No Other Gods

I. The LORD provides a strong preface to these Ten Commandments.

A. “I am the LORD thy God…”

B. The phrase is used 7 times in the Old Testament

1. Exodus 20:2 – “brought thee out of the house of bondage.”

2. Deuteronomy 5:6 – “brought thee out of the land of Egypt”

3. Psalm 81:10 – “open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

4. Isaiah 43:3 – “I gave Egypt for thy ransom”

5. Isaiah 48:17 – “teacheth thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go.”

6. Isaiah 51:15 – “that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name.”

7. Hosea 13:4 – “there is no saviour beside me”

II. This First Command is an awesome construction of emphatic language.

A. The individual words are vital.

1. "Thou shalt have no ..." is rendered from the Hebrew word LO which is an emphatic negative: "never," "neither'' "not," etc.

2. "Other," translates the Hebrew word ACHER, which is derived from another word meaning "behind," or "less."  This word is translated "'following" or "next" or "(an)other" or "strange'' -- in the sense of being less than the previous object.

3. "Gods," translates the Hebrew word ELOHIM, "powerful ones."

4. "Before," translates the Hebrew words 'AL PANIYM, and literally means "against (in the sense of ‘on top of’) the faces."

B.  The best translation would be: "Never place a less powerful being on top of my face."

1. The obvious demand is that God is to be held in first place; first priority; first esteem.

2. The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) uses significant word choices that would translate: "You shall not be (existing) with any other (kind of) gods besides me."

III. This First Command is amplified in many other passages.

A. Some passages provide parallel information.

1. We are not to worship (prostrate, bow down) any other god (Exodus 34:14).

2. We are not to mention (call to memory) the name of other gods (Exodus 23:13).

3. We are not to go after (walk behind) other gods (Deuteronomy 6:14).

4. We are not to forget (mislay, be oblivious of) YAHWEH, and therefore, in so doing, serve other gods (Deuteronomy 8:18-19).

5. We are not to allow our heart to be deceived (become broad, liberal, open minded) and worship other gods (Deuteronomy 11:16).

6. We are not to go aside (turn off, withdraw) from the words of God, and therefore serve other gods (Deuteronomy 28:14).

B. Some passages provide vivid illustrations.

1. Blessing and cursing are set in juxtaposition (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

2. Israel tried to serve many gods (2 Kings 17:24-41).

3. God uses a filthy girdle to illustrate (Jeremiah 13:1-10).

C. Some passages provide explanations and reasons.

1. YAHWEH hates the worship of other gods (Jeremiah 44:4).

2. YAHWEH is the true god. All others are imposters (Jeremiah 10:10-15).

a. He is unique and majestic (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 86:8-10).
b. He is the only Creator (Isaiah 45:5-12).
c. He is the great King (Psalm 95:1-7).

D. Some passages provide insight into the many ways in which we are to keep the first commandment.

1. The feasts (celebrations, worship, liturgy) must be done with nothing "before" God (Exodus 23:14-19).

2. The offerings (symbols, prayers, gifts) must be "before the Lord" (Leviticus 10:15-19)

3. The Passover (Lord's Supper) must be eaten "before the Lord" (Deuteronomy 14:26)

4. The list of activities seems to be endless.  Note: The phrase "before the Lord" is the Hebrew equivalent of "to the face of the Lord."

a. Rejoicing at special times (Deuteronomy 16:11).
b. Ministering in the Lords service  (Deuteronomy 18:7; 1 Samuel 2:18).
c. Judging the affairs of controversy (Deuteronomy 19:17).
d. Tithing the increase (Deuteronomy 26:2-5, 10, 13).
e. Praying for urgent needs (I Samuel 1:12-15; Nehemiah 1:4-6).
f. Worshiping in an ordinary manner (I Samuel 1:19).
g. Walking in continuous righteousness (2 Chronicles 7:17; Psalm 56:13).
h. Humbling ourselves in repentance (2 Chronicles 33:12; 34:27).
i. Trusting and showing our heart attitudes (Psalm 62:8).
j. Singing in praise and thanksgiving (Psalm 95:1-2).
k. Fearing because of His holiness (Psalm 96:9).

III. This First Commandment is equated in the New Testament with the pre-eminent love that we must give to God.

A. That love must involve the total being.

1. It involves the heart, soul, and might (Luke 10:27).

2. It also involves the mind and understanding (Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:33).

3. It is commanded thirteen times (Deuteronomy 6:5; 10:12; 11:1; 13:22; 19:9; 30:6; Joshua 23:11; Psalm 31:23; 37:41; Isaiah 56:6; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30,33; Luke 10:27).

B. That love must involve obedience to God (John 15:10).

1. It is a conscious obedience (John 14:21).

2. It is a love for the words of God (John 14:23).

3. It is a desire to do God's will. (Psalm 40:8).

4. It is a delight in obedience (1 John 5:3).

The Ten Commandments


Living in His Light and His Love

A Life of Loving God's Word in Psalm 119

The Power and Perseverance of Grace

A New You and a New Life

A series of lessons on chapters 1-11 of Genesis

The People and Power of Christ

A series of lessons on the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

A series on the book of Revelation

Loving God and Loving Others in Exodus 20

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