“You shall have no other gods before me.” — Exodus 20:3 (NIV84)
Starting today, we are going to go through a series of devotions on the Ten Commandments. The numbering of the commandments differs from one denomination to another, but the integrity of the commandments remains the same. I come from a Lutheran heritage and will follow that numbering system, and I will often quote Martin Luther in this series of devotions. I believe his words are relevant to any Christian trying to live out his or her faith in the world today.
The very first commandment the Lord provided His people is about their relationship with Him. He told them, “You shall have no others gods but Me.” Luther, explaining what this commandment means, said, “We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.” Notice Luther’s use of fear, love and trust. He repeated these words as an intro to each commandment. Obedience to the commands of God must — and only can — come from a heart of faith. Every Christian must have a proper reverence, love and faith in God alone. Read what Luther said about such a faith: “As I have often said, the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true God. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you have not a true God. For these two belong together, faith and God. That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.”
The question before all humankind is, what does your heart cling and entrust itself to? Is it your possessions, your intellect and reason, or the teachings of a person? The Lord requires and requests of us that He be the ONLY thing our heart clings and entrusts itself to. Why can God make such a request from us? It’s easy to say because He’s God. But the fact is, He wants more than rote obedience. He wants our fear, love and trust. He wants us to reflect on all that He has done to redeem and provide for us that we are compelled to solely trust in Him. No one and nothing else is worthy of having the commitment of our hearts. God alone has faithfully been there for us, and He alone promises to be with us for all of our tomorrows.
So, let’s fear, love and trust in God above all things!