Thursday, April 25, 2019

No Others Gods

"You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3).

The first commandment forbids the worship or service of any god apart from the true God, the God who created the world, the God who redeemed Israel from Egypt, the God who saved the world through Jesus Christ.

Literally, the first commandment says that we are to “have” no other gods. Anything that comes between us and God is a false god. Anything we put before the service and obedience of God is a false god. Thus if we prefer fishing or playing golf to worshipping on the Lord’s Day then fishing or golf is an idol for us on that day. We may not bow down to our golf clubs, but we definitely put golf before God and break the first commandment.

Similarly, if we love money more than God, we break the first commandment. If we refuse to tithe a full ten percent of our income to God, we show that we love money more than the holy law of God. We trust money more than we trust God. We are afraid we won’t have enough money if we tithe, so the fear of inconvenience or poverty has taken precedence over the fear of God.

Of course, idolatry in the usual sense of the word is a clear violation of the first commandment. When you carve wood into the shape of an image and bow down to it or to some created thing, you have broken the law. However, the primary idol is not the carved image; after all, the idol is made or designated by man. Behind idolatry is the worship of man. The ultimate form of idolatry is always the worship of oneself. We are the ones who create the idols in the first place and thus worship ourselves.

Idolatry has been a concern of the Church since the earliest days. Orthodox Christianity regards the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons as idolators because they deny the deity and the worship of Christ. These groups worship a false god of their own devising. In the early days of the Church, there were many similar heresies, all of which involved denying the true deity of Christ. When the early Church condemned these heresies she was acting in support of the first commandment.

Take a close look at your life today and see if there are material things that you have placed before God in importance. Go to your knees and ask God to search your heart and show you any idols that need to be broken.