20 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. Exodus 20:1-7
37 And He [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. Matthew 22:37-38
The Lord begins the Ten Commandments by reminding the people that He is God and that He has the authority to give these commandments. In fact, He repeats “the Lord your God” five times (vs. 3, 5, 7, 10, 12). These commandments were to help the Israelites know and understand how they were to love God with ALL…just some thoughts:
- There are to be no other “g”ods…that would be no one or nothing loved, treasured or valued greater that the Lord whether it was a hand-carved idol or the image of creation or something on earth. No false gods, period. There is an entire listing that is appropriate for today…possessions, money, intellect, self, status, etc. the list of what is treasured more than the One True and Living God is far greater than I could list here.
- The Israelites were not to bow down to them or serve them, nor are we. In 1 John 5:21, the Lord speaks, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” I believe this important to understand in this day and time when the enemy has sown the lie that we can love and worship Jesus and an idol. The enemy really doesn’t care which idol we choose as long as it is one that keeps us from loving the Lord with ALL. The Lord speaks to say, No other gods for I Am the Lord your God and I am jealous for you (Exodus 34:14). Please note, not “of you” but “for you.” I love you so much that I will not share you with an idol who cannot be compared to Me and can do nothing for you. God is our Creator, Deliverer, Rescuer, Redeemer and Savior! Surely, He deserves an exclusive relationship!
- In verse 5b, the Lord is not saying that the children will punished for their parents sins (Ezekiel 18:4) but that the sins of the parents will impact the lives of their children. This will cause the children to sin and be punished. On the other hand, the right relationship with God, serving no other god, loving God with ALL will lead the children into blessings (John 14:23; John 3:36; 1 Timothy 4:8). Choices have consequences…we should make choices with the view of blessing our children instead of passing on the spirit of disobedience and rebellion.
- The Lord is Great and greatly to be praised (Psalm 145:3). God is Great and greatly to be honored. We are to honor the Name of the Lord in all we say and do. The Name of the Lord encompasses His total being, His character and nature. The Israelites were to bring honor to His Name rather than throwing His Name around loosely in any kind of way: cursing, swearing, absent-minded invoking of this Name, promises made in His Name and then not kept. Jesus taught the disciples to begin prayer by hallowing the Name of the Lord (Matthew 6:9). Philippians tells us the honor that is due: Philippians 2:9-11, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”