Daily Devotionals

Believe It Or Not Week 5: Thursday

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.” Exodus 20:2-3

The call for God’s people to live differently than the rest of the world is nothing new. We read in the Old Testament that God instructed His people to look distinctly different than the rest of the world. During the time of the Old Testament, many cultures and people worshiped many gods, and God made it clear that it was not to be this way with Israel. So one of the distinct ways that God called the people of Israel to live differently was to worship only Him. 

God’s call for His people to have no other gods in their lives goes back to Exodus 20 when He gave Moses the 10 Commandments for the Israelites to follow. The very first commandment given was “You shall have no other gods before me” (verses 2-3). We are to have no other gods in our lives. The truth is, when we worship anything else as if it is a god, that is idolatry. Idolatry often looks different today. Not many of us have physical statues like the Israelites that we worship, but our culture today certainly practices idolatry in different ways. When we give anything the time, attention, and affection that only God deserves, we are practicing idolatry. This can be any people or possessions that people value over God. As followers of Christ, we stand out when we refuse to give in to idolatry and give anything or anyone the place in our lives that only God deserves. We look different than the world.

God’s call in Exodus 20 to have no gods before Him is a call to us today. There is no place for idolatry in our lives. Let’s be people who stand out from the rest of the world and refuse to put anything in our lives in the place that only He deserves.

Moving Toward Action

Pause for a moment. Is there anything in your life that you have been putting above God in your life? If you need help, look back at how you spend your time and finances. These things will give you a good picture of what is at the center of your life and if any adjustments need to be made if God is not at the center. Then, as God makes any areas of adjustments that need to be made, be prepared to take steps to place Him back at the center.

Going Deeper

Exodus 20:1-21 (NLT)

Then God gave the people all these instructions:

“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

“You must not have any other god but me.

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You must not murder.

“You must not commit adultery.

“You must not steal.

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”

When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.

And they said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen. But don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die!”

“Don’t be afraid,” Moses answered them, “for God has come in this way to test you, and so that your fear of him will keep you from sinning!”

As the people stood in the distance, Moses approached the dark cloud where God was.