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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Positive Take on The Ten Commandments, Part 1 - No Other Gods

You will have no other gods besides Me.

The First Commandment can be said to be the hook, designed to get our attention. No other Gods. period. What about that do we not understand?

Modes and his homeboys certainly understood. They'd just come from Egypt, after all, where just about everything could be deified. The Egyptians had jackal-headed gods, and cow-headed gods, and gods that looked like storks. It was pretty confusing to the average Egyptian, who generally picked one god to worship in the house...or hut, temple. (This kind of 'selection' is common to most polytheistic cultures.)

Even so, there were a number of Israelites who would have been just as happy hedging their bets with other gods. Maybe the God of Israel wasn't quite strong enough in some areas...let's give Him some backup!

Hedging bets. That's really they key, isn't it?

The First Commandment really says, "count on me...you don't need anyone else".

In the 21st century, we don't have to much trouble with golden calves or gods with weird heads and weirder names. But we do have problems with hedging bets.

Such as - "he who dies with the most toys wins".

In other words...this might be all we got, this life. So grab what you can, and live life to the 'fullest'.

Who knows if you'll really get pie in the sky when you die?

God's saying, BELIEVE! It's such an important concept that He made it a Commandment.

The first one.


  1. I love that. No other Gods. Pretty straightforward... yet we struggle so with this one.

  2. Indeed we struggle - and are set to struggle by the society we've created.

  3. Recently someone reminded me that what you run to may be what you worship. Do you run to the phone, to food, to the gym? Or do you run to God, trusting that He's got it? And then peacefully enjoy your time, take your action steps in His timing which still might include the phone, food, the gym but under His guidance.

  4. Excellent point!

    There are some things after which we run that are sacramental, and those should be carefully considered. As long as we know they're sacraments, they're safe...but when they become gods themselves, we're in big trouble.

    For me, a sacrament is flight. When flying alone, I feel closer to God than at any other time - I hate to say it, but far closer than in any church I've ever attended.

    John Gillespie Magee put it far better than I can, in his poem "High Flight":

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air....

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.