And 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.” Exodus 20:1–3
Q: What is the first commandment?
A: You shall have no other gods before Me.
What does this mean?
We should worship, love, and trust in God more than anything else.
What would you think if one of your friends said, “I want you to worship me!”? Would that be right? Of course not! Why would that be wrong?
Your friends are likely wonderful people, but they are certainly not God. And if they asked you to worship them, wouldn’t you think they were a bit self-centered and arrogant? Why then is it OK for God to ask that we worship Him alone? Doesn’t that make Him self-centered and arrogant, too?
The reason why it seems wrong for your friends to ask you to worship them is simple: they are not God. We should not worship that which is not God. But if God is God, and if God knows that He is the greatest thing in the universe, would it really be loving for Him not to command that we love Him? He knows that He himself is the greatest thing in all the universe, so He loves to give us that which is the greatest—Himself! Don’t you want access to that which is the greatest thing in the universe? God knows that we do, so in love he gives us Himself and calls us to worship Him alone.
Consider Psalm 97:7:
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!
- What happens to those who worship false gods (i.e., images)?
- Does that sound very happy? What does it mean to be “put to shame”?
- In what ways are you tempted to boast or brag about things that are not God—maybe your house, school, possessions, sports teams, friends, money, beauty, romantic partner, music accomplishments, or clothes?
Our Father, You are so good to give us Yourself. Thank you for revealing to us that we can be happy in submission to You and that there is no joy found in worshiping false gods. May we never be put to shame by forsaking You and turning to idols. Protect us from the Enemy who would like to steer our attention away from You. Help us keep our eyes firmly focused on You. Amen.