The First Commandment: Only One God

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I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

God starts by first announcing who He is and what He did. This is the God that brought Israel out of Egypt. This is the God that freed the people from their slavemasters.

The God that we should worship is this kind of a God—a God that frees us from whatever bondage we may find ourselves in. Our God is a God of Freedom.

Our God is also a God of Mercy. What did the people of Israel do to deserve divine intervention, other than being the children of some really great people? Nothing. Our God also looks down from heaven, sees us in our pitiful state, and intervenes for our benefit.

This is the kind of God we need to put first in our lives.

What other kinds of gods may we be tempted to put first?

Obviously, there are other religions out there, and there are many gods. This is the obvious answer that all will quickly latch on to. It shows that there is competition for worship, and the God of Israel is asserting He is the only one worth worshiping. Can any religion really be different?

Yes. In fact, throughout history, most religions are very adaptive to the religious beliefs of the people. For instance, the Roman gods were really their own gods plus a pantheon of gods from other religions. In a way, the Roman religion was constantly being revised and updated to meet the latest fads and norms of society. Their gods were no gods at all, but merely a reflection of the times and seasons and passions of the people.

A true God isn’t subject to the whims or passions or times and seasons of the people. The kind of God we should worship shouldn’t be the kind of god that is popular or fun or faddish.

If you are an Atheist or humanist, you might well consider all of this rubbish. But look at it in a different perspective. The kinds of things you hold important, things like Truth, Justice, Mercy, Intelligence, and Wisdom, are not things that can be defined or modified by the passions of the people. This is the kind of God we need to worship, not the kind of god that is defined by the people.

But what other message might there be here? The other message is that we shouldn’t allow anything to stand between us and our true God. Put that God first in our lives, and base everything around that. If your God is Truth, then make Truth the center of your life. If your God is Knowledge, then center your life on that. Rather, let all the noble attributes be the center of your life.

What would our society look like if Truth, Wisdom, Love, Virtue, and so on were all the centers of our individual lives? I imagine it would be very, very different than what it is today.

The following commandments are really explanations of what it means to worship the only true God. Once you are agreed that there is only one thing worthy of your worship, then you need to know how best to worship such a being.

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