Thou Shall Have No Other Gods
KLMX Ministerial Alliance
1st Baptist Church, Des Moines, NM
Hello and good morning- Iím Bryan Kimsey from 1st Baptist Church in Des Moines NM and welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program here on KLMX radio in Clayton NM. I really enjoy doing this show and it never fails to amaze me that God would use me in this role! Iíd like to start our week by praising our Father for his awesome, everlasting, bottomless grace and mercy in calling wretched sinners like me to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, who died in my place on the cross that I might live. Through Christís name to the glory of God the Father, Amen.
Last time I was here, I talked about false prophets. This time Iíd like to talk about false idols. Iíd like to talk about all the things that drag us away from God and try to distract our attention from Him. In the process, I hope to show you how serious this distraction is to God and what He might do in response. Christianity is a battle. Paul tells us:
Ephesians 6:12-13 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Let us therefore pick up our armor, put it on, and go into battle against these principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness.
First, our justification for battle.
Exodus 20:1-6 And God spoke all these words, saying: (2) "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (3) "You shall have no other gods before Me. (4) "You shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (5) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (6) but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
Here God lays out just one of the infinite number of reasons why He demands our worship when He says "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." God is speaking directly to the Hebrews here, but make no mistake- if youíre a Christian who has been brought from the bondage of sin, or "delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love", as Colossians 1:13 tells us, then you also have been brought out of bondage. So, pay attention!
After stating His qualifications, God lays down the 1st Commandment: ""You shall not make for yourself a carved image any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them." This should be clear. Note that we are not to bow down to these likenesses, nor serve them. To bow down to them is to acknowledge their superiority over us and to serve them is to treat them as Lords in our lives. Weíre to do neither of these things.
God then goes on to state "For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God." Letís examine this statement. First, God says that He is the LORD. Weíve already been warned about calling other gods or likenesses of things "Lord" or serving them. The LORD says that He is God. God also says that He is a "jealous God" and we can certainly find this backed up in numerous other places in the Bible, including:
Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Joshua 24:19 But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.
What does this word "jealous" mean? As with so many other of our words, the way we use "jealous" today doesnít line up with the Biblical way. We might say "Heís jealous of your talents" or "Sheís jealous because you got the job and she didnít." However, this use is not quite right and the word we really should use in those cases is "covetous". Jealous when used in the Bible is more in the sense of Websterís 1628 definition [italics mine for broadcast emphasis]:
JEALOUS, a. jel'us.
1. Suspicious; apprehensive of rivalship; uneasy through fear that another has withdrawn or may withdraw from one the affections of a person he loves, or enjoy some good which he desires to obtain; followed by of, and applied both to the object of love and to the rival. We say, a young man is jealous of the woman he loves, or jealous of his rival. A man is jealous of his wife,and the wife of her husband.
2. Suspicious that we do not enjoy the affection or respect of others, or that another is more loved and respected than ourselves.
3. Emulous; full of competition.
4. Solicitous to defend the honor of; concerned for the character of.
I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts. 1 Ki 19.
5. Suspiciously vigilant; anxiously careful and concerned for.
I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. 2 Cor 11.
6. Suspiciously fearful.
'Tis doing wrong creates such doubts as these,
Renders us jealous and destroys our peace.
Webster correctly captures the sense of a relationship in his definition and thatís the way the Bible is using "jealous". God is jealous for our affections. When we worship other gods or other idols, he is angry that our affection and respect are turning away from Him and He wants our hearts turned back to Him. When I present this to people, many of them say "What an egotistical God!" That, unfortunately, is manís natural reaction and weíve seen that reaction front to back in the Bible.
Is this a valid reaction, though? Letís put you in Godís shoes for a moment. Youíve created a people- that is, the only reason they exist is because you created them. They didnít create themselves, they didnít come to existence through a random process, and no one else created them. You created them and the sole reason for their existence is because you created them. You love these people youíve created because- after all- you created them in your image, with a character that is a smaller image of yours. Theyíre essentially your children (and children are an excellent analogy). When they get into trouble and ask for your help, you get them out of trouble. To keep them out of trouble in the first place and help them learn lessons, you occasionally punish them, but you also reward them richly (and, being creator of all things, you are very rich!). These people are yours and you love them. But, alas, they donít love you! When you get them out of trouble, they give credit to some god that theyíve created. They give credit to someone else for fertile earth that you made for them and the rain youíve sent to water that earth. Whenever they do something half-way interesting (even though it kind of pales in comparison to creating the universe, which you did), instead of crediting you for giving them the raw working materials, the brains to work, and even the desire to create, they take most- if not all- of the credit themselves. Their hearts turn away from you and toward just about anything else but you. They even deny the fact that you and you alone, created them! And, really, the only thing you ask from them is their love and affection. Is that asking so much? Yet, thatís mankind in a nutshell (and thatís another good analogy!).
Is God deserving of our affection? Absolutely. Is God just in punishing those who disobey His simple commandments? Absolutely. Is God right in being jealous when the hearts of those that He loves stray from Him? Absolutely. And does man tend to give credit to anyone but God? By the time we get done with this study, I think youíll say "Absolutely." Letís not forget the final part of the 1st Commandment, though:"Öbut showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." This is our hope. We have broken the law of God, failed to give Him glory where glory was due, and our heart constantly go after false idols. Yet, God is full of mercy and He will show that mercy and will welcome us back into his everlasting light and love with open arms when we acknowledge our sins and repent of them. And furthermore, since our sins and transgressions against God must be paid for, God has gone so far as to send His only begotten son, Jesus of Nazareth, the Lordís Christ according to Luke 2:26, to stand in our place and take the punishment due us. According to John 3:16, this is how God so loved the world. Without Christ taking our place, we would be without hope. And while God is doing this, which of the false idols that we worship is doing anything even remotely close?
I hope Iíve established the importance of obeying Godís commands and the severity of our transgressions in following after other gods or other idols. Before we stop for the day, let me show you what the great hymn, "Come Thou Font of Every Blessing" says about this topic.
From, the 4th stanza:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily Iím constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Hereís my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Tomorrow, Iíll be back and weíll look closer at manís tendency to follow other false gods and idols as well as the consequences of doing so. Then weíll take a look at these idols, call them by name, and get to know them a little bit. On Thursday weíll look at Godís power over these idols as illustrated by Elijah. And on Friday, Iíll start poking you where it hurts and suggest you take a close look at your own life to see which idols you are worshiping. Weíll see just how persuasive those ancient idols are, even today.
If youíd like a free CD of all this weekís messages, call us at 505.278.2421 and weíd be happy to send you a copy. You can also check out our website at www.fbcdesmoines.org. First Baptist in Des Moines meets at 9:30 am on Sunday and youíre welcome to come join us for worship. We typically gather after the service for fellowship, questions, discussion and usually have a pot-luck meal afterwards. Weíre the big stone building, right in the middle of town on the west corner of the High School. If you donít want to make the drive, there are plenty of good churches in Clayton- I urge you to attend one of the churches associated with the Ministerial Alliance, become involved, and let God challenge you.
May God be glorified in this message. Amen
False Idols- Israel Again Did Evil