December 12, 2017

The First Commandment

George Stiekes

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Exodus 20:3

There were three different branches of the Law:

The Ceremonial law foreshadowed the coming of Jesus (Daniel 9:27; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 2:17). These included instructions for the priests and the sacrifices for sin, the rejection of certain foods and instructions to maintain cleanliness. These were abolished when Jesus Christ came to earth as they were not any longer necessary.

The Civil law related to the daily living of the people, guiding them in their political affairs and the judicial system. These are abolished for they only applied to God’s people when they were in the Promised Land.

The Moral law refers specifically to the Ten Commandments. Most people think only of these when considering the Law of God. The Moral Law was the only part of God’s laws that were engraved personally by God on stone tablets.

First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. It is God’s will that He be number one in our lives — even preeminent (Colossians 1:18).

In the Old Testament era, there were many challengers to Yahweh’s position as the God of Israel. Baal, Ashtaroth, Chemosh and Molech are a few of the ones to which some of the Israelites turned. Every nation around them had their own deities, gods and goddesses.

The Ten Commandments are introduced by God Himself. I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage (Exodus 20:2). It is important to recognize that we have a God who has acted in history, and Who has revealed Himself to us in His Word. When God made this statement, He recognized that He was and still is the only God. There is no one else like Him and every other deity is a human invention.

When God said, Thou shall have no other gods before Me, this was not a statement of priority. The importance is the fact that there are some people throughout history who have worshipped many gods. There are even some of these who claim that Jehovah is number one. The words before Me play a crucial role here because they literally mean BESIDE ME. As you study the plagues of Egypt just prior to the children of Israel leaving, you cannot miss the fact that God was making it clear that He alone is God and that there are no others.

There is only one God in the whole universe and we must recognize that He is our Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and End of all things. The Westminster Confession states that the chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Developing an intimate relationship with Him must become priority in our lives. How well do you know Him? Are you striving to know Him on a daily basis? Whatever you deem more important than spending time with Him becomes a god. Colossians 1:18 reveals that He must be preeminent in our lives.

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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