Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”  Matt 22: 37-38

In the New Testament, Jesus “commanded” His disciples to leave their past practices and to follow Him.  Inherent in that loving direction would be the model behavior of the One who would perfectly execute the Ten Commandments.  It’s in light of their practical application in our own lives and the empowering grace of God’s love shed abroad in our heart that we take time to look back at the original Ten Commandments to see more clearly why they exist.

First of all, when the God of Creation commands, He is not suggesting, informing, or providing a temporary fix. His commandments are authoritative, balanced, instructive, and always absolute—never to be obsolete. Secondly, no other god or deity has ever supplied a visible blueprint for moral living as did the God of the Bible. In the Garden of Eden, God not only created and made Adam and Eve, He also foreknew what we needed as a righteous operating system to truly live as His crown of creation!  We were all created in God’s image and His likeness. Thirdly, when our original physical parents sinned, the righteous operation system of being led by God’s Spirit was corrupted by the ways of Satan. The hopeful part is that God, the ultimate problem solver or healer, has an amazing and perfect plan to rescue us from unrighteousness and restore us back to Him.

The first Commandment is: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”  It is referenced in Exodus chapter 20 and verse 3. That was written by the finger of God in stone as His first and foremost admonition.  Making it a point to memorize and meditate on this 1st commandment is paramount because our true life literally depends on it. It affects who we choose to follow which affects our ultimate destination.

God shares in verses 1 & 2 of Exodus 20 that it was He alone who saved and delivered His people from the bonds of Egyptian rule (world system of the time).  The God of eternal love responded to their desperation, saved them, and delivered them from their tragic and hopeless situation. He merely points out that it is He alone who deserves their adoration, appreciation, and worship.

Our personal challenge with this commandment is not to be side tracked by the glamorous movie the Ten Commandments or artists’ renditions of the fury of Moses smashing them but to “see” what was actually written as the first order of God’s business on those Tablets most of us recognize as the Ten Commandments.

May we each have a teachable spirit and may it be triggered, clarified, edified, and amplified by this very personal question:  Is the God of Creation really my personal God or Commander, defined by a heart that seeks to honor His Commandments, and the One who deserves and openly receives my trust, thanksgiving, praise, worship and passion to follow?

Family and friends, by God’s grace and our willingness, we are capable of knowing, understanding, and operating in these lasting and fulfilling principles. God said, “If we are willing and obedient, we will eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19).  Let’s take back the land we have lost in our personal disobedience and purpose to do what God wills for our lives.  Let’s start today getting to not only know, but to follow the Commander — One  commandment at a time, the first being… “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Deut 6: 17&18