The First Commandment
You shall have no other gods!
If you lived in ancient Greece, to which God would you have given your heart? Would it have been Aphrodite? If you are all about physical looks and love, if you treasure those things in your life, she would have been the goddess for you!
Would it have been Apollo? If you are a writer or have a sick relative this was the God for you. Worship him and you will never have writers block and your sick relatives would always get better.
How about Hera? Does your life revolve around having a family? Do you fear losing your family more than anything else in the world? Pray to Hera! Give her offerings and your family will be safe and happy.
What about Demeter? Are you a farmer? Does your very existence depend on a good crop? All you have to do is worship Demeter better than anyone else and your crop will be 10 times its former size!
By now you may be wondering, “What’s the point in all this? I have never worshiped another god. Besides those days of having a different god that supposedly help us with everyday tasks are long gone!”
Are they really?
Martin Luther defines having a god this way, “To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe in him from the heart. As I have often said, it is the trust and faith of the heart, nothing else, that make both God and idol.”
Luther’s definition of a god is pretty damning. I may not worship Hera at a temple in Greece, but what would happen if my wife and unborn son were taken from me today? Would that expose a deep-rooted trust and belief in them for my daily happiness? I think so…
I may not bow down to a statue of Demeter, but what if my job was suddenly lost? What if my livelihood was taken from me, leaving me with no way of supporting my family? Would that reveal a heart-felt trust and belief in my job for my daily security and peace of mind? I think so…
Which gods do you worship? Think about it: What is the one thing in your life that would rock your very foundation if it was taken away? What possession or person in your life would make you doubt that there really is a God of love out there if it was lost? Would you be absolutely crushed and inconsolable if something in your life was taken away?
Chances are you are thinking of your gods right now. You may not remember ever bowing down to them at night before you got into bed. You may not have prayed to them recently. You have held them as your god when….
When is the last time you have sinned? Do you realize that every sin breaks this commandment? Every time you sin, you are saying to God, “I know what you have asked me to do, but I don’t care. My feelings, my emotions, my perceived wants and needs are more important to me right now than you.”
Praise God for sending Jesus to fulfill the law for us! You and I stand no chance of obeying this or any other of the commandments for that matter. But that does not mean we should not try. Knowing that our relationship with God has been purified by the blood of our Savior Jesus we can daily strive to live our lives with only one God.
We can never fulfill any of God’s laws perfectly but he still loves it when we try! Think of a refrigerator covered with artwork made by little fingers and minds. None of those pieces of art will ever be hanging in an art museum…but the father and mother of the house proudly display these little acts of love. This is how God treats the feeble attempts to obey his law made by Christians. He is happy to receive the little works from those who are part of his family!
Find comfort in our God of love, because of Jesus he forgives us when we fail to worship only him. Out of thanksgiving we can strive daily to worship our one God alone!
The 1st Commandment: You shall have no other Gods.
What does this mean?
We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.