Thou shalt have no other gods before me. – Exodus 20:3.
This is God’s First Commandment. God forbids us to have other gods besides Him. There are no other gods besides God (Isaiah 45:5 a); but if we fear, love, and trust in any creature in heaven or on earth “more” (Matthew 10:37) than in the one, true, and only God, then with a madly sinful heart we make a god, an idol, of such a creature, and commit idolatry. How enormously sinful the world is!
Since the Fall, the sinful world is, on the one hand, steeped in gross idolatry and worships images, the concoctions of its own impure, ungodly thoughts; and Satan knows that, in reality, it is he that is worshiped; and on the other hand, the ungodly world is steeped in fine [not gross, not blatant] idolatry, if such a thing may be called fine, inasmuch as this ungodly world exalts itself above God, and serves its own belly, and fears the creature, loves the creature, trusts in the creature “more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). We are to know God aright, and to fear, love, and trust in Him above all things. And “the fear of God” (Proverbs 8:13) will keep us aloof from every wicked thing that is opposed to God: the “love” of God (Romans 12:9; II Corinthians 5:14-15) will make us “zealous” (Titus 2:14; see also verses 11-13) to do every good thing desired by God; the “trust” (Psalm 37:3 and 5; 56:3-4; 62:8; 84:12) in God will make us bold (Hebrews 4:16) and “glad” (Psalm 122:1) to run into the outstretched arms of our gracious God.
Alas, while it is true that in us, who have learned to know Christ and God in Christ, such new life is budding, planted, and nursed by God, yet how often we fail to fear, love, and trust in Him as we ought to fear, love, and trust in Him! We can often cry out and confess with the Apostle Paul: “O wretched man [person] that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25). In Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins, and that righteousness which God imputes to us for Christ’s sake, the righteousness wherein we can stand before God; He also, in His wonderful grace, gives us His Holy Spirit, who, through “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 b), keeps and preserves us in the saving faith (John 8:31-32). “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
PRAYER – O my God, I am a poor, miserable sinner. I have not feared, loved, and trusted in Thee as I should have in my life. Reassure me again and again that “there is forgiveness with Thee” (Psalm 13);4a) in and because of the redemption and righteousness of my Savior, Christ Jesus. And, O Holy Spirit, through the Holy Scriptures, continue to keep and preserve me as a member “of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10), and help me, in gratitude for Thy many “mercies” (Romans 12:1 a) in Christ Jesus, to more and more present my body “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is [my] reasonable service” (v. 1b). Amen.
“O Jesus, Lamb of God, Thou art the Life and Comfort of my heart;
a sinner poor I come to Thee, and bring my many sins with me.
Help me to mend my ways, O Lord, and gladly to obey Thy Word;
while here I live, abide with me, and when I die, take me to Thee.”
(TLH) – Hymn 328, 1, 4