Summary: A sermon on the Ten Commandments
Old Abbott and Costello skit. It doesn’t matter too much who is in what position in our lives until we settle the matter of who is on first. In other words, we need to know who is in first place in our lives. This issue must be settled! If anyone, or anything, occupies first place in our lives ahead of God, than our lives are out of control and out of balance.
“And God spoke all these words: 2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 "You shall have no other gods before [a] me.” Exodus 20:1-3
In the book The Ten Offences, the author writes, “To see what other gods have done to people, it is only necessary to visit Calcutta, a city in India dedicated to Cali, the goddess of death. It was in Calcutta that Mother Teresa ministered to some of the most wretchedly poor people on the planet. This is a city where years ago the “dead truck” picked up corpses of those who died each day from disease or starvation.
Or visit Haiti, a nation whose people prayed to Satan some 200 years ago that if he delivered them from the control of the French they would worship him. Black magic, oppression, grinding poverty and ceaseless killing have been the lot of the Haitians as their reward from their “other god.”
In fact, study the island that makes up Haiti, and you will find that it is divided in half. One half is Haiti, which is one of the most impoverished countries of the Western Hemisphere. The other half belongs to the Dominican Republic, a prosperous and fertile land where the people worship Jehovah God. It would be hard to find a more vivid contrast.
1. Only God could make this requirement!
God’s requirement is very simple. He demands to be in first place in every area of our lives. He knows that all men must have a God of some sort, and He demands that it be Himself.
We must come to understand who is making this requirement. Most of our Bible translations today have hidden the real name of God out of Jewish tradition. To protect His name from abuse Jewish rabbis used to substitute the name Adonai or Lord for each time the name of God appeared in the bible. The word Lord loses a lot of meaning because nearly every religion has some kind of Lord. It has become a generic term and fits in with the religious pluralism that dominates the post modern world that we live in.
In this passage of scripture, God says, “I am Yahweh, who led you out from slavery in Egypt. You are to place no other gods before me.”
The use of specific name clearly indicates that there is only one, true God. Knowing and believing this keeps us from the frustrating pursuit of an elusive and unknowable being who so many religions pursue and never catch.
The bible tells us exactly who God is and how we can connect with Him. Yahweh is not a vague, “higher power,” who cannot be known and embraced.
This is a very critical teaching this morning and I hope you are getting it. God has many names that describe His breadth and character.
While I am not going to digress into a study today on the names of God let me just list a few of the translations that show up in the Hebrew language: