"No Other Gods Before Me" 02/17/2014 (Evening thought)

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

This passage of scripture tells us that The Eternal God is to have the first place in our affections and in our commitments at all times, and no one or anything should ever usurp His supreme position in our lives. The words "before Me"  also mean in front of Me, next to Me, in addition to Me, behind Me, instead of Me, and in collaboration with Me. We should have no other gods period. Back then in ancient times, the majority of people became involved in idolatry of the darkest hue and they literally bowed down to gods made by men's hands. Their "gods"  were made of wood and stone and precious metals, but with the passage of time idolatry has evolved into many different forms, including, but not limited to money material possessions, abstract concepts, beliefs, and persons, just to name a few. Let's be clear, anything or anyone that interferes with, disrupts, or prevents God from being supreme in our lives, is a "other god".

One of the main reasons why God forbids the harboring of any false gods, is because doing so directly affects the way we make our decisions. For instance, if a person's "other god" is sports, then if the superbowl happens to fall around the same time as prayer meeting, then the person will choose the superbowl over prayer, and that will constitute putting sports first and God in second place. Sounds familiar?  Again, if one's "other god" is money, and they have to make a choice between tithes and their savings account, their savings would take first place, and the statute God gave requiring ten percent of our earnings would fall into second place.

God requires that we give Him the first place in our affections and in our decision making processes, for this is our reasonable service. When our sins required the death of Christ to save us, He did not think twice about the brutal sacrifice He would have to make in order to free us from the grip of sin and death, but rather emptied all of heaven in the Person of Jesus Christ to secure our salvation. Therefore our decisions to follow God and have Him reign supreme in our lives should not be shackled by circumstances, persons or material things.

A notable example of what this literally means can be found in the experience of Ruth, a person who was not of the Jewish blood line, but had married the son of Naomi, an Israelite who had migrated to Ruth's homeland, because of a severe famine in her own country. However, with the lapse of time, both Ruth and her sister Orpah, lost their husbands to death, and a crucial decision needed to be made on whether to migrate to Naomi's native country, or whether to remain in their own homeland where they would serve "other gods". This critically important decision would forever change the course of their lives, and according to the sacred record, Ruth made the right and wise decision, to have The Eternal God as supreme in her life. Let's read:

Ruth 1:6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.  7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.  8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.  14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.  15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.  16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.  18 When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.

Ruth's after history shows the wisdom and results of that all-important choice. Nothing else is said in the Bible of Orpah, but Ruth was granted the favor of God, in that the Lord provided a very wealthy, God-fearing man for her, and their names are on the list of the progenitors of Christ. What a wise choice! Some people have erroneously concluded that serving the living God puts a person at a disadvantage in this life, and so as a result, they pass up golden opportunities to live life more abundantly and at the end receive immortality. The reasonings of those who do not know God are reflected in the following scriptures. Let's read:

Malachi 3:13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?  14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?  16 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.  17 And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

It is very important that we do not succumb to the fatal sophistries of the devil. In our age when misguided philosophy and logic have become the diabolical enemies of faith, we need to remember that The Eternal God still reigns supreme and that He still desires and requires that we harbor no other gods but Himself in our lives. If like Ruth we choose to serve the living God, then the following promise is ours:

Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

May this privilege and experience be our both now and forever. "Good night" and God bless!