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“The First Commandment”
by Ian C. Kurylyk   
September 10th, 2012

Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

The Old Testament is largely the story of God’s dealing with the chosen nation of Israel. By the great leader Moses, God led them out of slavery in Egypt and also gave them His law. Central to this law was God’s revelation of His holiness in a profound and majestic code engraved in tables of stone, the Ten Commandments. This law was given first to Israel so they would have a written transcript of right and wrong as defined by God’s eternal nature.

Now since the Ten Commandments are rooted in who God is, there are principles in each commandment that are still vital today to our understanding of God and what He requires. (God’s essential nature has not changed, can not change.) The very first commandment is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

God’s first command is that things be kept straight about who is God. When God created mankind He made a being that would have relationships with his fellow creatures - but the first concern is his relationship to God, his Creator. This is not strange that God should insist upon being God, and that His creatures were forbidden to have other so-called gods. There is only one God. There can only be one. All others are false gods.

Some have suggested God is asking too much to be acknowledged as God, even that He is egotistical. No! It is the nature of things. It is reality. Is it unreasonable for a teacher to be acknowledged as teacher by the students. No, that's their relationship. Is it too much for the Prime Minister to expect his chauffeur to drive him where he wants. No, he is his driver. We would wonder if he expected Mr. Martin to drive him half the time. It is also a strange thing when men want to be like God. It would be egotistical for men to expect worship. It would be evil.

The acknowledgment of God for who He is, with all honesty about ourselves, is the essence of worship. Man was made in fact by God with a constitution to be a worshipping being. God knows all men are worshippers. He knows nobody ever stopped worshipping (anymore than they stopped thinking or feeling). People just worship “other gods”. This is idol worship and it started with the first sin. Furthermore it is alive and well and thriving today in our Western world. We will see some examples of this in the next article dealing with the second commandment.

Sin has turned all mankind to the worship of other gods. Since sin is by its nature a rebellion against the Creator-God, man’s worship life is left to be taken up with unlawful substitutes. This is a very serious and fundamental offense against the Almighty. Idolatry puts man in deep trouble. He has a two part problem. He must have a change of heart to love and serve God in true worship and he must have forgiveness for the violations of this commandment he has already committed. The only answer in the universe is God’s own salvation plan through His Son Jesus Christ. He is the way back to God. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

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