Summary: A look at the first commandment and why God alone deserves our wholehearted devotion and no other. It is because He is the Lord, OUR God, who has set us free.
One of my favorite theologians, Theodor Seuss Geisel, known for his works such as Horton Hears a Who, Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat, once wrote a story about a character named Zoad. It goes like this…
Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad,
Who came to a sign at the fork of the road?
He looked one way and the other way too.
The Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.
Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants.
And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance
If I go to Place One, that place may be hot,
So how will I know if I like it or not.
On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool
If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool.
In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue,
So Place One may be best and not Place Two.
Play safe,” cried the Zoad, “I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce.
I’ll simply start off to both places at once.”
And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance
Went no place at all with a split in his pants.
That describes a lot of people in their relationship with God.
They’re not really sure that walking His way is the best, so they try to walk down two roads at once. Sure, they’re willing to give God a try, but just in case He doesn’t work out, they want to have something else to fall back on.
Like the old Norwegian Christians, they put their pagan gods on the outside of their stavkirks, just in case the Christian God they worshipped on the inside didn’t work out. Today, some try to center their lives on God AND making money. Some try to center their lives on God AND their family. Some try to center their lives on God AND the approval of men. But in the end, it gets them nowhere with a big split in their pants.
We must make a choice, my friends. Joshua challenged the people of his day, “Choose you this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Elijah questioned the people of his day, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God follow him” (1 Kings 18:21). & Jesus made it very clear: “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24).
We must choose which God we will serve, because the true God will have no rivals to the throne of our hearts.
But somebody asks, “Why should I choose to serve God? Why should I choose to center my life solely on the LORD? Why should I worship only Him?”
Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Exodus 20, Exodus 20, where God gives us three good reasons why we should choose to live for Him and only Him. Exodus 20, starting at vs.1 (read to vs.3)
Literally, “You shall have no other gods in my face.” It is an affront to God, to try to serve Him and something else at the same time. It is He, and He alone, that we should serve, and that’s because 1st of all…
HE IS THE LORD. HE IS YHWH, THE GREAT “I AM,” the Self-Existent One. HE HIMSELF IS LIFE, dependent on no one or nothing else. HE IS THE FOUNTAIN OF ALL BEING AND ALL POWER.
In Exodus 3, that’s how God identified Himself to Moses. Just a few months earlier, Moses wasn’t so sure about leading God’s people out of Egypt. He was afraid they wouldn’t listen to him, so God says to Moses, “Just tell them my name: I AM WHO I AM. Tell them I AM has sent me to you. Tell them the LORD, YHWH, the God of your fathers has sent me to you.”
In God’s mind, that was reason enough for His people to listen to Him, for how can anyone refuse the author of their very existence, the ground of their very being, & the source of their very life.
Seatbelts can be a hassle, but most of us buckle up because it’s the law and we know that we are safer with them on. Even so, there are some who refuse to put on their seat belts no matter what.
According to the Associated Press, a New Zealander named Ivan Segedin took his refusal to an extreme. The police ticketed him 32 times over five years for failing to use his seat belt. Even though this was costing him big money, Segedin refused to buckle up. Finally, instead of obeying the law, the man decided to rely on deception. He made a fake seat belt that would hang over his shoulder and make it appear that he was wearing a seat belt when he was not.