St. Paul's Lutheran Church

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“You shall have no other gods.”

The Lord gives us these commandments in order to show us two very important matters concerning, not only the faith, but also life in general.

The formal matter is simple. Each commandment shows us what God expects from us and what it is to be a proper citizen in His kingdom. For example, the First Commandment says that, in His kingdom, we are to worship and obey the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as our God and reject all other gods. This may include the deities of unbelieving society along with their human-made images of stone or wood. But this also includes anything to which we put our trust and hope, or in which we find security and comfort. Thus, we must not consider anything of creation to be our god, nor anything created by man to be our god, for this is unfitting for a people of His kingdom. The foremost of sin is putting faith, hope, and security in something (or someone) not God, and whenever we break any of the commandments, we always break the first commandment.

The Lord also teaches an important second matter in each of the commandments. It’s the matter of reality vs. illusion. A good magician will make illusion seem as reality, but his trick is still only that — an illusion. Satan is the master illusionist, and his endless work is to make illusion to be reality. In the commandments, God thwarts the devil’s magic by clearly and plainly saying, “Here, O man, is reality because I am the Creator of reality and anything outside of these commandments is the illusion.” Thus, for the first commandment, God is making the point that there are no other gods, goddesses, deities, or forces for us to worship, so to worship anything or anyone but Him is to live by the illusion of the devil. As much as it is foolish and unproductive to believe a magician can actually cut a woman in half or pull bunnies out of a magic hat, it is just as foolish and unproductive to believe the false god of Islam can save us or the false god of Mormonism wants to give us our own planet. These gods do not exist because they are only illusions of Satan, created by Satan to keep us from knowing and believing and following the one and only true God. To ask, “which god is real,” is as foolish as asking, “Which magician in Las Vegas can actually make a person levitate.” None of them can because it’s all an illusion, a trick, and all gods but the one true God and Lord who created all things are not real. To believe in them is to believe in nothing. You’d be better off being an atheist because at least atheists are honest about their illusion.

When we break the First Commandment, we are putting creation ahead of Creator or worse, we are believing illusions over reality. And of this we must daily repent.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are the only God and all other gods are either creations of men or illusions of the devil. Help me to believe and trust only in You for my life, meaning, and purpose, for You alone live and reign, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, yet one God forevermore. Amen.