Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Loving God: Part 1

The Ten Commandments: #1

“You shall have no other gods before me.”  
This is the first commandment for a reason: nothing is supposed to come before God.  YHWH is the one who pulled the people out of slavery, out of Egypt.  Nothing is to come before him.  To him comes all devotion, all reverence, all worship.  Now we tend to spiritualize this commandment, and assume that it means simply “Don't put anything above God.”  This is true, and a good way to view this commandment.  For the Israelites, however, this first commandment meant so much more.  It wasn't simply calling the people not to put "things" above God.  Every nation in the Ancient Near East was understood to have one or more gods.  When YHWH says “do not have any other gods before me," he is saying "Don’t worship another god above me."  That does mean for us today, "Don't put anything above God.  But it meant more for the Israelites, because there were actually other gods being worshipped by people all over the place.  
If I want children, do I worship and sacrifice to the god of fertility?  If I need food for my family, do I worship and sacrifice to the god of rain or weather, or the god of animals?  
No.  YHWH says “I took you out of Egypt.  No other gods before me.”  YHWH is the provider, and he will be the God that cares for the Israelites needs.
This God has told the Israelites that he alone will provide for them; not other gods.
In life, when we are in need, we can come to this God, YHWH.  He is the God who provides for our needs.

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