Daily Devotionals

Road trip: Week 3 - 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

There are some changes that are worth making. When you decide to get off the couch and start exercising, slowly you will begin to see that your health improves. When your marriage is at an impasse and, instead of butting heads, you make time to go to counseling, it can save your relationship. When you feel overwhelmed with your sin and the gravity of your faults and turn to Jesus for forgiveness, you will experience healing.

Moses was in a place where he needed to make changes in his life. He knew that he was overwhelmed with busyness, and, instead of turning away from the caring words of his father-in-law Jethro, he embraced the feedback. He made the change of putting God first above the needs of himself and the people. This was a game changer. God came down on Mt. Sinai and gave the Israelites the law through Moses. The 10 Commandments helped the Israelites in prioritizing their lives and behaviors. The 10 Commandments begin with God establishing His authority, reminding us that we should have no other gods before Him. This command is the most important one because God knew that the Israelites would be tempted to worship other gods. They were going into a land where the people worshipped many false gods, building places of idolatry everywhere. God knew that future generations who hadn't seen the Red Sea part, manna fall from heaven, or their enemies defeated, would be sucked into worshipping false gods. God was making sure that in all the options available to them, they would put Him first. Then He directed them not to set up any idols.

In that same way, this is an important place to start for us as followers of Jesus. God needs to be our first priority over everything else. We have to relentlessly clear our schedule to put our relationship with Him as our top priority. We often set up idols of sports, hobbies, games, entertainment, jobs or relationships, when God is asking for our exclusive focus and attention. We have to make sure that nothing gets in the way of our relationship with God.

Moving Toward Action

Think about some modern-day idols that people set up in our culture. Make a list of those things that people worship over the God of the Universe. When you look over that list, think through what ways you have fallen into the trap of giving time and attention to some of these things. If there is an idol that you are giving time and energy to, it is time to lay it down. Write out a prayer in your journal, asking for God to be your exclusive focus.

Going Deeper

Read 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.