The Ten Commandments can be divided into two categories: loving God and loving people. Essentially, the “10” are all about relationship. They describe how we’re supposed to exist in relationship with God and how we’re supposed to treat one another. At the heart of these relationships is love. We express love when we follow the Ten Commandments (Matthew 22.36-39).
This past weekend Pastor Jeff Manion taught us on the first of the 10, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20.3). The Israelites who first received the Ten Commandments had just been rescued from Egypt, a land with hundreds of gods. They literally had a god for everything: Nut the goddess of the sky, Osiris the god of death, and Bastet the goddess of cats. But God told them to forget about all the other made-up gods when he tells his people, “This is an exclusive relationship. I am you One and Only God.”
God wants an exclusive relationship with us as well. We might not have deities for the sky or our cat, but we often allow other aspects of life to rival our relationship with God. This happens slowly as we restructure our lives around whatever we feel we “need” to survive. We’re easily prone to adding competition to our relationship with God. Anything can become an idol if it takes a more central place in our life than our relationship with God. God wants exclusivity.
As you begin your week, commit this first commandment to memory: “You shall have no other gods before me.” Over the course of the summer, we’ll memorize all 10 together. As we hide these verses in our hearts, may our love for God grow and deepen.