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You could call the Ten Commandments the “Ten Don’ts,” I suppose, but I would rather view them as the “Ten Do’s.” I want my life to reflect that I value, with intention, the way of life that God has said will be for my good.  So, I want these ten principles to be mainstays on my “to-do” list. 

Each one of these ten commandments involves a person’s heart, first. When we violate any of them, it is a sign that our hearts are in trouble.  When we have problems on the heart-level, and those issues go unaddressed, we forfeit blessing after blessing that God wants to give to us.

Church, our actions, not our words, tell the truth about what is in our hearts.

Because God knows we have a propensity to make promises and then to wander off, to get off track, to be pulled in the wrong direction, He began the Ten Commandments in a specific way.  Look at Exodus 20:1-3 with me.

And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before[a]  (or besides) me.

“And God spoke all these words.”  Who spoke all of the words?  God.  Does it say that God spoke some of the words?  Most of the words?  It says God spoke them all.  So, where do the Ten Commandments come from?  They come from God. The Ten Commandments aren’t the fodder of some self-help book.  They aren’t called, “Ten Suggestions for a Better Life.”  They aren’t recommendations.  They are commandments, spoken by God, and they have the weight of His wisdom and sovereign authority behind them. 

The Ten Commandments, spoken by God have lasting moral authority.  You won’t find a better set of principles upon which to build a life.  They cannot be improved upon.  No one can come up with a new list that can supersede the list God has handed down.  They aren’t outdated, so they never need to be updated.  Every word God speaks is unchanging.  He never has to recant or take something back.  He speaks it because it is true, and it is eternal and forever fixed.  Psalm 119:89 says, Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. God isn’t going to back up from His Word.  He won’t be talked into something less than what He has declared. 

Not only does God’s moral authority trump any earthly idea, but God’s intentions trump any human intention.  God only wants what is best for us.  He doesn’t put things on the list that are toxic.  He doesn’t command us to do things that will create trouble for us.  Not one of the ten will cause you tears or harm.  Not one of the ten will take life from you.  Not one of the ten will leave you questioning if God really loves you. Not one of the ten will give you a stomachache full of regret.  Not one of the ten will hold you back from anything that will add value to your life.  He only wants to give us good and perfect gifts, James 1:7.  The Ten Commandments are perfect.  They are a gift, given by a good God, for our good. 

It wasn’t a random person who gave us some random rules.  It was the Almighty, Perfect, Creator God.  That ought to give us pause.  That ought to stop us in our tracks.  That ought to get our attention. 

Moses wanted the people to know that he wasn’t coming up with this list on his own.  God, alone, had decided what made the list.  And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before[a]  (or besides) me.

God is not only to be our number one, but He is to be our only one when it comes to who or what we worship. Nothing else and no one else is worthy of our worship.

God had to address this right out of the shoot because the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt.  The Egyptians were polytheists.  They believed in and worshiped many gods.  The Israelites had seen the Egyptian worship practices. As God freed His people from slavery in Egypt through a series of 10 judgments on their false gods, He demonstrated His power over every god, thereby establishing Himself as the only One, True, and Living God.  Only God could free them from their bondage.  Only God can free us from the bondage of sin. 

That is why God begins the Ten Commandments this way:  And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before[a]  (or besides) me.

God had brought His people out!  It was no small thing.  There was a great demonstration of His power in the process.  Not only were there ten plagues, serving as ten judgments against Egypt, but the parting of the Red Sea was no small feat!  In the giving of this first command, God was reminding them of their recent history and just who it was who had the power to liberate them.  He was reminding them that the place of slavery, the place of bondage, was the land of the false gods.  If you want to be rescued, if you want to know freedom, if you want to enjoy life, then be freed by, walk with and serve the one, true living God.  Only He can bring you out of what binds you!

Have no other gods besides Him because He alone can save!  Anything you look to for satisfaction, fulfillment, or validation has the power to enslave you!

Whatever you say “yes” to on a repeated basis has the potential to become the priority of your heart.  If your “yes” isn’t firmly reserved for God when He calls, you may be in danger of breaking this first commandment. 

Here is what I believe:  If you get this commandment right, the first of the ten, the rest will fall into place.  If God is on the throne of your heart, you won’t be jealous of others, wanting what they have because you will be content with what God has provided for you.  If God is on the throne of your heart, you won’t lie about other people because you will love and value them the way God does. This first commandment in the Old Testament is really saying the same thing as our key verse for the year.  It is Matthew 6:33. It basically says that if we seek first God’s Kingdom, God’s will, God’s way, if He is in His rightful place in our lives, everything else will take care of itself.

And God spoke all these words: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before[a]  (or besides) me.

If we were to translate the Hebrew word for word here, it would read:  Not shall there be for you gods before my face. There shall be no gods, no pursuits, no relationships that have the elevated status whereby you worship them.  “Get them out of my face,” God says.  “Remove them from the equation because they will mess with the relationship you and I have and can continue to cultivate.”

We cannot go where God wants to take us, and we cannot enjoy God the way He wants us to know Him if He is competing for our affection.  The God who has rescued us from sin and bondage has proven His affection for us.  Why would we give other pursuits the priority of our time and affection?

Judges 13:1-5-Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of
Hebrews 11:31-By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. Rahab
Hebrews 11:30-“By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.” The Battle