“Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing” was a huge hit for the talented Marvin Gaye in the late 1960’s but it could’ve been a slogan for the freshly liberated Israelites in 1600 B.C. The Israelites had been living in a hyper-polytheistic culture for hundreds of years watching their captors worship every false God imaginable. Whatever the Egyptians perceived to be their greatest momentary need would inevitably lead to the formation of a god. It was out of this context that the Hebrews found themselves in a wonderfully new context…..monotheism. After making the convincing case that He was THEIR God and had delivered them from slavery, the one true God gave the first of the great commands.
“Have no other gods before ME”. This was a resounding singular shot across the false god filled bow of polytheism. God was both affirming His oneness while demanding that His people recognize it. There could be no more duplicity in their hearts. No more confusion. No more waffling. In effect, God was saying CHOOSE ME!! Like all the commands, it was ultimately for His glory but it was most certainly for their good. Jehova God was the real thing….the great I AM.
This command teaches us the exclusivity of God. He stands alone and demands to alone have our hearts. This leads to the motivation behind the command. God knew that even those who choose to follow Him will fight the propensity to either move Him off of the throne of their hearts or make Him share space. He will do neither. He tells us in giving these commands that He is a “jealous” God. He isn’t jealous in a human sense, for we are often sinful and petty in our jealousies. No, God is perfect in every sense, including His jealousy.
You see, God is PERFECTLY jealous for our hearts. He refuses to share even a square inch of the throne our hearts. He alone is worthy of that sacred place, and to love Him completely we must love Him with all our hearts. He must sit on the throne of our hearts. The question we must ask is simply this; does He? Who or what sits on the throne of your heart? Are you asking God to slide over so that you can worship some special person in your life? How about your career? Are you bowing to that idol? Maybe you worship God but also the opinions of others.
What is it that consumes your thoughts, resources, or energy? That just may be your little God. You see, our hearts are idol factories. We don’t always intend to replace God, but we often try to have Him share the space that He demands be His alone. This command is so foundational that you can’t break the others without breaking this one. It is the slab on which the other commands are built. I encourage you today to search your life and heart with the help of the one true God. Remove anything besides God that is ON the throne of your heart and place it UNDER Him. Only He deserves that special place. Have NO other god before Him.