Exodus 20:2-3 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”
In the verses above which describe the first of the Ten Commandments, the Lord reminds Israel of how He had brought them out of the land of Egypt. God miraculously delivered them by a series of 10 plagues. Each of those plagues was a strike against one of the idols of the Egyptians. For example, the Egyptians worshipped a god named Hapi, “the god of the Nile.” God’s first plague was to turn the waters of the Nile into blood, and thereby this “god” which the Egyptians viewed as a source of life and which they had placed their trust in became a source of death. One of their goddesses was Heket – goddess of fertility, water, and renewal. The second plague was a plague of frogs that came out of the water, so that another one of the gods they had trusted in became a source of a curse. Then there was the god Geb, god of the earth. The third plague the Lord sent was to turn the dust of the earth into lice, another strike against another Egyptian idol. And so it continued.
So, what are our idols in this day and age? What do we highly value and trust in? I was thinking about this today, and how so many of these things were recently shaken to the core during the crisis of the Corona virus: sports, entertainment, our possessions, and of course money and the jobs that are a source of that income. Each of these things was threatened like we’ve never seen them threatened in our lifetimes, and all by something that we couldn’t even see with the naked eye? Something so small and in some senses, so insignificant, has rattled each one of these potential “idols” in a matter of a few weeks.
So, is God saying something to us in all this? Is He still there in this seeming free fall? Well, at the very least, the Scriptures tell us that He is sovereign. He is in absolute and total control. We may not understand it, but it’s true, for “He . . . is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15).” As James told us all in his divinely inspired letter: “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that (James 4:13-15).’” Were there ever more truthful words spoken about the moment in which we now live?
And then, at the very least, it’s a time when we are being put in a place to reassess a lot of things, including where we place our values. If we say that God is our Lord and the One we trust in alone, is that true – really true? Is He truly number one in our life? Do we love Him with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength? Or are there idols that have crept their way into our hearts and minds? May God help us to know the truth, and trust Him and Him alone as our God, for hasn’t he clearly warned us to have no other gods beside Him? For you see, all these other gods are truly worthless and powerless in the end, while it is only of the true God that it can be said, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours (1 Chronicles 29:11).”
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