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September 17, 2011

First Commandment – 09.17.2011

Filed under: Old & New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 5:26 pm

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Exodus 20:3
• “gods” – pronounced el-o-heem’ – gods or deities in the ordinary sense; false spiritual objects of worship; also used in reference to rulers or angels and other spiritual beings.
• “before me” – al paw-neem’ – Lit. “before my face.”

Read and meditate each day this week: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 50, John 17:20-26
EACH DAY: Exodus 20: 1-17 The Ten Commandments
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me. (See note below)
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”


Matthew Henry’s Commentary with my revisions and comments added:
• 1. LOOK AT VERSE 1, God spoke all these words, The law of the ten commandments is,
o 1. A law of God’s making. These words were spoken by the infinite eternal Majesty of heaven and earth.
o 2. It is a law of his own speaking. ASK, HOW MANY WAYS DOES GOD HAVE WHEN SPEAKING TO US?
 God has many ways of speaking to the children of men. By his Spirit, by conscience, by providences, by his voice. DO WE ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT? DO WE LIVE LIKE GOD IS SPEAKING TO US? (WHY NOT?).
 This law God had given to man before (it was written in his heart by nature); but sin had so defaced that writing that it was necessary, in this manner, to revive the knowledge of it.
• 2. The preface of the Law-maker: I am the Lord thy God, Exo_20:2. ASK “WHY DID GOD START OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS WITH THESE 6 WORDS?
o 1. God asserts his own authority to enact this law in general: “I am the Lord who command thee all that follows.”
o 2. He proposes himself as the sole object of that religious worship which is discussed in the first four of the commandments. They are here bound to obedience by THREE things:
 (1.) Because God is the Lord – Jehovah, self-existent, independent, eternal, and the fountain of all being and power; therefore he has an incontestable right to command us. He that gives being may give law; and therefore he is able to bear us out in our obedience, to reward it, and to punish our disobedience.
 (2.) He was their God, a God in covenant with them, their God by their own consent; and, if they would not keep his commandments, who would? He had laid himself under obligations to them by promise.
• ASK/DISCUSS: So, we all know from the introduction to the Ten Commandments last week that we are now the children of Isreal through Jesus. But how do you think we are obligated to the covenant as a New Testament, Jesus believing body of believers?
o All that are baptized are taken into relation to him as their God, and are therefore unjust, unfaithful, and very ungrateful, if they obey him not.
 (3.) He had brought them out of the land of Egypt; therefore they were bound in gratitude to obey him, because he had done them so great a kindness, had brought them out of a grievous slavery into a glorious liberty.
• They themselves had been eye-witnesses of the great things God had done to deliver them. They saw everything, every miracle, every circumstance, and that had increased their obligation.
• They were now enjoying the blessed fruits of their deliverance and in expectation of a speedy settlement in Canaan; and could they think any thing too much to do for him that had done so much for them? WHY DO WE NOT THINK THIS WAY TODAY?
• By redeeming them, he acquired a further right to rule them; they owed their service to him to whom they owed their freedom, and whose they were by purchase.
• And thus Christ, having rescued us out of the bondage of sin, is entitled to the best service we can do him. Having loosed our bonds, he has bound us to obey him, (Psa_116:16 Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.)
• 3. The law itself. The first four of the Ten Commandments, which concern our duty to God (commonly called the first table), we have in these verses. ASK “WHY DO THESE FIRST 4 VERSES COME FIRST?
o Because man had a Maker to love before he had a neighbour to love; and justice and charity are acceptable acts of obedience to God only when they flow from the principles of piety.
o It cannot be expected that man should be true to his brother when he is false to his God.
o Our duty to God is, in one word, to worship him, that is, to give to him the glory due to his name, the inward worship of our affections, the outward worship of solemn address and attendance. This is spoken of as the sum and substance of the everlasting gospel. Rev_14:7, Worship God. Revelation 14:7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
 The first commandment concerns the object of our worship, Jehovah, and him only (Exo_20:3): Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
 The Egyptians, and other neighbouring nations, had many gods, the creatures of their own fancy, strange gods, new gods; this law was needed because of that sin.
 Jehovah being the God of Israel, they must entirely cleave to him, and not be for any other, either of their own invention or borrowed from their neighbours.
 This was the sin they were most in danger of now that the world was so overspread with polytheism, which yet could not be rooted out effectually but by the gospel of Christ.
 The sin against this commandment which we are most in danger of is giving the glory and honour to any creature which are due to God only.
• pride makes a god of self,
• covetousness makes a god of money,
• sensuality makes a god of the belly;
• whatever is esteemed or loved, feared or served, delighted in or depended on, more than God, that (whatever it is) we do in effect make a god of.
 This prohibition includes a precept which is the foundation of the whole law, that we take the Lord for our God, acknowledge that he is God, accept him for ours, adore him with admiration and humble reverence, and set our affections entirely upon him.
 In the last words, before me, it is intimated,
• (1.) That we cannot have any other God but he will certainly know it. There is none besides him but what is before him. Idolaters covet secresy; but shall not God search this out?
• (2.) That it is very provoking to him; it is a sin that dares him to his face, which he cannot, which he will not, overlook, nor not take action against. See Psa_44:20-21 . 20 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?

