Lay Down the Law 1: No Other gods.

Duh.

If you believe in God at all you are most likely to believe that there is only one of ’em.  


Even those old toga touting guys like Plato and Aristotle figured the multitude of gods who acted like immature humans were probably just myth.  There could only be one “unmoved mover.”  Everything is created except for the One who made it all… and what do you call that volitional essence that exists on his own authority… what kind of perfect power is that!?  
 

 
 
We call Him God.

It is old news.

But not to the Hebrews when they trembled at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  

When YHWH fell on the mountain in fire and left it in a cloudy haze… when He answered Moses in thunder and lightning, and the trumpets of heaven grew louder, and louder, and louder… and louder…
As the child peaked around his mother’s leg… terrified… but too scared to not look…
A nation held its breath.

And God said.

“I’m it.”
it was staggering.

There will be no more offerings to the river gods, the rain gods, the fertility gods, or the unknown god.

“I am your only God.  I am THE only God.”

It changed everything.

 
For Israel to move forward with this belief, they had to conform their minds to a totally different reality than they had ever known… and a totally different reality than the world around them believed in.
but we say, “duh“.  

We’ve got this commandment down.
right?

Joy Davidman says we need to hear the commandment like this:

“Have only Me.”

We may not sit up at night convincing ourselves to not run to the Baal temple in the morning, but it is likely that most of us live lives of divided focus.

We say that we believe in God, but besides attending church and an occasional “quiet time” with God, our lives look no different than the lives of the atheist.  It doesn’t matter if the atheist is moral or not… he does not see life through the lens that an all powerful God loves him and has ultimate authority over his life.  That is the lens we see through all too often.  

We may pray and ask God to bless our lives… but we still believe the life is ours… We don’t hear scripture when it tells us, “You have been bought with a price, you are not your own.”

So what are the gods of our age that divide our focus on Him?  Here are a few that I chose to discuss with haVen:

god 1: Cupid

In spite of this picture.. Cupid is alive and well… and in control of many lives in America.

Cupid whispers in the ears of hormonal adolescence… he taunts the lonely adult… he destroys the widow and widower.  

Cupid: “You are incomplete without that special someone.” 

He is very convincing.  He has the double power of hormones and hollywood on his side.  With every veggie-vampire movie and romantic comedy his wings’ reach expands and the aim of his bow sharpens.

Cupid: “You will be unhappy in life unless you find him/her.”  ”There is a mystery in life that you will miss out on unless you have sex.”  ”You can find intimacy in lust.”

I wouldn’t mind it if Cupid would be found on the street, shot in the back with his own bow.

Joy Davidman: “No pleasure vanishes so soon and leaves so much weariness and heartbreak behind [than Cupid’s].  Sexuality can become a lasting joy only by becoming a sacrament in intention, a means to the service of God – a form through which men and women can feel for each other some slight prefiguring of the divine love.” (Smoke on the Mountain, Westminster Press: 1954.)

God may have someone special for you… but you cannot pursue that person apart from your pursuit of God.
Otherwise you are breaking the first commandment.
God comes first.
“have only me.”



                god 2: iFashion

There he stands in all his glory.  The strength and persuasion of American consumerism is his.  

Richard Foster: “The mass media has convinced us that to be out of step with fashion… [technologically out of fashion, outdated clothing, or listening to the wrong music, etc.]… is to be out of touch with reality.”

iFashion: “This new gadget will make you happy.”  ”Get into this TV show if you want to be ‘in’.”  ”These are the right books to read.”  ”Look at her clothes!”

iFashion persuades us that happiness is found at the end of a check-out line… or inside a circle of “friends” looking out at the out-dated mob who just doesn’t “get it.”

In the end, iFashion leads to the worship of stuff and self.

Richard: “It is time we awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” 

Even though some of iFashion’s followers claim to worship the God who left His throne to be clothed in flesh and crucified…

Their “modern hero is the poor boy who becomes rich instead of the rich boy who voluntarily becomes poor.” -Joy

Jesus tells us to seek first His Kingdom.
(Matthew 6:25-33)
God may want you to use stuff to further His Kingdom.
But you cannot pursue fashion for fashion’s sake.
Otherwise you are breaking the first commandment.
God comes first.


god 3: Progresseos

Science will find a way!
If evolution doesn’t get us there first!

Progresseos: “We no longer need God. He was useful to fill in the blanks of our ignorance when we were ancient and uncivilized, but now we can turn to the scientific method to measure and discover all things.  Utopia is on the way.  And human technological advancement along with unconscious evolution will take us there!”

And yet the better our technology gets, the more evident the sickness in the human heart.

We have invented incredible new ways to kill each other.  To rob from each other (Identity theft anyone?).  Lust is digital.

If we put our faith in Progresseos, we will find ourselves progressing along a cycle of human nature… always doomed to repeat history with fancy new gadgets and a head full of knowledge.

Scientific advancement is a gift from God.  If we pursue it as a praise to the creator, we will find joy.  If we pursue it as a replacement, we will be in breech of the first commandment.
God comes first.

 
god 4: Wirks  
 

Wirk’s mantra is, “God and… “

The “and” is almost always something that sounds good.
“God and Missions.”
“God and feeding the hungry.”  ”God and church.”
“God and pacifism.”  “God and country.”

Wirks’ followers forget that the first commandment says, “Have no other gods in my face… in my presence… nothing but me.”

Wirks convinces us to marry our faith in God to some other idea… some other spirit… and we burn the candle at both ends.

“God and Country”… to defame the country is to defame God… and so Nazi Germany begins cleansing humanity.

“God and pacifism”… and so we demand submission to Stalin and Hitler and close our eyes to the blood stains on our peace.

“God and insert your cause here“… You are not called to champion a cause, unless your pursuit of that cause falls under you passionate pursuit of God.  

The cause is a tool to honor God… not God Himself.  And you must be sure that God has called you to that cause… or it is not His cause… and you are in breech of the first commandment…
God comes first.
———————————-
We may not find ourselves at the foot of a smokey, trumpeting mountain on shaky ground, but the blare of the first commandment is still deafening and terrifying.

It is not given to subtract something from life… we need not hear “Don’t have those other gods…” but in our world today we must hear God’s words, “Have me.  Have only me.” 
Only He is worth the having.

Joy: “Hold to this, and the beast in the heart has no power.  The present loses its confusions, the future its terrors, and death itself is but the opening of a door:”
“Thou shalt have no other gods but me.”
“That is the law of life and happiness and courage.  Courage himself, God the Lion, stands beside us to help us live by it.  Whatever we desire, whatever we love, whatever we find worth suffering for, will be Dead Sea fruit in our mouths unless we remember that God comes first.”
 

 

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I've been on staff at FBE since 2012. Where I first was hired as a creative coordinator, I am now the Pastoral Assistant. I married my beautiful best friend, Ashley Garcia on December 19, 2015. Knowing God is a constant and endless pursue, third wave coffee is a must, punk rock and hardcore keep my spirits high.

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