have brought him countless awards as well as a lot of money - if that had been his primary interest. It wasn’t. He wanted to honor his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dr. Gore, as I have already mentioned, has two murals affixed to a building on the campus of the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson, Mississippi. I have marveled at Sam Gore’s art since I was a freshman at Mississippi College, but there is more to Sam Gore than art. He and Mrs. Gore invited foreign students and missionaries kids (MKs) to move into their home during the two weeks in August when everything shut down at school. Mrs. Gore helped feed foreign students, MKs, and students from a Reformed Seminary in Jackson once a week for years.

Sam has been a good friend to Becky and me, he gave my son John an oil painting to give to me at the close of his freshman year. We visited MC, as we had done many times while our sons were growing up and one time, during Mark’s senior year in high school, Sam asked Mark if he had received a scholarship offer from MC. When he learned that he had not heard anyone about a scholarship, Dr. Gore walked over to the business office and told them they had better get in touch with us and offer Mark a scholarship before he went somewhere else. They did. Mark worked for Dr. Gore for two years, and became well acquainted with him.

Sam Gore seeks to glorify Jesus in all his work. When he bought property on the outskirts of Clinton, I helped him dig post holes for a fence around his property. He and I both have roots in Calhoun County, Mississippi. I could go on and on, but I must go back to the original work of art to which I referred when I mentioned the murals at the MC School of Law. There are two giant murals mounted on the reinforced wall of one of the buildings. One is Moses and the Ten Commandments and the other is Jesus Preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Dr. Gore invited me to come to his home on the day so I could see a maintenance crew from Mississippi College raise the one of Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount so he could finish the middle part. He explained the people in the mural, the topography, and the village off in the distance to me. It was obvious that he wanted it to look authentic and it was amazing. A reporter was there from the Jackson Clarion Ledger and she made pictures for the paper. Articles and Photographs were published in Christian magazines. Dr. Paul Brown, a former student of Dr. Gore’s, and I had a personal invitation for the unveiling. I was unable to make it but from what Dr. Brown said it must have been a special event. I visited the site shortly after that and, while I doubt that the word “glory” came to mind, when I look back on it, I believe my friend’s work is a testimony to the glory of God. Furthermore, there is no doubt that when Jesus was delivering the Sermon on the Mount the glory of God was on display. We know the Lord revealed His glory at Sinai because the Bible tells us so.

I share this information, not to bring greater glory to Sam Gore, but to illustrate a life so dedicated to the Lord he loves that everything in his life is focused on humble service and love for his Lord. What an example for you and me! And what an example to me as a student and friend of one who honored the Ten Commandments so faithfully.

The lesson for us today is not to praise an artist who sculpted the Ten Commandments or Christ Preaching the Sermon on the Mount. The real issue is how we can honor our Lord’s commandments. Do we not all fall short of the glory of the Lord? Paul wrote, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23). He also wrote, “The wages of sin is death, bu the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). When we place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we receive eternal life. At that time, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, who indwells us to help us to worship and honor the Lord. If we worship the Lord, and if we honor the Lord, we will obey the Lord and His commandments.