Verse of the Day Devotion: Exodus 20:3 – You shall have no other gods before Me.
For the next ten weekdays, including today, we will be looking at the Ten commandments. These were given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai. God is saying more in these than just stating rules, and we shall look at them from this perspective. Our focus verse today is the first one, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3. What God is essentially saying is because of what is stated in verse two, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Exodus 20:2. He asserts He is the one we must look at as the only God, not just one of several or many gods. We must love Him and have supreme affection, worship, trust, self-surrender, aspiration, towards Him alone. And the reason was that He was the one that delivered them from the cruelty of Egypt, where they had been afflicted for many years. They suffered under great distress where they worked extremely hard in the bonds of slavery.
Now, note the last two words in the focus verse: before Me. This presents the idea of continuing to see Him as God, but in a secondary position where another so-called god would be looked at as greater. He should be seen as the only God, for none other had or could have done anything for them as He had, delivering them from their captivity in Egypt which they could not do for themselves. And He did it through a series of miracles that proved His preeminence over the Egyptians, their gods and any other people. These miracles include but not limited to the pillars that led them out of captivity, the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. The destruction of the armies of Egypt that came after them, and ultimately the parting of the Red Sea which brought them to safety through the water on dry land.
And He must be seen as “The Lord God” and not “A Lord God”. He is not one of several, but He is one, the only true God. Thus, He was the only one they should go to, and not place something else as god to seek something from it. This was a common practice with the gentile races who practiced polytheism by having many gods for different times and purposes. And in their many years in Egypt, some of them may have picked up on this practice, for the ancient Egyptians had over 2,000 deities in their pantheon. So this may have been a call to forget all these false gods and see Him as the only true God who was Lord.
Today, just as in Moses’ day, we have countless gods that are followed in our world. We are called not to get involved in these other religions but to stay true to God and His Son, Jesus the Christ. However, we do not have to embrace another religion in order to have another god. If we hold anything as so important that we place it above the true God, then we are falling into this error. It may be a practice we know is sinful, however we choose not to give it up even knowing it displeases God. It may be something you own that you cannot give up even if God asked you too. In either case, these things or practices are put before our devotion to God.
I challenge everyone to examine their lives and see if there is anything that you place ahead of your devotion to our Lord God. If so, make the decision to truly ask forgiveness and see God as infinitely greater than that thing or activity and place Him in front of them, and be willing to give them up if God tells you to. He is the God who sacrificed His Son Jesus in order to pay the penalty we incurred because of our sin and has provided the way to eternal life with Himself. Is there anything more important than that?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.
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