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In the Gates

Only God, No Other The First Commandment

Only God, No Other

The First Commandment

No other gods

Exodus 23.13

Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.”

 

Exodus 23.13

Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.”

Exodus 22.20

Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the LORD alone, shall be devoted to destruction.”

God declares His determination that He alone shall be God to Israel, and He does it with unmistakable and uncompromised clarity.

God’s people are to “pay attention” to His Law, to read and study it, meditate on it, and carry it out in practice. If they do, they will quickly learn the blessings that come from obedience and be reinforced in the steadfast love and faithfulness of God. Thus love for Him will encourage them to cling only to the Lord.

Second, they must not even so much as mention the names of foreign gods. Here, undoubtedly, the kind of “mention” around which conversations are built is probably what is in view. It is not necessary to study every kind of evil and become thoroughly versed in it in order to know that it’s evil. God’s judgment and command should be enough for us. How much misery would we be spared if we simply took His Word to heart and refused even to dally in anything contrary to His Law?

Finally, those who actually do take up practices of devotion toward other gods are to be cut off from the congregation of Israel. Here the death penalty is in view. We’ll have more to say about the death penalty later on in this series. For now, let us think merely in terms of those who violate the first commandment as being separated from the community of God’s people, lest their rebellion infect others and lead to community-wide disaster.

This series of In the Gates we present a detailed explanation of the Law of God, beginning with the Ten Commandments, and working through the statutes and rules that accompany each commandment. For a practical guide to the role of God’s Law in the practice of ethics, get The Ground for Christian Ethics by going to www.MyParuchia.com and click on our Book Store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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