The 1st Commandment

Pagan idolsIf you are a follower of the Bible, and reading this post, you are probably no stranger to the 10 Commandments listed in Exodus 20. I decided to do a series of posts on The 10 Commandments looking at each one on its own. Now let’s start by first saying what the 10 Commandments are not. They are not the 10 suggestions or the 10 recommendations; they are the 10 Commandments.

If you have not read my last post titled “Does God Change”; I would suggest reading that first? It will help you to understand where I’m coming from and where I’m going with this. Now, we all know that keeping God’s law does not earn us salvation; that my friends is a gift from God. Also following God’s law does not give us special brownie points for being so good.

Look at what Jesus said in the book of Luke:

Luke 17:10
10 So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”

So keeping the law is our duty, and earns us nothing.

Now, let’s look at the 1st Commandment.

Exodus 20:1-3 And God spoke all these words, saying: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.

Sounds pretty cut and dry, right? But have we considered what that really means? At first glance we might say, “I don’t worship false gods, I would never think of such a thing”.

Well, let’s look at the word god found in an online dictionary:

1. (Ecclesiastical Terms) a supernatural being, who is worshiped as the controller of some part of the universe or some aspect of life in the world or is the personification of some force.
2. (Ecclesiastical Terms) an image, idol, or symbolic representation of such a deity
3. any person or thing to which excessive attention is given: money was his god.
4. a man who has qualities regarded as making him superior to other men

So, as you can see, the breaking of the 1st Commandment does not have to be praying to Dagon, Moloch or Baal. I think the 3rd and 4th definition above is probably where most people run smack dab into the breaking of the 1st Commandment. It seems we as a people are obsessed with actors, singers, sports figures, body image, clothes, cars, money, and the list goes on and on.

Now am I saying there is anything wrong with enjoying music, movies, reliable transportation, making a good living, etc.? No! But there is a big difference between appreciating or enjoying something, and being obsessed with it, which is to preoccupy the mind excessively with something.

When people are spending thousands of dollars to see a World Series game, I think there’s a problem. When we purchase magazines to read about all the salacious details of some celebrity’s life, I think there’s a problem. When we go deep into debt to buy a vehicle or home that is way beyond our means to look impressive to others, I think there’s a problem. When we spend more time thinking only about ourselves while ignoring the plight of others, I think there’s a problem. When you can’t pass a shoe store without buying a new pair of shoes, there just might be a problem.

How much time to we meditate on the things of God as opposed to our favorite characters in a movie or TV show? How much thought goes into what others think of us as opposed to what God thinks of us? How much time do we spend in praying or talking about God as opposed to talking about our favorite TV show or sports team? How much thought do we put into blessing others as opposed to what we hope others will do for or think about us.

Anything that we place above or before God is a breaking of the 1st Commandment.

Now, if you find yourself coming up short, there is a fix. You repent, and strive to do better. Every time you fall down, you get back up, brush off the dust, and get back at it.

God knows that none of us can keep the law perfectly because we are flawed people. But God does expect us to work at it, and to give Him our best effort. Also, God will help us overcome the things that cause us to break His Commandments if we will just ask Him. We just need to get our priorities lined up with God’s priorities. We need to live every day being the best we can, while striving to be a blessing to others. We should also get up each morning thanking and glorifying God for every new day He gives us.

I hope this post has helped you see the 1st Commandment a little more clearly, and maybe get you a little more focused on the importance of God’s Commandments.

Also, if you like what you read, please sign up to receive updates when I post new articles; and send your friends a link to YourSpiritMindandBody.com. I will be talking about the 2nd Commandment soon, and hope you will stop by and check it out.


  • I’m convinced (as are you and stated well) a god can be made of anything. It is sad when we think someone or something can take the place of the One True God.

  • Mike

    You are so right about that. I feel sorry for younger people as they are so much more temped by pier pressure. As we get older, most of us don’t care quiet as much about what other people think.

  • I agree, a “god” can be anything that draws our attention and steals our time and devotion from God. Matt 6:33 tells us to seek Him first, not give Him our left over time.
    I think it takes daily commitment and asking God to reveal our hearts motivations to us. Sometimes we can think we’re putting Him first when really our pride or whatever are getting the glory instead of Him.

    Great post.

  • Mike

    So true, and so easy to do. I agree 100% that it takes daily commitment to stay on track. I also think it’s a matter of loyalty, we pay attention to what we’re loyal to. Thanks for the comments.

  • I’m with you, Mike. We too often revere the things of this world and worry over what they can do to us, which is also a breaking of the first commandment. This is a fight for our soul and it’s played out on our senses. The enemy knows the power and the amazing design of our flesh and has played upon it since day one in the Garden. No wonder we have to be on our guard!

    • Mike

      Good to hear from you Floyd. Being in the world but not of the world is tough. I especially feel for the youth as the pull to be accepted and fit in is so tough. The enemy is knows our weak points and has done an excellent job to play on them. If you look and ancient Israel you see so many parallels. I could be wrong, but i feel that we may be past the point of no return as a nation. At this point I feel the best we can do is be lights in our local areas and touch those around us for Christ.