You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me: Lesson and Life Application

by Robert Driskell · Print Print · Email Email

The first of the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses reads thus from the English Standard Version of the Bible: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). It would seem that anyone who understands just Who God is, would have no trouble putting Him first in their lives. Believers should almost automatically center their lives around worshiping Him. However, the biblical record, and the practical experience of believers everywhere, reveals that professing believers too often consider faithfulness to God a secondary, or minor, priority. I have written, in my book Spiritual Suicide: The Crisis of Casual Christianity, that one of the biggest problems with Christianity today is that Christians do not take seriously enough their relationship with God. Many professing believers consider God to be merely an add-on to their lives instead of our Source, Reason, Judge, Sustainor, Savior, and Future.

“No other gods before me”

The phrase, “No other gods before me” does not mean that God merely wants us to organize our gods with Him at the top. It does not mean that, as long as we worship God first, we are free to have other gods also. It means that there are to be no other gods in our lives but the one true God. The word translated ‘before’ in this verse does not have to do with time or ranking. It is saying that we are to have no other gods in God’s sight. In other words, we are to worship nothing else in our lives but the one true God. He is worthy of our complete and total commitment.

Ron Mehl, in his book The Ten(der) Commandments, speaks of the struggle all Christians face, “The greatest challenge I face every day of my lif is probably the very one that you face every day…maintaining a close, personal, growing relationship with Jesus Christ. It is keeping Him first. Our number-one task as believers is to make sure that nothing—no “god,” person, object, task, duty, or pleasure—comes before Him in our priorities, in our plans, and in our affection” (Mehl, 41).

Alistair Begg echos Mehl when he reminds us of this sobering truth, “Anything or any person (including myself) that claims our primary loyalty has become ‘another God’” (Begg, 57). Begg also notes that, “We make a grave mistake in assuming that because our houses are free of idols fashioned of metal, wood, or stone we have dealt with this [the First Commandment] and are ready to move on to the second commandment” (Begg, 57).

Tim Keller, in his book Counterfeit Gods, lists just some of the other ‘gods’ we may have in our lives. This list includes, but I’m sure is not limited to, money, sex, power, and even family. Anything that takes the place that only God should occupy in our lives. It has been my observation that there are so many distractions, each vying for our time, prevalent in our current society, that oftentimes we have a difficult time focusing our attention on God.

God is our Source, Reason, Judge, Sustainor, Savior, and Future.

God is our Source, Reason, Judge, Sustainor, Savior, and Future.

Love the Lord with everything you are

The Bible is very clear, in both the Old Testament and the New, as to what place God is to have in our lives. Humanity is instructed, repeatedly, as to how we should exist, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 ESV; also see Deuteronomy 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, 13:3, 30:6; Joshua 22:5; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27). Anything in the Bible, that is repeated so often, stresses its obvious importance and preeminence. We should take these admonitions very seriously.

Too often, we let the pursuit of the necessary crowd out our time with God. With so many things going on in our lives, we sometimes even push Him out of our thoughts. However, the Bible assures us that God will provide all those things we are chasing after, if we will put Him first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). There exists no good reason for allowing anything to assume a more prominent place in our lives than God.

Conclusion

God has given us the Ten Commandments. These commandments tell us how we should live. The first of these Commandments tells us that we were created to live our lives worshiping God and giving Him first place in our lives. It tells us that we should allow nothing interfere, interrupt, replace, or hinder our dedication to Him. When we do not live this way; when we allow anything to usurp God’s place as Lord of our lives, our lives will be out of kilter. God will discipline us, in order to call attention to the fact that we are worshiping something other than Him. He does this out of His great love for us. However, if we continue to worship other things, we may find that we do not hear that great statement from Jesus on judgment day, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Need tips for how to spend more time with God? Read this article: 7 Tips for Planning Quiet Time with God

Resources: Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Begg, Alistair. Pathway to Freedom. Moody, 2003. Driskell, Robert R. Spiritual Suicide: The Crisis of Casual Christianity. Createspace, 2012. Mehl, Ron. The Ten(der) Commandments. Multnomah Publishers, 1998. Mohler, R. Albert Jr. Words from the Fire. Moody, 2009.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack Wellman July 11, 2014 at 8:17 am

Robert, this is just outstanding sir, as always. I too am guilty and “let the pursuit of the necessary crowd out our time with God” all too often. I appreciate your zeal for God and the expertise with which you write with.

