In my first two articles of this series, “To Keep the Ten Commandments or Not?” and “To Keep the Ten Commandments or Not? Pt. 2” I discussed whether or not we should keep the Ten Commandments. As this series progress we will elaborate on each commandment to see if there is any valid reason to obey it in this day and age. Maybe at least one of them doesn’t apply to us for one reason or another. Throughout this study we will find out if this is true or not. Now let’s begin with the first commandment, which says…
Then God said all these words: “I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery. You are to have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3 CJB
“I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. You are to have no other gods before me.” Deuteronomy 5:6-7 CJB
No Other Gods
While Israel slaved away in Egypt, they encountered many gods. By the time the last generation had left Egypt a lot of the Israelites most likely served other gods. After all, that is what they knew. They were surrounded by the worship of these gods day in and day out. The God of their forefathers probably seemed like a million years away, whereas the Egyptian gods were right there in their faces. They saw the prosperity of the Egyptians while they slaved away, working hard for them.
So it stands to reason that the first commandment would instruct Israel to have no other gods before Yahweh, who had proven himself to be greater than any god who ruled in Egypt. In spite of the many gods in Egypt, not one of them was able to stop Yahweh from delivering his people. They weren’t even able to stop him at the Red Sea. He did what he wanted when he wanted to and none of them was able to stop him.
He was Yahweh Elohim, creator of the heavens and the earth. He was not made by human hands; instead he made humans by his own hands. He deserved and required to be placed first in his people’s lives. The scriptures tell us other reasons why he should be placed first.
- He is Yahweh their Elohim, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, where they lived as slaves.
- He is a merciful Elohim, who will not fail them or destroy them.
- He will not forget the covenant he made with their ancestors, which he swore to them.
- He is God in heaven above and on earth below.
- He spoke to them with his own voice.
- He has shown them signs and wonders and saved them in wars.
Yahweh’s Proof as the Highest God
Pharaoh was looked upon as the reincarnation of the sun god, who was supposed to be the creator of all life. Therefore, he was over all society, religions, politics, and military forces. He was the king of Egypt, a super power that controlled vast amounts of land. Egypt was his kingdom. He was a lord, who had power over his subjects. There was no one to challenge him. This is what the children of Israel grow up learning. The God of their forefathers must have seemed like a myth to them.
When Yahweh came to deliver his people Pharaoh was holding his own for a moment. Pharaoh’s magicians were able to pull off the first two plagues. But after that he started losing ground. What is interesting is that his magicians were able to turn water into blood just like Moses did. However, Yahweh proved who really had control over the blood, which consists of a person’s life force, when he sent the final plague of death to only the firstborn males. Only the Creator of life and death could control something like that. In all Pharaoh’s wisdom, in all his magicians’ magic, in all his counselors understanding, no one could reverse or do what Yahweh Elohim just did. Pharaoh had to submit to the power of Yahweh and let his people go.
When Yahweh defeated Pharaoh he proved to Israel he alone was entitled to be called God of all gods, King of all kings, and Lord of all lords. No god was greater than him. He brought down a super power with only an outstretched hand. He proved that he could deliver millions of his people all by himself. He didn’t send an army to overtake Pharaoh and his kingdom. He went to battle himself. Therefore, Yahweh declared no god could come before him ever.
A Valid Command for Today?
Now that was what happened to the children of Israel and God told them not to have any other gods before him. Should it still apply to us today? Well, it depends on what you believe. Do you believe God is the same yesterday, today, and forever? Do you believe he meant it when he said he made an everlasting covenant with Israel and their descendants?
How do you know if you’re one of their descendants? Well, if you believe you are one of the promised seeds of Abraham that would expand over the entire world, then you are definitely one of the children of Israel. God told Abraham he would deliver his seed out of bondage after they served 400 years in slavery. That was the children of Israel.
Let’s get a little more personal in case history doesn’t matter to you. Has anything ever happened to you that you can’t explain how you lived through it? You know the times where you knew you should have died, but you didn’t. No one could explain to you why the gun misfired or jammed. Or the doctors couldn’t explain how you survived. Maybe you heard a voice telling you to slow down or get off at this exit, only to find out later there was a car accident and that should have been you.
If any of these has happened to you or some other unexplained thing, who do you contribute it to? If you believe it was Yahweh Elohim, creator of the heavens and earth, then you would be wise if you obeyed this commandment. If you believe you are one of Abraham’s seed which was promised by God then this is definitely one commandment you want to follow. However, if you believe something else, then you might want to steer clear of this one.
Our Heavenly Father, who is in heaven,
Open our eyes to any way we are not obeying this commandment. Show us areas in our lives where we have made gods before you. Then give us the courage to follow you and you alone.
In Yeshua the Messiah’s name, Amen.
“When those bitter days have come upon you far in the future, you will finally return to the LORD your God and listen to what he tells you. For the LORD your God is merciful — he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors. Search all of history, from the time God created people on the earth until now. Then search from one end of the heavens to the other. See if anything as great as this has ever happened before. Has any nation ever heard the voice of God speaking from fire — as you did — and survived? Has any other god taken one nation for himself by rescuing it from another by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, awesome power, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the LORD your God did for you in Egypt, right before your very eyes. He showed you these things so you would realize that the LORD is God and that there is no other god. He let you hear his voice from heaven so he could instruct you. He let you see his great fire here on earth so he could speak to you from it. Because he loved your ancestors, he chose to bless their descendants and personally brought you out of Egypt with a great display of power. He drove out nations far greater than you, so he could bring you in and give you their land as a special possession, as it is today. So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The LORD is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other god!” Deuteronomy 4:30-39 NLT