EACH DAY Psalm 50
Highlight the “God” portions in yellow.
Highlight the “descriptions of God” in Green

A psalm of Asaph.
1 The Mighty One, God, the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
2 From Zion, perfect in beauty,
God shines forth.
3 Our God comes
and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
and around him a tempest rages.
4 He summons the heavens above,
and the earth, that he may judge his people:
5 “Gather to me this consecrated people,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
6 And the heavens proclaim his righteousness,
for he is a God of justice.
7 “Listen, my people, and I will speak;
I will testify against you, Israel:
I am God, your God.
8 I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
9 I have no need of a bull from your stall
or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine,
and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains,
and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you,
for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats?
14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God,
fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”
16 But to the wicked person, God says:
“What right have you to recite my laws
or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction
and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him;
you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil
and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You sit and testify against your brother
and slander your own mother’s son.
21 When you did these things and I kept silent,
you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you
and set my accusations before you.
22 “Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me,
and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
Review the verses above, list the “descriptions of God”:
• v1 The Mighty One; God the Lord
• v2 perfect in beauty
• v3 not silent, and he’s destructive
• v4 summoned and judge
• v6 God of justice
• v10 owner
• v11 all knowing
• v12 owner of ALL
• v15 deliverer
• v16 law giver
• v21 long suffering, but then, the judge
• v22 punisher
• v23 savior
Discuss the verse “structure of this Psalm. Discuss the significance of these descriptions of God.
• Verses 1 to 6 = Description of God’s awesome beauty and strength.
• Verses 7 to 15 = God’s speaking. Better listen. God knows everything.
• Verses 16 to 22 = God’s description of the wicked and his punishment of the wicked
• Verse 23. The Savior God.
Discuss how this Psalm helps us understand “The First Commandment.”
Read Daily John 17:20-26
Highlight God/Jesus/them “unity” statements in yellow.

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
John 17:20-26
• v. 20 – “those who will believe in me” – future believers in Christ; us.
• v. 21 – “believe that you have sent me.” – the reason for our unity.
• v. 22 – “O righteous Father…I know you” – Christ is one essence (one God) with the Father and the Holy Spirit, but they are three separate persons.

Discuss how these “unity” (Father, I, them) statements lead us to the lesson for today, the 1st Commandment.
(( For more texts regarding the Trinity see Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 13:14; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 1:35))
For Teachers
Context and Commentary
With the first of the Ten Commandments (lit. ten words) Yahweh (or Jehovah) gives a prohibition against worshiping any other gods except Him. God is not acknowledging other gods exist, but only that other people such as the Egyptians, whom they just left, are polytheistic, and that they worship many false gods. God’s people are not to be like them. Both the previous verse “I am the LORD your God” (Ex. 20:2) and Deuteronomy 6:4 affirm this: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” By this statement God is asserting that He alone is God, He alone is worthy of worship, and He alone has elected His people to deliverance and salvation, and ultimately to glorify Himself.
In John 17, during the high priestly prayer, Jesus affirms His divinity and unity with God the Father in the Holy Trinity. He also prays for His church. All Christians belong to the church of Jesus Christ. There may be different denominations and differences in belief on secondary matters, but the true church of Jesus Christ is unified in heart and spirit. Christ prayed for unity among the church, just as He and the Father are unified. This is reflected in the “new commandment” Jesus gives to “love one another.” His prayer was that we would reflect His union with the Father in our spiritual community. Does not the Father always answer the prayers of the Son? Yes! This is a great encouragement to the church! Glorify His Name!

