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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

(36) No Other Gods

Exodus 20:3-6
  • You are to have no other gods before me.You shall have no other gods before me.
  • You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
  • You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
  • but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments
When the Israelites were brought out of Egypt and got to live free for the first time in over 400 years, some of course like any other good human went too far and started to forget how they got there and lived according to their own laws. But God laid down the law for them and created the 10 Commandments. But why did He put them into a certain order? Was there a pattern to His law? Perhaps.

The first commandment is to not have any other gods before Him. A different way of saying it is to not have any other gods period. This would stop all unnecessary and harmful distractions from the path of righteousness. Jesus restated (love the Lord your God) that this was one of the top two greatest commands and that all other commands stem from this one and loving your neighbor. To put God first is to follow what He did for us. He created us above all creation and made us the rulers of the earth. He gave us a spirit that He gave nothing else in the universe. He breathed His own breath into man and that separated us from all other living beings. He placed us upon His own pedestal and said this was His greatest of all creation. He wants this feeling to come back to Him. We need to give Him our "first fruits".
Cain and Abel are the first two people we hear about giving back to God. Cain gave some of his life's work to God but Abel gave not only some, he gave his first, his best to God and then some. Abel knew how to sacrifice his own wants and riches to give back to God and put Him first. God was not pleased with Cain but He was with Abel.
Putting God first is a sign of worship. Keeping Him above all things means that we lay down our own pride. It is the beginning of what pure sacrifice and true worship is all about. Without putting God first then our worship isn't what it is supposed to be.
Why not other gods? What is a god anyway? Notice the lower casing of this word. Websters dictionary describes a god (lower cased) as a

being or object believed to have more than natural attributes and powers
and to require human worship; specifically : one controlling a particular aspect
or part of reality.

So a god, un-capitalized, means anything that you worship or controls one part of your reality. That means anything you allow to control your life could become a god to you. You start to worship it. It could be money. People start to worship money and try to gain as many possessions as they can. They step on others to get to a higher position to get more money. They don't care how they get there as long as they do. They are too focused on beating others or at least trying to be others that all they do is for the glory of money. That is worship. That is a god. Some worship beauty. They spend hours upon hours worrying about their looks. They spend thousands of dollars "fixing" themselves to what they feel is beauty. It becomes their obsession. That is worship. That is a god. Many other things could be considered a god. Anything that takes your desires and moves them beyond passion into obsession can be considered a god.
Why do we not consider God just a god? Because He is different. No other god has said that He created you AND has lived among you AND has died for you AND has created another place for you AND is still around. Some have said many of these but has not and can not say all of them.
Why are other religions considered to only have gods instead of God? Follow what the rest of this lesson says. They are something that offers only a fantasy world. Other gods lead people astray from the truth and reality.
The one and true God shows the path of righteousness. It shows the way to true happiness.

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