Thursday, April 18, 2024

          When we read Exodus, we know that we are going to experience the exciting story of God using Moses to lead Israel out of slavery and captivity in Egypt.  The story moves quickly—from God’s selection of Moses to Pharaoh’s stubbornness and finally to the crossing of the Red Sea and the freedom Israel found on the other side.  About midway through Exodus, we find the Ten Commandments that God spoke as His perfect law.  These commandments form the essence of God’s moral law.  Some of the commandments speak to our relationship with God while other commandments concern how we relate to other people. All ten are significantly and hugely important to us still today.    
            As a prelude to the Ten Commandments, God asserted and declared his right to decree these commands.  The Bible says, “And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery’” (Exodus 20:1-2).  In just a few words, God identified Himself (I am the LORD your God).  He announced what He had done (brought you out of Egypt and slavery).  Israel had been on the receiving end of an incomparable miracle that God performed on its behalf.  God delivered Israel out of a place and situation from which they could never remove themselves.  He did for Israel what these people could have never done by themselves.  The Ten Commandments that followed were designed to provide the basis for the type of people God wanted Israel to become—a light to all nations.  God wants the same outcome for those of us who have been saved by grace through faith in Christ alone.  God desires for us to become a beacon of gospel light and hope to those around us.
            The first commandment says, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).  Such a commandment seems clear enough.  It should be simple enough to learn and follow.  We could memorize this verse in less than thirty seconds.  Yet, this commandment might be broken more than all the other nine.  We routinely turn things, people, ideas, passions and pursuits into gods.  These things can easily eclipse our relationship with the Lord and the priority that He is to possess in our lives.  God can often be reduced and relegated to a much lower position in life.  We might give voice to how much God matters to us but our behavior paints a drastically different story.  We can easily fill our minds and hearts with substitutes and lesser things. 
            If we have not made God our first relationship and first priority, we will most likely elevate something or someone else to that position.  It is shocking to think how quickly we can turn to the things of creation as substitutes for the Creator.  Yet, the creation can never take the place of the Creator.  A failure to put God first can often lead to an avalanche of other sins and disobedience.  A failure to love God can cast a dark and broad shadow over our ability to love other people. When we offer reduced or cheapened loyalty to God, it can become easy to lose sight of the other commandments too.  When we rob God of what is rightfully His, then it becomes easy to rob others.  When we fail to speak words of honor and glory about God, then it becomes easy to speak and deal in lies with others.  This first commandment is foundational for how we understand and keep the remaining nine commandments. 
            We often break the first commandment when we refuse to trust God.  We often take matters into our own hands because we do not think or believe that God can deliver for us.  The enemy, Satan, would love for us to lower our sights and view of God.  That was his strategy in the Garden of Eden when he persuaded Eve and Adam to believe that God was holding back on them.  The serpent never once told Eve or Adam to eat the fruit or touch the tree.  He just planted enough doubt to lead them to conclude that God was not good, gracious or generous.  The serpent convinced them to think that God was keeping them from enjoying the best things—namely that one tree in the middle of the garden that God had ruled out of bounds.
            The first commandment calls us to an unreserved and unhesitating allegiance to the Lord—first, foremost and forever.  It is the fertile soil from which our love for and obedience to the Lord begins to grow and take shape.  Where is God for you?  Is He first?  Is He missing from your list altogether?  Isaiah says to us, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).  Have a wonderful Thursday!  We will study the Bible on Sunday at 9:45am.  We will worship together on Sunday at 10:55am.  Remember you can share our worship any time at      

No Comments





Acts Bible Communion Cross God's will God\'s will God Gospels Holy Spirit Holy Week Jesus Joseph Lent Peter Reformation Satan accountability action advent all saints allegory anger anxiety apologetics atonement awareness awe backsliding baptism beginning beloved betrayal bitterness blessing born again burden burnout calling care change character chistmas choices christian living christmas church history church circumcision comfort commitment community compassion complacency confession confidence consequences contentment control conversation cost courage creation death debt deception decisions deliverance denial dependence depth desire despair determination devotion direction discernment discipleship discouragement dishonesty disobedience distractions doctrine doubt dreams eagerness emotion encouragement end times endurance equality eternal life eternity evangelism evil example facing battles faithful living faithfulness faith family fatigue fear fellowship focus follow foreshadowing forgiveness foundation freedom friends fruit of the Spirit future generosity gifts giving glory goodness gospel grace grateful gratitude greed grit growth guidance guilt halloween happiness healing heart heaven help history holiday holiness home honesty hope humble humility identity impossible incarnation inspiration instruction integrity intentional jealousy journey joy judgment justice justification kindness kingdom knowing God lament law leadership lead lies life listening love martin luther maturity measure memorial memories mentoring mercy messiah minor prophets miracles missions mission mistakes motives mountaintops mourning music nation nativity nature new year new next generation obedience obstacles offering omniscience opportunity opposition overcoming parenting passion path patience peace pentecost persecution perseverence perspective plan poetry power praise prayer preparation presence pressure pride priorities process prodigal progress promise prophecy protection provision psalm purpose rebellion reconcile redemption refuge rejoice relationship remember remembrance renewal renown repentance resentment resolution restoration rest resurrection return revenge revival righteousness risk sacrifice sadness salt salvation sanctification scripture second coming seeking God self-control serenity sermon service shame sharing silence sincerity sin solitude sorrow sovereignty spiritual disciplines standard star stewardship storms strength struggle stubbornness stuck submission success suffering surrender talents talking temple temptation ten commandments testimony testing thankfulness thankful thanksgiving theology time tithes tough times traditions transfiguration trials trinity troubles trust truth veterans victory vision waiting warning weakness wisdom wise men witness wonder work worship