Today’s Reading: Exodus 19:16-21:21
Key Verses: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3″You shall have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:2-3
“You shall have no other gods before me.” With this first commandment, God makes it clear that His people are to have an exclusive relationship with Him. He is saying, “Worship ONLY me. I am to be your ONLY God.” These words remind us that God sees our relationship with Him much like a marriage relationship. It’s not enough to stand at the altar and say, “You’ll be my FAVORITE girlfriend!” but the words are “FORSAKING ALL OTHERS…” show this relationship is exclusive.
In the early 1990’s, several university professors passed out copies of the 10 Commandments to students and asked them to arrange the commandments in order of importance. Over 90% of the students rearranged the commandments and placed the commandments dealing with man’s relationship with his fellow man above the commandments dealing with man’s relationship with his God. But we see Jesus pointed out that the first and greatest command is to love God with our whole being (Matt. 22:37-38).
Today all three major religions of the world: Christianity, Judaism and Islam, are committed to what is called “monotheism,” or the worship of only one God. But all of Israel’s neighbours were Pagans and worshipped lots of different gods. Each nation would have a “favourite” god or a god they would turn to at different seasons or times of need, but they certainly wouldn’t think of narrowing their worship to just one. If the god or gods of another nation seemed to have power, then they could add that god to the collection.
We may be more sophisticated about it, but it is still easier for us to understand a culture that picks and chooses different gods or different aspects of other religions – to live by. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Steven Van Zandt, guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band said, “I am a reformed Taoist, part-time Buddhist, Hindu, animist, pagan, Jewish mystic, and Christian. I always got along great with priests and rabbis and mullahs and gurus, even though I spend most of my life constructively criticizing them.” We seem to live in a culture where ‘as long as that works for you’ seems to be the belief.
We must never forget one vital truth: Our God is already completely perfect! We need to be careful not to try and add bits of our culture onto our relationship with Him. It’s really easy to be sold out for God one day but then sold out for something else the next, money, promotion, relationships. God has given us everything we will ever need when He gave us Jesus.
- Does God have the first place in your life?
- Have you been guilty of adding or serving other gods?
- How can delight in God?
Father, Thank You for showing us the truth. Thank You that we can enjoy you and find eternal satisfaction for our souls in delighting in You. Sorry when we chase other things when we promote people, things, though, anything to the place that belongs to You. Help us to keep You in the first place. In Jesus’ name, Amen