Sunday, February 22, 2009

The First Commandment

I am taking my verses from the New King James Version of the Bible. I like the "old" King James, it is what I am more comfortable with. But the language is very archaic to say the least. I always compare verses in several translations. If you want to do this, you can go to Bible gateway's website and compare several translations of the same verse.

The first 5 commandments address our relationship with God and the last 5 our relationship with each other. This is important because, if our relationship with God is wrong, then our relationships with each other will be wrong also.

The first commandment says,"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Ex. 20:2-6)

According to Jewish teaching, the above verses are the 1st and 2nd commandments. Our tradition teaches that this is the 1st commandment. Jewish teaching states that the words " I am God" are a commandment. Since the verse goes on to explain that God brought them out of bondage in Egypt, this is verifying the existence of God. They are taught that God "brought them forth" because of His concern for them and to fulfill the promises made to their forefathers.

But for us, the commandment we know is the part about the graven images. When we think of idols, we think of statues, altars, sacrifices to what we consider false gods. But that is not the only type of false god that we can worship. A false god is anything that comes before or in place of God.

For me, it has been my children, education, money, my house, my job, etc. The key word here is MY. It has been all about me and what I desire and what I want and my priorities. God is very specific. Nothing can come before Him. When our lives are stressed to max, it is hard to remember this. I have to stop and ask myself, "Am I putting this before my relationship with God?" If the answer is yes, I have to get myself straight and back on the right path.

So your homework for today is: Look at your life. What are you putting before God? How is that affecting your decisions and the outcome of those decisions?

I hope that all of you learned a little something new or at least were reminded of the meaning of the 1st commandment.

A special thanks to John for helping decide on a new topic!


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