_Over the next two weeks I thought I’d do a series of posts on the Ten Commandments because these stand as the moral law of God, his law on what is right and what is wrong. Currently, a lot of people think that morals are to some extent relative so it seems good to go through the absolute moral law of God and apply it to our lives today.
“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 v 1 – 2
The most important thing to notice about the short introduction to the Ten Commandments is that God spoke them. As such this is the moral law we need to abide, what God says is right is right and what he says is wrong is wrong because as God he is the only being with the qualifications to make this judgement. Also, as God is eternal so is his moral law eternal and still as binding today as it was thousands of years ago. There are examples in the Bible before these Ten Commandments were given of all the Ten Commandments being broken showing that these Commandments were in force before they were explicitly verbalised here. And they are still in force today. The Ten Commandments is the basic standard by which we must judge ourselves if we are to see ourselves as God sees us.
The first commandment is this:
“You shall have no other gods before me.”
Exodus 20 v 3
_ The first commandment is simple: worship God (i.e. the God of the Bible, Jehovah) and God alone. All other sin stems from this one for in every sin we make ourselves God, decide what we think is right and wrong and act accordingly or we deliberately ignore what is right and do wrong, either way we set ourselves up as our own God. As a race this is our defining sin – we want to be God, we resent that we have a God who created us and so we set ourselves up as a better replacement. This is shown in our determination to control our own lives (as though we could!) and determine our own morality.
It is also shown in everything else we put up in our hearts as God and it really is anything, our heart is a factory of idols and we set money, career, children, a relationship, other people’s opinion, our gifts, music, food, computer games, our country, our political view, our sport’s team, anything and everything that has been created we would rather have first in our lives than the one true God. As Matthew Henry writes: “Pride makes a god of self, covetousness makes a god of money, sensuality makes a god of the belly; whatever is esteemed or loved, feared or served, delighted in or depended on, more than God, that (whatever it is) we do in effect make a god of.”
Above all else though this command, as with all of the Ten Commandments, is given out of God’s great and abounding love. As our Creator he knows what we need and we were created to be in a relationship with him, we were designed to function with God as God in our lives. In breaking this first commandment we heap misery on our own heads for nothing can satisfy, nothing can full that empty void in our lives, nothing can bring peace, nothing can save us from the fear of death except God as God. The tragic irony of the human condition is that we rebel against the commandments of God that would bring us such surpassing joy if we but kept them.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
Revelation 4 v 11
God is infinitely worthy of all glory, honour, praise and worship and so to despise him, to set up something else as God, to not have him as our greatest love in our heart, to esteem others or other things more than God, why this is a terrible thing. To rebel against our Creator and set the created above him, this is vile. I say this not to appear better than anyone else for I have broken the first commandment and placed other things and myself above God, both before I was a Christian and during the time I have been a Christian. I know from personal experience the wretchedness of breaking this commandment.
There has not been a single man or woman who has ever lived who has fully kept this commandment. Except one: Jesus Christ.
“then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead… Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4 v 11 – 12
The God who gave us this commandment, the God whom we sin against everytime we break it, the God who we despise and rebel against was not done with us. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ as both God and man to die and be raised from the dead. In Jesus Christ there is salvation, for he died for our sins, he died so that we might have God as God in our lives and have none before him. Jesus never broke the first commandment, he died sinless, taking our sin and so his sinlessness becomes ours and our sin is put on him.
We need to have God as God in our lives and he provided the way, the only way, by which this could happen, while we were still sinners he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Saviour!