God's Top Ten
Tuesday - May 25th
Scripture to Read Today: Exodus 20:1-17
I am the LORD your God...
You shall have no other gods before me.
The Ten Commandments have been displayed in courthouses, houses of faith, and schools for as long as these institutions have existed. They have shaped the ethics and morality of individuals, families, religious groups, institutions, and nations for millennia. Most people can name at least one or two of the commandments. Some folks can recite all ten of them word-for-word from memory.
Comedian and late-night talk show host David Letterman presented nightly Top Ten lists on his show. His lists provided a humorous look at the top news and significant cultural issues of the day. He started with the less significant (or less amusing) number ten and worked his way up to the big reveal of the most poignant (and funny) number one. I was a big fan of the Letterman Top Ten Lists.
God's "Top Ten" list, the commandments, have no humor to them but are critical in how we relate to the Lord and others. The first four speak to our relationship with God. The last six address our relationship with other people. When we understand that they help us in these contexts, we find great freedom in the commandments. None of them individually nor all of them collectively promise us salvation, forgiveness, and new life from God. Keeping God's Top Ten List does not gain us God's grace and mercy. They demonstrate how we all fall short of God and cannot rescue ourselves. They point us to our need for salvation in Christ - and in Him alone.
Once we know we have God's saving grace, forgiveness, and a relationship with Him because of Jesus, we can freely live by the ten commandments. As followers of Christ, when we serve God, live by His Word, and obey His commands, we experience satisfaction and joy in our lives. Following His instruction for our lives causes us to live in harmony with our Creator and how He designed us to live.
The first imperative for our lives from this famous top ten list says that we are to have no other gods in our lives other than the God of the Bible. “I am the LORD your God...
You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3). This first of the commandments must be followed for the rest to make sense.
If God is not first and foremost, and something else has a higher place in our hearts than He does, everything falls apart. Nothing in our lives should have a place of higher priority in our thoughts, our actions, or our emotions. When He is first, everything else fits together as we walk with Him. When God is not first, all of life feels frazzled and fragmented.
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything or any person that would have that place and priority of God in your life other than God Himself. Confess that false god. Give God the place of prominence once again!
Make sure God is your only god! Do not let anything, even a good thing, have a higher place in your life than He does!