The Most Important Thing
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
This is the very first of the 10 commandments. If you ask most people what is the most important commandment, you do not often hear this commandment. The most common I hear is usually, Thou shall not kill. This first commandment here sets the foundations and the priorities of life. If this commandment is missed all of life will be changed. I remember reading an article from the famous writer H.G. Wells. He said “if there is not a God then nothing matters, but if there is a God nothing else matters.”
God matters and He is the most important thing in life and this first commandment reminds us to put nothing before or in place of God. In today’s world people do not make false idols in a way similar to some of the people in the days of Moses. We do not make gold statues and worship these as our gods. Yet we do at times make things, like gold and possessions be our focus and joy. For most of us the struggle is not in idols like those mentioned in verse 4 here in the 20th chapter of Exodus, but in placing something or someone before God.
The person we usually place before God is ourselves. It is easy to think about yourself first in every situation. It is natural and human nature to do this. In fact living out a prohibition from doing something is hard because our hearts and minds want to do something. Here Jesus helps us live out this commandment by doing something. Jesus turns this over into a positive when he asks us to love the Lord your God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind. Jesus means every part of you is to love God. That is the only way to prioritize God and put him first by being active with our love, our dreams, our actions, and our thoughts. That is how we are able to have no other gods before the Lord God Almighty. Nothing else matters.