The Word: Commands – Day 15

Seven Wonders of the Word

“You shall have no other gods before me” – Exodus 20:3

This is one exclusive claim.  If you are a life long Christian maybe this commandment doesn’t seem so, in your face, but trust me it is!

Most of us don’t have home altars crowded with household gods, or then again…

Ok, what this commandment is all about is putting God first in our lives, our relationships, in absolutely everything.  Today the phrase “working god” came up.  Yes you may worship the Lord God on Sunday but on Monday what operates as your default “working god?”

That “working god” is what we really depend on in our daily lives.  These “working gods” are many and different I would suppose for most of us.  Some examples, would be income, status, popularity and the list covers just about any aspect of your life that is important to you.  Above all these things God claims first place, and for a good reason.

You see none of the things that people often make their idols, their god’s is usually evil or even bad.  But when they are placed in front of what is supposed to be the most important thing, that is our relationship with God, well then things don’t go so well.  No matter how good a thing might be all things have their limits, they have life spans, moments in the sun, but no sticking power, God however, is there from the beginning to the end and his promises have power even over death itself.

Recently upon the death of Elizabeth Taylor there was a Facebook discussion by a bunch of mostly pastor type people about the relative hotness of the starlets of that era.  Yea, I know a nice conversation to be had by pastors,  hey we are human!  Our tastes were all over the board; the names that came up for top spot were: Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Catherine Deneuve and Esther Williams.

The end result was that they were all beautiful women, they were after all movie stars.  One of the final comments was that Elizabeth was a mess, but she was beautiful.  I am too young to really know the “real” Elizabeth Taylor and honestly I didn’t follow her life that closely but I do know she was married a whole bunch of times and she definitely gave meaning to the phrase “hot” mess.

My point is this “the grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

By the time I was old enough to know or care who Elizabeth Taylor was she was constantly being mocked on Saturday Night Live and her life was being lived out on the grocery store tabloids.  Not much to put your stock in.  All her beauty, all her talent, all her money, all her husbands were not enough to make her happy, to complete her.  All the fame in the world will not ultimately bring her past death.

How often do we put stuff in the way of God, in the way of the only relationship that can ultimately give life instead of take it away.  God knows this about us and that is why the first commandment is the first, “you shall have no other gods before me.” An excellent place to start. One of the struggles of a life of faith is to keep all those other things, good as they maybe, from edging out God as first in our lives.  I wonder what it will be for me today?  I wonder what it will be for you?

May God always take first place, and may his love then flow in and through the rest of your life so that you may have the abundant life God wants for you and for all of His children!

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