I have been doing a lot of reading preparation for the sermon series on the Ten Commandments which begins this Sunday. The more I think and pray about it, the more obvious the need to hear these words again becomes. I am excited to begin this journey with you as we explore the Ten Commandments and see each one in its original context and meaning, and also through the person and teachings of Jesus.
This Sunday we will consider the first – and arguably the most important commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Indeed, some would say that much of the Bible is an exposition on this one idea.
In his book, Improving Your Serve, Charles Swindoll includes a fictional letter that I think is a good reminder of how silly it really is to have more than one god in our lives. It is a fictional letter written by a woman to a man who had proposed marriage. The letter begins:
Dear Floyd, I would love to marry you. It’s a dream come true. There are a few minor details, though. I have a couple of other boyfriends – well, ten to be exact. Most of them don’t mean much to me, but can I keep Fred and Dennis? I must be in love, because I’ve never before been willing to give up so many boyfriends! Mom says you’re a lucky man! There’s one other thing. I will accept your proposal on the condition that I can stay in Texas and live with my parents. I love them.
They have done so much for me that I couldn’t dream of leaving them. You wouldn’t want me to hurt their feelings, would you? However, you can visit whenever you want. I’m sure you’ll understand. I look forward to setting the wedding date! Yours in undying love and devotion, Dorothy
Now, most of us have a pretty good idea how we would react if someone greeted our proposal for marriage in such a way. We would say “forget it.” And yet, too many of us do the very same thing in our relationship with God – partially committing our life and our service, but not really wanting to go all the way. If you can imagine how a husband or a wife might feel about sharing their spouse with two or three other lovers – then you can begin to understand how God feels when we refuse to put Him first in our lives.
God calls us to make a decision. God has promised he will love and provide for us all the days of our lives. All God asks of us in return is that we covenant to love him and serve Him in whatever ways He calls us.
I once heard someone describe a covenant (like marriage or our relationship with God) as a promise we make in times of strength so that it can carry us through in times of weakness. The time has come for us to renew our covenant with God. May a part of that covenant include our worship together each Lord’s Day. I look forward to gathering with you once again in worship and praise of the One, True God.