To Our Church Family and Friends,
Is there anything in your life that is before God? Is there anything or anyone you worship other than God? These questions have to do with the first two commandments in Exodus 20:3-6. These are reinforced in the New Testament in Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:10 “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.”
The commandment in Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before me” did not mean that you can have other gods in your life as long as God is the #1 God in your life. It has to do with the absolute and exclusive Lordship of God in our lives. We are not to bring any other “gods” into His presence – that is what He meant by the words “before me”.
Then we are told not to “make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath…” We are not only not to have any other gods in our lives, but we are not to try to make anything as a representation of God who is in heaven, nor make an idol to represent anything here on earth.” Why? God told Moses in Deut. 4:12 when Moses heard God speak out of the fire, “You heard the sound of words, but saw nor form, there was only a voice.”
But I wonder if many of us would say we never even come close to breaking those commandments. We have to be careful not to let anything take the place of God in our lives. The rich young ruler said he had kept all of the commandments. But, when Jesus told him to sell all he had and give it to the poor, his response showed that this he had made a god of his wealth. Riches, possessions, hobbies, work, and relationships can become gods in our lives without us even realizing it. We need to evaluate constantly.
An idol could be carving an image of God in our minds that reflects how we want God to be. Some try to fashion God into a “God of love only”. And this “god” (although they think it is God) only loves and forgives and never holds people accountable for sin. Some try to fashion God into a “God of justice only”. And this “god” (although they think it is God) only condemns and punishes people (usually people who struggle with sins not like their own). Again, we need to constantly evaluate – is God the only God in our lives? And, are we worshiping God as He is and on His terms or on our terms (which is idolatry)?