Is God 1st in Your Life?

Exodus 20:3-4

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth…            

What does it look like to have another god before God, to have an idol?

There are many examples from the OT but here are a few:

Micah commits idolatry with an ephod, household idols, a carved image and a molded image (Judges 18:21-25).

The tribe of Benjamin commits idolatry by their wickedness and sexual sins. They wanted to have their way with the man called a Levite. Instead they end up raping and murdering his concubine. (Read the story and the one before it in Judges 17-19).

Pharaoh has said, “My river is my own, I have made it for myself” (Ezekiel 29:1-21)

Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble (Jeremiah 11:12)

The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them! (Psalm 135:15-18)

All these have one thing in common: they put their own wants and fleshly desires before God’s will for their lives. They chose their own way. They satisfied the desires of their flesh. They did not turn back, turn away from, or repent and this brought the wrath of God to their front door.

O Father, I pray that I would not be filled with my own ways. Teach me your ways so I will obey because I do not want my flesh to be stronger than the Spirit You have put inside me. Let your Holy Spirit dwell so richly in me that my flesh won’t stand a chance! I beg You for forgiveness and for mercy. Many idolatrous sins have I committed against You. Forgive me, I am sorry.

  • Idolatry distorts the truth and it will take you away from God.
  • In the OT (Isaiah 44 we can read about the people cutting down trees or the craftsmen shaping idols from metal).
  • In the NT we see sins become the idols.

Gal. 5: Works of the flesh, covetousness

Eph. 5: Covetous man, who is an idolater

Col. 3: Covetousness, which is idolatry

What is coveting?

Wanting with great desire someone else’s stuff (stuff can include someone’s personality traits, good looks, or lifestyle).

Exodus 20:17

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

The Revell Bible Dictionary says, “In every case of covetousness in Scripture the passionate desire for material possessions brings personal and spiritual disaster”.

There’s a great story found in 2 Kings 5 about a man named Gahazi who wanted something for the healing from his master Elisha that was done for a man named Naaman. Gahazi was so bent on being paid back for the healing that he chased Naaman outside the city secretly and demanded payment, even though Elisha healed him through God’s power and would accept no payment. Because of Gahazi’s sin he ended up getting snow white leprosy.

If you are tempted to put an object before you and God, this is the day for laying it down. Sometimes my “object” is Facebook, or my heart to live in a foreign land (still here in the US), sometimes it’s been my house, sometimes it’s my hurt feelings, or my marriage – whatever it is, it’s not worth the sacrifice of your relationship with God. Lay it down today!

Your homework: Find out what can happen when we trade our God for an idol at Romans 1:20-28.