THIS WEEK: Lead Me to the Cross…Read the Tablets…Find the Cross!
If we could just get this one right.
Like many lists, the first is first because it is most important.
To take this one lightly dooms one to failure on the other nine.
Exodus 20:2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
The Lord knew we would need help to understand what this means, so he continues:
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them;
OK, got that taken care of. You won’t find any statues to the sun god, or nooks honoring fertility gods, or shrines in my back yard to the rain god. I think I am good with this one.
Or are we?
Tim Keller in his book, “Counterfeit Gods” (good book!) identifies idols this way: “An idol is anything more important to you than God. Anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God. Anything you seek to give you what only God can give. Anything that is so central and essential to your life, that should lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”
Wow, this expands the list of things that can become idols (counterfeit gods) in my life. How about yours?
Career, material wealth, our family, experiences, grades, a spouse, our reputation, our home, our vehicles, and more subtly whisper in our ears, “Make me most important.” Even I realize scrolling through Facebook marketplace threatens to absorb my heart in the moment more than it should! Satan loves to put before us things or situations or relationships that he wants us to make more important than God himself.
Don’t dismiss this first commandment…it’s more challenging than we think.
Martin Luther explained it this way, “We should fear, love and trust in God above all things.”
Fear? Have a healthy respect for. The God of the Bible is the Almighty, All –powerful Lord of the universe. A healthy respect is certainly warranted!
Love? Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, ALL your soul, All your mind, All your strength. Our whole being is to be captivated by the Lord.
Trust? What happens if I trust wealth…and then it all disappears. My faith is shattered. What if I place my ultimate trust in a person…they will disappoint. Trusting God is putting my full confidence that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that he is the only way to heaven. The God of the Bible is the ONLY one that truly provides a solution for sin and a certain promise of eternal life.
Why put the Lord God first?
for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
The Lord wants to protect his relationship with us. He doesn’t want anything to get in the way of it. Turn your back on the Lord? We face his punishment. Turn to the Lord, and we experience generations of his love and compassion.
The God who promises his love to thousands of generations is the God who invites us to put him first.
Seems like a good place to start.
Apply: What are the “counterfeit gods” in your life? Ask the Lord to remove the temptation to make them gods in your life.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you all you are and all you’ve done for me. Help me by your Holy Spirit to always place you first in my words, thoughts and actions. Amen.