RULE #1 – “You shall have no other gods before me” Ex 20:2
Do you married people remember your wedding ceremony? It probably contained some form of this phrase: “I take you, to be my wedded wife or husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, and FORSAKING ALL OTHERS be faithful to you as long as we both shall live.” Marital vows are a pledge to a lifetime of faithfulness….a lifetime of exclusiveness.
No man or woman in their right mind would allow the spouse to strike a bargain before the marriage by saying, “I’ll spend most of my time with you, but I want to enjoy intimate relationships with other people some of the time.” No. Marriage represents a firm, exclusive commitment to each other by both husband and wife.
And God calls us to have a similar exclusive allegiance to Him. Later on in the Commandments God says He is a jealous God. God refuses to share the glory and the worship that is due Him with anyone or anything else. We were created to have an intimate, exclusive walk with God and God alone.
In the sermon on the mount, Jesus takes the ten commandments and then shows how our problems actually begin at the heart level. Referring back to the first commandment, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” In Jesus day as in our day money is something we often put above God. To rephrase the first commandment, “Do not put your money before me.” Jesus said, “You cannot serve money and God” We think that giving is not important, but it is vital to our relationship to God and to worship. Every time there was worship there was giving. Jesus spoke of giving matter a factly, he said, “when you give, not if you give, the only compliment he gave the Pharisees was that they tithed. If God is not first in our money he is not first. We say Christ is lord, but not over my finances, then he isn’t lord. It’s like saying “I’m half pregnant.”
When Niki and I were going to get married I told her 3 things. I said, “I reserve the right to take off my ring anytime and to flirt. I want to be free and not tied down. Keep my options open. I want to keep zeal and passion in my life, I don’t want to be tied down.”
I also told her that, “My time is more important than hers. I come first then my family and friends. I will spend time with you and your family only when it is convenient. Granted there is nothing else going on that I want to be at.”
And thirdly, “Money is tight, I need to spend it how I want so I will not support you. If you want anything you have to get it yourself and you will have to work. I don’t want you to make any demands on me; don’t ask for anything and our relationship will be great!” Do you really believe that I said that? Of course not! If I did, some of you would think, “Who do you think you are! What a terrible person you are!”
I did not, but…THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT WE SAY TO GOD!!!!
God loves you, He sent Jesus to die for you. Because of Jesus, we have a relationship with God, we are saved from eternal punishment, we have peace, purpose, the Holy Spirit inside us, spiritual gifts, the enduring presence of God with us and a future in heaven. He has given us so much! Let’s take our relationship with God seriously.
In the next post we will look at the 2nd Commandment.