Exodus 20:1-3 To have no other gods is to deny our rights to follow Jesus

Exodus 20:1-3 To have no other gods is to deny our rights to follow Jesus

Then 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.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

Background

The ten commandments appear starkly objective, behaviour focused, and unconcerned with inner motives. And how the commandments translate into inner motives remains with the individuals. The Ten Commandments are universal, timeless, comprehensive and final. They form the basis of God’s covenant with man. They are foundational to all life from the beginning to the end. And they anchor the vision and mindset of a nation, its constitution and laws. But one who breaks these commands steps out of the boundary of faith. It breaks the relationship between God and man. The Ten Commandments guard man against entering the way of death while keeping him on the path of life. That said, a deeper study of the Ten Commandments serve up God’s nature and attributes. And by the time of the gospels, the Law incarnated and became man to live amongst us.

In the first commandment, God demands of man to love, to serve Him and Him alone. In today’s devotion, we learn that to have no other gods is to deny our rights to follow Jesus.

Observation

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

God makes Himself known as Yahweh (the Lord) your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Here, He reveals Himself as the Redeemer. And integral to His act of redemption is the giving of the Law: the Ten Commandments. Even as Israel is delivered from Egypt, it is only through the Law can their souls be delivered from the slavery of darkness.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

This command demands of Israel to worship Yahweh and Yahweh alone. And the supremacy of Yahweh must not be challenged by any created thing. “Gods” in the broader context denotes created beings (man or spirit) who are revered by their devotees. And they exercise influence over them. This commandment prohibits one from serving any created being other than Yahweh. And we are to align our mindset and heart’s desires to His.

Truth

To have no other gods is to deny our rights to follow Jesus.

The first commandment: You shall have no other gods before Me, is echoed by Jesus’s famous words, “Follow me!” For this is the first commandment Jesus gave during His time on earth. However, the first commandment flies in the face of the Jews who supposed, to worship Yahweh is to follow a set of religious rules and traditions: circumcision, the sacrifices, the prayers and the feasts etc. Concerning that, the rich young man said to Jesus, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” But Jesus replied, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” (see Matthew 19:21). The young man went away refusing to do what Jesus said having passed up on the opportunity to enter the kingdom of heaven. For he refused to give up what is temporal to obtain that which is glorious and eternal.

What does it mean “to have no other gods before me”? How does the first commandment translate into everyday living? It is to be perfectly loving and obedient in every aspect of our lives. It is to understand God’s will daily and obey Him in every decision of life. In other words, to deny our rights and preferences in regards to career, spouses, investments, how we spend our time and resources.

What is the problem with Christendom today?

Like the rich young man, the present generation worships salvation as opposed to worshipping God. They follow blessings, not Jesus. The Lord is their God only when it is Sunday. That said, some worship knowledge because it gives them an appearance of spirituality. And many worship ministry work because it brings them visibility and a measure of worthiness.

In essence, to have no other gods is to love God enough to deny our rights to do His will. Jesus said,

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it…” Matthew 16:24-25

Application

The below questions may reveal the degree to which you follow Him and Him alone.

  • In your experience, what is the measure of God’s goodness in your life? 1 to 10. Spend more time counting your blessings and you will be surprised by His works of kindness.
  • In your experience, what is the measure of God’s wisdom when it comes to solving to your problems? 1 to 10. Spend more time conversing with God to understand His ways. Obey Him even when His ways do not seem logical.
  • In your experience, what is the measure of God’s power at work in your life? 1 to 10. Learn to use divine authority by speaking to the mountains and the elements in Jesus’s name. Learn to work with the angels that God has placed under your charge.
  • How willing are you to be used by God? 1 – 10. Open your heart and allow Him to come in and take charge. You will feel His love like never before. Respond to Him by giving yourself fully for His purposes.
  • How much do you think God is ready to use you for His purposes? 1 to 10. Seek out your leader concerning this question and God will speak through him/her concerning you.

Dear Lord, I have made a commitment to love you with all my soul, heart, mind and might. And I will have no other gods before you. Speak to me dear Lord. I will hear and obey. Help me overcome my fears and doubts. Use me to bring love to those who are despised, hope and direction to those who are lost, and healing to those who are wounded. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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