This week at AFCOB (Ashland First Church of the Brethren), I’m starting a new series of messages on finding the truth of the Ten Commandments in the New Testament. The first commandment is, “You must not have any other god but me (NLT).”
Have you ever taken the time to ponder what God is asking of us…and why?
Some of the older translations read “before me” which always lead me to think there were options and no other god was allowed to come in front of God. Not so.
If we consider the context in which we find the commandments, we realize that God has just delivered the Hebrews from Egypt. Extracated the entire nation from slavery in a foreign land. That’s a pretty big deal—a clear reference to his power (he just proved himself greater than what was considered the greatest power on earth), his faithfulness (they had not been forgotten), his love (he wanted better for them, and his provision (he had a place for them to go).
The Great I AM (the name he told Moses to share with the people) was letting his people know that he was not merely the Chief god—He’s the only God!
He’s the one who can be counted on to meet their every need. And what was true then is true today.
The people struggled with this. They battled with diety-envy and wanting to fit in with cultures around them. Sound familiar?
Years later, when Joshua’s time as leader was drawing to a close, he sought to renew the covenant between God and his people. Joshua questioned the people about their allegiance and their choice of gods. “Who will it be? Choose today! I don’t care what you do. I’m going to serve the LORD.”
I wonder if these words were on Jesus’ mind when he told his followers: “You can’t serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).”
According to David Seamands in his book, God’s Blueprint for Living, New Perspectives on the Ten Commandments: “Every human being is incurably religious and will worship some kind of a god or something beyond themselves. History and anthropology confirm that most people, however primitive or advanced, worship.”
Bob Dylan put it more simply: gotta serve somebody.
You will choose this day…who will you choose?