From Mount Sinai, God educated Israel on the requirements of being His people. In a thunderous voice He spoke from the mountain which was shrouded in fire, smoke, thunder, lightning and an earthquake. The Ten Commandments were an overview of the whole Law and were in descending order of importance and honor: #1 No other gods before Me, #2 No carved images to worship,
#3 Do not use the NAME of God (YHWH) in vain
To invoke a god’s name was to say something about that god’s character (Deut. 18:20). In Egypt, using a god’s name for an oath was binding but because no other real gods existed, had no consequences if broken. Israel could take oaths in the LORD’s name (Heb. YHWH, Ex. 3:14) but never falsely, making His Name worthless in authority (Lev. 19:12; Deut. 6:13; 32:4). Israel was never to use God’s name as profanity (‘to treat with irreverence or as common’). So, when God’s name was uttered, especially in business or in reference to the truth of a matter, it guaranteed authenticity and integrity. To use YHWH to lie (‘in vain’), caused the other person to blaspheme the real God and brought judgment on the violator (Matt. 12:36; Rom. 12:23, 24). Names represent the character of families, teams, cities, nations and ultimately God. God’s family is to represent their family Name well!
#4 Keep the SABBATH holy
As slaves in Egypt, Israel worked sun-up to sun-down, seven days a week to provide for Egypt and themselves. Now that they were free, God required them to trust Him by working six days and resting (Heb. shab-bawth, ‘intermission/rest’) on the seventh (Saturday; Ex. 16:29). This weekly reminder mirrored God’s work and rest during the Creation Week (Gen. 2:1-3). There is no cultural or astronomical reason for a ‘7-day’ segment of time but nearly all cultures had this timeframe as a remnant of creation’s history. Because of the inconsistent nature of ancient chronologies, there is no way of knowing what modern day represents the first Sabbath. God requires people to work, however, believers are still to choose a day to be set apart to worship God (2 Thess. 3:10; Heb. 10:25). Resting keeps believers from making work, money, and things an idol, rather than the God who gives work, money, and things!