You shall have no other gods before Me.”
This is a terse word. And there is no question about its meaning. It was spoken by God to His people Israel there at the foot of Mount Sinai. And, may I add, that this word has never been revised. It still stands! He is still there. He has not changed.
Now this should be no new thought to those born and reared in western culture. Here in America we have written on our money, “In God We Trust”. President Eisenhower saw to it that the words “under God” were inserted in our Pledge of Allegiance in the 1950’s. And recognitions of the God of the Bible and His Word are scattered all through the monuments and buildings of our national capital. But while the Congress prays at the beginning of every session, our schools find themselves with their doors locked against any entrance of the God of the Bible. And with this omission, not only the USA, but much of western culture seeks to take on an atheistic profile. If you don’t believe that, listen to the main stream media.
This morning as I ate breakfast, I listened to the news over public radio. A governor was being interviewed by a newscaster about the recent murders in a Florida school. He kept pressing the governor about guns and their availability. The governor kept responding by implying that guns were not the problem- we needed to get back to the causes, he argued. The secular reporter kept pressing, but the governor held his ground. I thought: there is a very good example of the conflict in today’s culture. The problem is not just attrition. Sparked by the aggressive Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s success in banning reading the Bible in our public schools, there are other organizations, and particularly wealthy men, pitted against any reference to God in our national profile. I pray for their collapse name by name.
One might ask the question, “Why is there such resistance to recognizing God and His blessings?” The answer, of course, is obvious to those who know their Bible. Man (male and female) is a sinner; and as such, he does not want to have anything to do with His Creator, the living God. The classic reference to this truth is Romans 1. (If you’re not aware of this scripture, find it in Romans 1:15-32.) So, the fact of the matter is that mankind is by nature at war with this true God. And that explains why so many resist the doctrine of creation. Creation, by its very nature, insists on there being a self-existent Creator. And, of course, that is the way the Bible begins. It also means that Man, male and female, is accountable. And hence the mental flight to atheism: no God… no accountability.
While it is true that none of us by nature is free from this rebellion, it is also true, as the Exodus text brings out, that it was and is the will of God to save a people for His Name.
The preamble we considered last time makes it clear that it was God’s loving grace to lead Jacob’s descendants out of captivity in Egypt – a figure of man’s bondage to sin and deliverance – and to set them apart as His people.
It was Blaise Pascal who is quoted to have said that there is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person that cannot be satisfied by anything created, but only by the Creator Himself as made known in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. Pascal was, of course, a recognized, renowned scientist who believed in God. He did not let science become his god. And so, since God IS, there is nothing that can really be understood apart from Him. And by the way, and not so by-the-way, the truth of God’s reality underlies a true education, science included.
It is really amazing how such a word, “You shall have no other gods before Me,” can have so many implications! And it is equally amazing how believing this word affects one’s life! To unbelievers, it is a terrible impediment to their ‘free’ lifestyle. To a true believer, it is a marvelous open door to enjoying one’s Creator and Savior! The followers of Jesus fell into these two categories: the unbelievers who wanted to kill Him – and did –, and the true believers who wanted to be with Him – and always will be. Be sure which party you’re in!
I heard an ad on the radio here in Pittsburgh years ago. There was a big crowd and then an emcee says. “We’re playing a game. I will say a word, and you shout out the first word that comes to mind. Here we go. “Car” – shouts of various names erupted. “City” – again names were shouted. Finally he said, “God” – an abrupt silence followed.
Ken G Smith