"Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3
Since the LORD God is our Maker and Redeemer, we are to have no other gods before Him -- more literally, before His face. And, since He is present everywhere and sees all, this means we are to have no other gods but Him!
He is the only true God, He made us and gave us life (Gen. 1 and 2; Psalm 139:13-16; John 1:1-5) and we should "fear, love and trust in Him above all things" (Martin Luther's Small Catechism).
The Bible teaches us that all other gods are nothing but useless idols (1 Cor. 8:4; Psalm 96:5) and we should remember that the LORD God is the Almighty Creator and honor Him as such by obeying His commandments and avoiding all that displeases Him.
Because the LORD God is our Maker and also our Redeemer, we have every reason to love Him with all our heart, soul and mind and gladly live our lives for Him (cf. Matt. 22:37; 2 Cor. 5:15).
God has so wonderfully made us and provided for all our needs; and He has, through Christ's sufferings, death and resurrection, redeemed us from our sins and the eternal punishment we so deserve. Does He ask too much when He commands that we honor Him, love Him and trust Him with all our heart, mind and soul and commit our entire lives to His care and keeping?
Have we done this? We must all admit our utter failure, for we so often neglect Him and push Him out of our lives as though He did not exist. Instead of giving Him the honor due His name as our Maker, Redeemer, and our Judge, we take His Word lightly and ignore and disobey His commandments, which He gave to us for our good (cf. Rom. 7:10ff.).
Every time we sin against any commandment of the LORD, we are also failing to fear, love and trust in God above all things. We think and act as though we ourselves know better than God. We place ourselves, other people, and even the things of this world before the loving God who gave us life in our mother's womb and won for us everlasting life in Christ Jesus, our Savior. We fail to give Him the glory and honor due unto His name! Cf. Psalms 96 and 100.
And what is the punishment for disobeying God's command? Is it a slap on the wrist? Or is it the eternal punishments of hell? The Bible says: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:20); and, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).
How thankful we can be that God has not turned His back on us as we so often have done to Him! Though we have forgotten Him, He has not forgotten us. Though we have rebelled and disobeyed, He still kept His word and promise (cf. Gen. 3:15) and has given to us His only-begotten Son to be our Savior. Christ Jesus went to the cross in our stead and atoned for our sins and the sins of all and rose again in victory that we might receive pardon and forgiveness through faith in His name! Cf. John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Gal. 4:4-5; 1 John 2:1-2.
And again, when we consider all He has done to honor us, how could we fail to honor Him with godly fear, love and trust in His holy name?
LORD God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be merciful to us and forgive us for our many failures to honor You as the LORD God, our Maker and Redeemer. Enable and teach us to fear, love and trust in You above all else. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, God the Son and our Savior. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://goodshepherdonline.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]