God didn’t just casually hand over a posted note of “10 Thoughts” one day and suggest His people read them when they have time, then pick and choose which ones they like. God set the stage, and they never forgot that day…God meant business with these tablets (Exodus 19:16-19; 20:1-21).
The First Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
We are to let God be God. We are to make Him #1. We are to affirm His power. We are to acknowledge His presence in our lives. We are to obey His rules. We are to honor and worship Him alone. The parking space for worship in our lives is to be reserved for God alone. We are not to waste our lives worshipping anything else but Him.
Ancient worshipers were not monotheistic (believed in one God), they were polytheistic (believed in many gods). The more gods the better, they had gods for everything (sun, moon, war, weather, food, parties, etc). Today, this is not necessarily the case; we are more likely to find people who don’t believe in a god. Yet we are worshipers. We all worship something. Worship is giving your heart, desires, and adoration to someone or something. We follow after other gods, but they often operate under different disguises:
4 disguises for other gods:
1. Self-ism—we become our own idol. We follow after the selfish trinity: me, myself and I. We ask ourselves, “What’s in it for me? What makes me look good? What makes me feel good?” It is hard to avoid this god when our cultures mantra is, “You have to do what is good for you. Follow your heart.” This self-centered god always leaves us empty and needy.
2. Sense-ism—we seek the rush, high, experience that will give us pleasure or relief. For some it is spending, shopping, traveling, sex, pornography, drugs, cutting, binge-drinking, etc. Now God loves pleasure, but we abuse it. We can overdose ourselves on pleasure, but we settle for the weak-sauce-pleasure compared to the riches of knowing and obey our God.
3. Stuff-ism—we dream and scheme for ways to collect more things. We professionals at stalking stuff. We fill our closets with fashion, pimp out our cars, Gig-ify our computers, multiply our media libraries, lavish our homes to be like mini-castles, and more. The key word for stuff is: more. Just a little bit more. Our desire to acquire has gone all haywire. Possessions are fine when they do not possess us. God loves to give good gifts, but when we just get to get, we got it all wrong.
4. Smart-ism—we download facts to fill our fat heads. We have more informaiton at our finger tips than possibly all generations before us combined and we are not satisfied with our factoids. Next time you are in the game isle at the store check out how many trivia games there are. Knowledge says, “I want to know more than you because knowledge is power.”
All these -ISM gods and goddesses waste our worship and will not come through when we need them the most. When we feel cruddy they offer nothing, but temporary satisfaction. When our world is crumbling, they crumble too. Only God is much bigger than we are, only He can fill the void left by these other gods, and only He is worthy of worship (Psalm 115:1-13).
The first commandment of having no other gods is the foundation for all other commandments that follow. If we put God in the top slot of your life and worship Him as God, then we will know the greatest thrill and have the greatest possession.