I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
‘I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have none other gods but me’…
thus boomed the voice of the vicar in the parish church I used to attend. The words of the Ten Commandments, used at the beginning of every Communion service, were jarring. It was as though, in some way, they always spoke to me.
I’ve often thought this, the first Commandment of the Ten, to be the hardest one.
Most of us, I would suspect, find it fairly easy not to kill people; most of us try our best not to take the Lord’s Name in vain; most of us try to honour our parents… but having other gods before God? That one is a bit trickier.
But surely I don’t have any false gods? Surely I wouldn’t put anyone/thing in front of God? Surely not I, the supposedly respectable Christian?
Apart, perhaps, from the football match I choose to attend instead of coming to church; apart, perhaps, from the kudos I crave among my friends; or the latest gadget I strive for; the higher salary I covet; or the latest position of importance I seek to occupy…
Do you have anything in your life that tries to occupy God’s place? Do you have anything that seeks to take your priority away from God?
If so, perhaps the first Commandment speaks as much to you as it does to me…?
I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have none other gods but Me. Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these Thy laws in our hearts, we beseech Thee. Amen
(taken from the Order for Communion from the Book of Common Prayer)