Bible Fellowship Time

Have you ever made something more important than God?
Discussion questions for ABF’s:

1. Summarize the first commandment in your own words.
2. Why would this commandment have been so important for the Israelites?
a. Egyptians had “multiple” Gods. See comments above.
3. In what ways might we be tempted today to break the first commandment?
a. Discussed in Matthew Henry’s comments above.
4. What does this commandment reveal about God’s nature?
a. He is faithful and true to us because of his covenant, he DEMANDS that we are faithful and true to him.
b. God is a demanding, jealous God. BUT, AS OUR CREATOR and provider, he has all rights to be that way. He is to be worshipped above all else.
5. What biblical doctrines depend on the holiness of a jealous God?
a. The Doctrines of Sin and the doctrine of Salvation.
6. What was the prophet Isaiah’s reaction to God’s holiness (Isaiah 6:1-5)?
a. 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
Going Deeper John 17:20-26

7. What does this passage reveal about God? About Jesus?
a. V25. God is righteous.
b. God is in Jesus, Jesus is in God.
c. Jesus wants us to believe in Him, and he wants us to be “IN” them.
d. Other?
8. About us (the church) and our relationships?
a. We are “all one” in Christ.
9. What biblical doctrines are present in this passage?
a. Jesus is both fully God and fully man.
b. The doctrine of the trinity.
c. Salvation is a GIFT of God.
10. How does the doctrine of the Holy Trinity relate to the 1st commandment?
a. Question 9 above.
11. What specifically is Jesus’ prayer?
a. That man knows God and we are all ONE with God.
b. Other?
12. What light does the Gospel shine on these passages?

The apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:8 that believers “rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”.
1 Peter 1: 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,

Often times though, the things of the world weigh us down and sins quickly entangle us (Heb.12). We may lose our interest in prayer and study of the Word. Before long we may forget who we are in Christ and perhaps that God is even there. But let us not forget where we have come from. Without the love of God the Father, who sacrificed His Son Jesus for our sins, we would be lost without forgiveness and condemned.

Closing Devotion

17th century pastor David Clarkson wrote that the Holy Spirit “tells us of joy unspeakable (1 Pet. 1:8 above), peace passing understanding (Phil. 4:7),
Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

love passing knowledge (Eph.3:19),
Eph 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

and riches unsearchable (Eph.3:8).
Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

• The holy and uncreated Spirit is ours, his graces and comforts are ours.
• The Father also is ours; all that he is, all his glorious attributes, his all-sufficiency, wisdom, power, mercy, justice, truth, and faithfulness.
• His decrees are the spring of our happiness (Eph. 1:4-5). And now what is there in heaven and earth that the love of Christ has not made ours? There is nothing left but himself. And alas, what would all these things profit, if we lack him?
• He is the hope of earth and the glory of heaven. See here the height of his love; he has given us himself, and all with himself.
• He gave his life a ransom for us; not his blood—he washed us in his blood, not his glory—‘The glory that you have given me I have given to them’ (John 17:22).”

Are God’s decrees your happiness and joy? Do you take pleasure in humble obedience to God as He makes you into the image of His Son Jesus? Meditate on what the Lord has done for you and has given you. Put on your spiritual armor daily. Rejoice in inexpressible joy this week as you work, raise children, or whatever you are doing. Christ prayed that you would be in him and the Father and they would be in you. This is not for our benefit, but for the benefit of others, so that by seeing God in you, they would believe. Let the world see God in you and believe.

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