“And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.’” — Exodus 20:1-3 (NIV)
This command, “You shall have no other gods before me,” considered by Christians as the First Commandment, is the one from which all other nine of the Ten Commandments stem. If the Israelites, the ones who were brought out of the land of slavery, had kept this First Commandment, they would have kept all Ten Commandments. But, alas, they did not. Neither, however, do any of us. We may not have the gods of a golden calf, or Baal, or the other fertility gods of Canaan, but we certainly have our gods. It is often said that if we take a good look at our bank statements and our calendars, and see where we’re spending our money and our time, we’ll quickly identify the gods in our lives. The result then is not just a breaking of commandments, but of allowing ourselves to be taken captive by our bank accounts and day planners. The LORD God has chosen to free us from such constraints in order to lead lives with God at the center. When we choose to bind ourselves to God’s reign in our lives we can live lives of joy. As the psalmist puts it, “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” (Psalm 119:14).
Prayer: Holy God, Your command to put You at the center of our lives should bring us freedom and joy. Forgive us for allowing other gods to take Your place. When we recognize our bondage, free us again so that we may turn back to You. Amen.
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