The 10 Commandments: No Other Gods

In the book of Exodus we find God’s special people, Israel, in a horrible situation in Egypt. They were slaves and were harshly treated. It was a miserable, depressing time. The people cried to God for relief. For saving. For hope. God, being the great and awesome God He is, came to save them because of His abundant love. The Lord did mighty works and powerful miracles in Egypt. By the powerful hand of God Israel was delivered! God then led the people into the wilderness where He would lead them and take care of them until they finally could enter the promised land of Canaan. One of the first things that God did with Israel was set down the key, foundational laws that would govern their life. They are known as the “10 Commandments.” These were crucial to Israel’s understand of their relationship with God and each other. These commandments are helpful for us today in understanding the commandments that God has given us through Christ. So that we too can understand our relationship with God and each other. Let’s look at the first two together.

God started by emphasizing who He is: “And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery'” (Exodus‬ ‭20:1-2‬). The people needed to understand who their God was. He was the one who saved them from Egypt. By His power. By His love. Israel was to be in awe before God. Fear Him and love Him. Then God began to give them the commandments they would need in order the live His way and be pleasing to Him. He said, “’You shall have no other gods before Me'” and “‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments'” (Exodus‬ ‭20:3-6‬). God alone is LORD. He is the only God. There are no other gods. God alone was to be worshipped and obeyed. God obviously knew that His creation had a strong temptation and bad habit of imagining their own gods and creating idols to worship. Idolatry doesn’t make sense. They’re not real. They don’t do anything. They don’t exist. God alone is God. God warned the people that if they went off into idolatry then He was going to punish them. Israel was to worship God alone. Love Him alone. Serve Him alone. He is the Almighty God who saved them. He is the one who showed them His great love. How could they ever turn away from Him to serve dumb idols? If they would love Him and obey Him then He would bless them beyond measure.

Today, when we read about idolatry we might not give it much thought because, in our country at least, we don’t worship and serve carved images. We don’t have idols. There are still people in the world who do actually worship and serve idols. But for a lot of us we don’t. So it is easy for us to shrug off the topic of idolatry. But, we need to realize there is another form of idolatry that very much so applies to us. It’s what Paul said in Colossians 3:5-6, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” Paul says that covetousness is idolatry. That is to say, when we put anything above God it is idolatry. Whether it’s: money, work, possessions, sex, fame, social media, physical appearance, our bodies, hobbies, recreation, even our own families. Anything that becomes more important to us than God is idolatry. The things we lust after and covet are idols. Greed. Jealousy. Passions and pleasures. Whatever chokes out our love for God and our spirituality is an idol. There are so many idols that the world offers. There are idols everywhere around us. Pulling at us. Attracting our attention. Satan is wanting us to worship and serve anything but God.

We’re in a real fight against the devil, folks. We are still facing the problem of idolatry today! We need to take the instruction Paul so often mentioned in his letters when he dealt with idolatry; run, flee from it! Do you have any idols? Is there something or someone that is getting your heart more than God is? We have to be careful what we’re living for. We’re either living for God or we’re living for ourselves. Give God all of your heart. Put Him first. Make following Jesus your highest priority. Be faithful to God. Worship Him. Love Him. Praise Him. Serve Him. He is the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!


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