“You shall have no other gods beforeme.
“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.”
–Exodus 20: 3, 4, 7 and 8
Why is it so hard to obey God and put him first? Let’s face it, when we really examine our lives, these four commandments are probably the hardest to obey most of the time. There could be an argument that God listed the Ten Commandments in order of importance. At the very least he put the ones that dealt solely with him at the beginning, likely a note that they were incredibly important. Notice, too, that he devotes 40 percent of the commandments to obeying him. These are the basis of the Laws of Moses and bedrocks of our faith. If we would all just obey these four to the letter, we probably wouldn’t even need the next six. It’s good “trickle-down-commandonomics.”
What if we really put no other gods before Jehovah? What if we put as much effort into serving God as we did in making money? What if we raised our hands and “amened” as much at church as we cheer at our favorite sporting game? What if we put as much money in the offering plate as we spend at the mall? Aren’t we glad that God serves us? Why can’t we think of him in every single thing we do and say! Think about this for a minute: The all-knowing, all-powerful speaker-into-existence God actually serves us! And for what reason? So we could put all of our ambitions above worshipping him? Aren’t we glad that God created us above all of his other creation? God shouldn’t have to command us to put nothing above him. With all he has done for us, that should be a no-brainer.
Now, of course, not many of us have made any graven images. Maybe we have one of those decorative Buddhas sitting around somewhere but hopefully we’re now bowing down to it. But, what do we place in front of God in our lives? Who’s really leading us? When the church asks for us to volunteer, what is our excuse to get out of the work? What do we put above any of God’s work? Since God’s will for our lives always centers around some kind of service, anything we put above God’s work is an idol. We have done too good of a job justifying our actions to ourselves. However, when we skip out of church to go to Wal-Mart or a ballgame, we have just created an idol.
We probably all do a pretty good job of not taking God’s name in vain, in literal terms. With all the text abbreviations like OMG, however, it’s hard to distinguish sometimes. Misrepresenting God, though, is using his name in vain. Anything we say that degrades God’s name is said in vain. If we go out into the world proclaiming to be Christians and then say something completely contrary to his teachings and his will, we have used God’s name in vain. It will probably go unnoticed and, because of that, people may not think anything less of us. I mean, it’s not like we’re throwing around GD but unless we are using God’s name to proclaim his love and salvation, we may be using his name in vain.
Then, there is the sabbath and keeping it holy. Seriously, don’t you think that if God needed a day to rest after creating the entire world, we should set aside a day to rest? And, while we rest, maybe we honor the One that created all that everything? Now, there are different ideas of rest and that’s for each person to decide. Maybe it’s a round of golf. Maybe it’s propping up your feet on the recliner watching football. Maybe it’s volunteering at a soup kitchen. As long as our “rest” is an act of worship to God, he will be happy, but be careful where we draw the line. It’s good to remember that Genesis 2:2-3 reads, “…so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” There is no mention of God doing anything on that seventh day but kicking up his feet and admiring the work he had done. Maybe we should us that as an example!