You shall have no other gods before Me.
Daily Scripture Reading – Psalm 96
This is perhaps the most critical area that the we see the world encroaching upon the Church. Beyond how we think, talk, act, and look the world presses in on the church to influence the way we worship! I want you to read this devotional carefully and give it some thought. I am going to say some things that will stretch our minds a bit and help give us a better perspective in the fight against the flesh and the devil and the world that all hate our Savior. Remember, we are in a war! So let us prepare for battle.
Today we will see that we are not to worship like the world. Often we think of worship as what we do on Sunday and Wednesday, or when the church gathers. Some have family worship on a daily basis – a practice commanded by the Scriptures by the way. But often we see worship as something we do for a time and then we get on with our lives. But worship is not an event. It is not just an experience. It is a way of life. Worship is declaring the worthiness of God. Praising, loving, adoring, glorifying, and magnifying Him. Worship is communion, an expression of humble dependence, a sacrifice and surrender of ourselves to God. Worship is not an event or a circumstance. It is how we live. And how we live proves who or what we really do worship.
We cannot forget that the Bible is full of warnings about idolatry. Often we read those passages and we think we are safe because none of us in our post modern sophistication has idols, statues, or altars erected in our churches or homes that honor false gods and demons. Right? But idolatry is about the mind, the heart, the mouth, the life!! Worshipping an idol is a matter of placing anything above God, in His place.
The first command we are given from God through Moses is “You shall have no other gods before Me.” And Jesus tells us, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.”
To have no other gods. To love Him (and thus as we have shown, obey Him) with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. That is the supreme commandment of our God. His first and primary command and expectation of us is that we worship Him alone with all that we are!
So then we see that living a life that worships God at every opportunity is a life that GIVES to God love, glory, obedience, faith, honor, etc. Worship is about GIVING God His proper and right place in our lives. He IS Master, Lord, King, and Sovereign. Do we think, talk, act, and look like it? Do we worship like it?
I ask because in truth the world has its own style of worship. By style I do not mean the type of music or the liturgy. These are but circumstances and elements of our corporate worship of God. By style I mean that the world has a way to worship its gods. How does the world worship?
Every false religion differs from the true faith in that every false religion presents a savior other than the Christ of the Bible and a gospel of works to appease its god. Every false religion worships for what the worshipper can GET as a result of worshipping the deity of choice.
Think about it. Whether it is working for salvation, or being good enough that the good outweighs the bad, or appeasing god through sacrifice or self denial – it all focuses on the benefit to the worshipper. Worldy worship is worship offered with a motive and expectation to GET something in return. It is therefore deep down actually selfish worship. It is greedy. It is proud.
Worldy worship, worship designed to elicit a response from the object being worshipped that benefits ME is a violation of the First Commandment. Think about this now.
The world worships to GET.
But, on the other hand, if we are worshipping God as He commands, then He is our God and we declare HIS worthiness with everything we are and have! If we worship to GIVE God glory, praise, adoration, love, etc, then we worship as He commands. The focus is not on GETTING for self, but on denying self and coming to GIVE God all that He deserves and desires.
Can we ever truly and finally declare the glory of God? Of course not. So then if we want to come even close we had better get started!! We had better remember that we should prepare daily for a life of worship. We should focus on GIVING God what He wants instead of on GETTING what we want!
Listen. Anyone who attempts to enter into the worship of God and does so for what they can GET out of it is actually and truly not worshipping God! If we worship to GET for self, for peace, for happiness, for prosperity, for fulfillment, etc, then who are we ultimately worshipping?? Ourselves!
And so we see how easy it is to place our own SELF up as an idol, as another god before the True and Living God in our lives. And we are told to entice people into coming to church to hear the gospel. We do all that we can do to make people want to come to God for what they can GET from Him. But the gospel, as an invitation and as a command is not preached so that we may come to GET for self – because the very first word of the gospel message is “Repent.” And repentance is a turning away from all that we are without Jesus Christ! The first word of the gospel is death to self.
We should not ever think about worship or the gospel in terms of what we can GET. Because it is about what we can GIVE.
Again, think! Before we are saved we cannot worship God. We cannot understand His Word. We cannot submit to His law. We cannot please Him! We are unable and incapable. So to think that we can come to God as we are for what we can GET is to miss the whole point that the gospel frees us to GIVE to God what He commands – worship!! The gospel removes our sin and guilt not so that we can then GET whatever else we want from God (in Jesus’ name of course). No! The gospel removes our sin and guilt so that now we can GIVE God the glory He is owed.
The Church has switched the focus of the gospel. Because we have become accustomed to worshipping our god for what we can GET for ourselves we have missed the truth. We have started to preach a man centered gospel instead of a Christ centered gospel! What are we to preach? Christ, and Him crucified. Why? So that we can GIVE God all that He desires and deserves.
Worship is not about us. It is about having no other gods before Him!
Bible Reading For Further Study
Psalm 29:2; 45:11; 66:4; 81:9; 95:6; 96:9; 97:7; 99:5
Revelation 4:10-11; 7:11; 15:4; 19:10; 22:8-9