No Other Gods

June 5, 2013 | Tags: ,

Do not have other gods besides Me.

-Exodus 20:3

This is the first of the ten commandments that God gave Moses on Mount Sinai. It is a seemingly simple command–easy to remember and recite. In fact, we should all have this verse of Scripture memorized. But practicing this command each and every day is a whole other story. There is a reason God commanded us to put Him above all else, because if we don’t, the consequences are disastrous.

I have spent the last 36 weeks reading through the Bible in chronological order, which means I’ve been reading not straight from Genesis to Revelation, but in the order of events as they occurred. I am finishing Ezekiel this week and moving into Daniel. At this point in God’s Story, the Israelites are exiled into Babylon after years of warnings from the prophets to turn away from the false gods they were worshiping. They never listened. After years and years of God’s mercy and compassion, the judgment finally came as He said it would. Their temple was destroyed, God’s glory left it, and they were taken captive into the land of the Babylonians. Why? Quite simply–they didn’t obey the first of the ten commandments. They put other gods before the One True God.

Before we bush this aside and think it only applies to the Jews of the Old Testament, let’s carefully consider the truths that apply to us today. In the new covenant, Jesus gave the same commandment and called it “the greatest and most important command.” It is this–“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 23:37). If we follow this, then naturally we will have no other gods beside Him.

What made the Israelites disobey this commandment? Because they allowed the influences surrounding them to get into their lives and into their daily practices. They allowed the people outside their faith to influence the way they thought, worked, and worshiped. Over time, it got worse and worse. They never guarded their hearts in the truth, never turned away from the falsehoods that contradicted God’s Word, and slowly let themselves fade away to be just like all the other idolatrous people around them.

The apostle John said it another way in 1 John 2:15-17:

15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

If we are not intentional about guarding our hearts in the truth and keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus alone, we will easily get swept away by the glitter and glitz of the world. Yes, the world is a false god that we can find ourselves worshiping instead of the One True God–Jesus Christ. Again, the word is intentional. Our love for God alone will not happen automatically. We must make the choice each and every day to put Him first, leaving aside the temporary of the world’s lusts and desires. They will pass away. But those of us who are intentional about doing God’s will will remain forever.

It’s not easy, but it must be done. And in the Holy Spirit, it can be, for 1 John also says, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

By Courtney Silberman

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