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Jun 11, 2017

First Commandment: No Other Gods

First Commandment: No Other Gods

Passage: Exodus 20:1-17

Speaker: Pastor Chris Riedel

Series: Love God/Love Neighbor: The Ten Commandments

Category: Faith, Hope

Keywords: ten commandments, first commandment

You shall have no other Gods before me. Who you worship, you become.


And God spake all these words, saying,
I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
— Exodus 20:1-3 (KJV)

I admit that the first thing that pops into my head when I hear the phrase “The Ten Commandments” (well, after thinking about the Charlton Heston movie) is “Thou Shalt Not.” So I often think of the commandments as “The Ten Prohibitions.”

But I hear this first commandment as an invitation rather than as a prohibition. Maybe that’s because it is phrased more positively elsewhere in the Scriptures. Deuteronomy 6:4-5 says, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” And this is THE first part of Jesus’ response when he is asked about the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-40).

As an invitation, “thou shalt have no other gods before me” calls me to love God, above everything else. The subsequent commandments tell me what that relationship looks like. That invitation to relationship is a great challenge, as well as a reassurance that God loved us first and called us to Him.


Heavenly, gracious Father. We thank you for your great love, for calling us to love you. We know that we fall short, failing to put You first, and pray for Your Spirit to strengthen us in our walk with You, and thank you for the mercy shown to us in Your Son Jesus Christ, in whose name we offer this prayer. Amen.

Written by Jon McHenry. Jon leads our devotional team, is a council member, worship speaker and part of the men’s ministry at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father.