Reply

Robert July 11, 2014 at 10:19 am

Thank you, brother Jack,
The Law of God shows us that we are all guilty of sinning against Him and we are in need of a Savior…that Savior is Jesus Christ. Ray Comfort, and his “Way of the Master” style of evangelism, relies heavily on people realizing their own sinfulness when confronted with God’s standard in the Ten Commandments.
God bless you, Jack,
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Jack H July 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Hello, you two! 😀 How are you doing this fine evening?

Reply

Jack Wellman July 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Good to hear from you my brother and fellow Jack! I am fine. Have a great weekend brother.

Reply

DocReits July 18, 2014 at 12:23 am

Yes Robert,

Thank you for reminding me of not what matters most, but Only.

DocReits

Reply

Robert July 18, 2014 at 6:49 am

Hi Doc,
Good to see you again (not literally, of course, but you know what I mean). I am amazed at the work God is doing inside me as I study to write these articles. Too often, in my walk of faith, I have brushed over the Ten Commandments, thinking that my focus should be on the New Testament. However, as I look deeper into the meaning of these Commandments, I realize that they contain the basis, the very foundation, of God’s plan for how we should be living. I pray as I write these articles that God speaks through me, because I feel so inadequate to comment on His Commandments. God bless you, Doc.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

DocReits July 20, 2014 at 1:44 am

“I pray as I write these articles that God speaks through me”

…And He has Robert. It sounds like you “happened” upon Ray Comfort’s ministry. I was always wondering what my pamphleteering was lacking back in the days of Campus Crusade for Christ.

It seemed strange telling fellow students that God had a wonderful plan for their lives, first off, instead of telling them first that God had a terrifying plan for their lives!

The reality needs to hit home first through the conviction of the H.S., that we have ALL(including Yours Truly) broken God’s Law(The Ten C.). Comfort’s approach, while abrupt, asks the unbeliever if they have ever told a lie, stolen, looked upon another with lust, or blasphemed God’s name, etc. , revealing to them that they have broken the Laws of a Just Judge.

There are consequences which are dire for having done so. Will the Just Judge give them a pass into heaven, or will he be Just and give them what they deserve?

Once seeing their position, Comfort will show them from the Bible that they do not have to go to hell, because Jesus took their penalty upon Himself by dying in their place upon the Cross.

Here is the important step…all they need to do is Repent or turn from their sin and accept the Just Judges requirement for their sin, namely Jesus’s sacrifice. Their sentence of eternal death is thereby acquitted.

The thing is, as you said, this recognition process(of our sin) is done through the knowledge of the Law(Ten Commandments). Without the Law there is no sin(Rom 4:15). The Law of The Lord is perfect, converting the soul(Ps 19:7). This Law is written on all men’s hearts(Rom 2:15, Heb 10:16, Jer 31:33).

We must speak the Law to awaken that which is written on the unbelievers’ own consciences.

God forgive our country for attempting to eradicate the Ten Commandments from our public places.

God help Christians to stop telling their neighbors that God has a wonderful plan for their lives. He doesn’t!! Hell awaits all who have broken His Law. Our only hope is Jesus. Repent of your sin, run to Jesus and be saved! That is our message.

Keep the great articles coming Robert. You are making a difference.

DocReits

Jack Wellman July 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Ray Comfort’s training material is superb and I based my last book on it about the Great Omission; Reaching the Lost for the Great Commission. I know Robert’s way of using the Law is spot on. Yes, Jesus is our One and Only Hope. Amen.

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