Wednesday, July 4, 2012

No Other Gods

Exodus 20:2-3 “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.”

Literally translated, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” means “Don’t have any other gods in My face.” God is very jealous for you - for your time, for your energy, for your devotion. In fact, two verses further into this chapter, God reveals His name as El Qanna - the Jealous God. He has the audacity to tell you, “It’s all of you or nothing!” How could He do that?

Look at verse two again: “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.The Israelites exodus from Egypt is a picture of our salvation. God is saying to us, “I saved you. I brought you out of your slavery to sin and gave you a new life. Now I demand your entire devotion.” God will not share you with anything!

Honestly, this exclusive devotion to God should be a natural thing for believers. After all, what else could we do? Paul said it best in Romans 12:2 (ERV): “So I beg you, brothers and sisters, because of the great mercy God has shown us, offer your lives as a living sacrifice to him—an offering that is only for God and pleasing to him. Considering what he has done, it is only right that you should worship him in this way.” Exclusive service to the God who saved us is the natural response for a believer.

God is commanding us to focus on Him. We should never give anything or anyone else the highest priority - either in our decisions or in our devotion. This begs the question: Is this the case for the average American believer?

Think about this:
According to a church poll by David Eikenberry, 59% of professing Christians read the Bible “occasionally.” Only 16% of American Christians could say that they read their Bible daily! Despite everything that God has done for us, despite the Bible being the best-seller year after year, despite our claim to be devoted to our Savior - only 16 out of 100 Christians spend time in God’s Word each day! The funny thing is, the most common excuse for not reading the Bible is “I don’t have enough time!”

This is funny because of the fact that the average American spends 26 hours a week watching TV - nearly a decade of their lives! No time? How many believers ever realize that they put a higher level of devotion on an electronic box than on the God who saved them? Cheap entertainment and useless hobbies should never displace God’s position in our lives!

But entertainment and recreation isn’t the only thing that fights for God’s place in life. All too often our care and concern for our loved ones overwhelms our dedication to God.
“I can’t go to church on Sundays - that’s my family time!”
“I know God’s asking me to give that money to Him, but I was planning to take my family to dinner with it.”
“I’m not going to talk about Jesus at my parents’ house - it might cause problems.”
Statements like these show where our true devotion lies. God absolutely does want us to love our family and friends - but never at the expense of our love (and obedience) to Him! When we put more focus on our loved ones that we do on our Lord - they become our gods!

God doesn’t just hate it when things consume our devotion, He also hates it when anything other than Him guides our decisions. He demands the final say in everything that we do! No believer should make decisions based solely on money, fear, pressure, or self-interest. Every decision in life must be guided by God’s Word!

And I do mean every decision:
Where you live
How much you give
How you treat your family
How often you go to church
What you do for fun
Every choice you face in life should be decided by God’s Word. This is where your devotion for Him pays off! The more time you spend devoted to God’s Word, the easier it will be to know what decisions He wants you to make.

So the choice is yours. Are you going to follow the same half-hearted path that most of American Christianity is on? Are you going to keep calling Jesus “Lord” and still reserve the rights to your own life? Are you going to keep your other gods standing in the face of Yahweh? Or are you - once and for all - going to sell out to the God who saved you?

Joshua 24:15 “But maybe you don’t want to serve YAHWEH. You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve YAHWEH.”

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