These instructions bring hope and good news for all
“Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. You must not have any other god but me.”” Exodus 20:1-3 NLT
This week, I’m starting a series on the TEN COMMANDMENTS. God gave these instructions to Moses for the people of Israel thousands of years ago. They were given to a specific people during a specific time for a specific covenant for an intentional purpose yet still they are the eternal Word of God proclaiming His eternal truth.
The teachings have been the basis of laws and morality since their creation. They have been memorized by children in Sunday School and displayed in prominent public places. They are the subject of controversy and continued essential teaching for millions. These instructions, these commands speak to us today and bring hope and good news for all of life.
When you look at the Ten Commandments, there is a pattern that is helpful in knowing God’s design.
The first four commandments have to do with our relationship with the Lord.
The remaining six commandments have to do with our relationships with each other.
Jesus summed up all the commandments here: “But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22:34-40 NLT
The instructions for living that God gave Israel and that are still pertinent today speak to every aspect of life.
The first commandment tells us to have no other god but GOD!
All the other commandments hinge on the first. This fact emphasizes that these commandments are more than just a moral code. Other religions in the times of Moses and throughout history have had their share of moral codes, or approved way of living.
God’s commands establish that HE IS GOD and that His statutes are based on that fact above all things.
This is not a human attempt at rules for living, it is a covenant for loving and honoring God, established by God, by how we interact with HIM and each other.
This first command instructs that we give reverence, praise, honor, and love to God and to God alone.
Obviously during the time of Moses (and from his time to now), there have been thousands of gods that have been worshiped by humanity. Today, they may not have names like Amon, Ba’al or Zeus, but we do have the gods of wealth, popularity and fame.
Anything in our life that has our main allegiance and where we put our hope and trust is a god.
The first commandment implores all of humanity to believe in, trust in, serve and worship ONE God. The ONE God who created the heavens and the earth and the ONE God who created each one reading this article.
There is only ONE GOD. He loves you and you can trust HIM! That Is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Frist Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.