I once heard a story about a man who was married to a very beautiful and intelligent woman and though both were quite happy together, they did have their difficult times. One day while the man was shopping in a store, he saw a female manikin. The manikin was of course fashionably dressed and appeared quite pretty and very alluring and so he took it as his new wife - stay with me on this! A friend asked him what in the world was he thinking and the man replied, “Hey, she never complains, she likes the things that I like, I never have to explain myself - I tell you she is everything I ever wanted in a woman.” By now, you are probably saying to yourself what a ridiculous story, as no one in a right frame of mind would ever do such an outlandish thing and of course, I agree.
However, does it surprise you to know that this story serves as a perfect example of how some treat their relationship with God when they place other gods before Him? Like the man in the story who sought an empty self-serving relationship with a false woman, so it is with those in the real world who seek self-serving empty relationships with false gods.
God addresses this first and foremost in the first commandment among ten given to Moses on the top of Mount Sinai, which states, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3)
Seems quite clear, direct, and yet, the practice of worshiping false gods can be traced throughout the Old Testament. For example, the golden calf at Sinai forged by Aaron, Baal as the chief deity in the land of Canaan, Molech as the god of the Ammonites, Ashtoreth as the goddess of fertility, and so on.
Today people by far tend not to worship and pray to forged images of gold, silver, or bronze, but the world is replete with false gods nonetheless. For example, there are those who worship the god of power, of wealth, of sex, of drugs, and so on, but what all these false gods really add up to is simply the god of one’s self. Yes indeed, it is the age-old mentality with a new age adage being, "it's all about me!"
I say age old mentality because this mindset can be traced all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when their thoughts were not of serving the One true God, but rather thoughts of becoming gods. The rest is history for when they took and ate from the tree of knowledge, sin entered the world and the “It’s all about me” movement was well underway.
Let us take a quick moment to examine a few individuals in the bible who chose to serve the god of self with the “It’s all about me” mentality. There was of course Adam and Eve who were banished from a life in paradise to a life full of toil and difficulty. Let us not forget Aaron, brother of Moses, who forged a golden calf resulting in some 3000 lives lost that day at the hands of their brothers. Saul, anointed as King over all Israel by the Lord, but because of his pride and self-admonition, fell by his own sword - suicide. Then there was of course, Judas Iscariot the man who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver who ultimately committed suicide having hung himself.
The bible gives us clear historical proof that the god of self will never produce the desired result we seek, but rather it will most certainly bring about sheer catastrophe. Now, let us look at a few individuals in the bible who chose to have no other gods before Him.
There was Joseph, a man sold into slavery at the hands of his elder brothers, but one who God rose up to be second in command over all of Egypt. Moses, a man who found himself in exile, but one who God rose up to lead the Israelites out from Egyptian bondage and ultimately to the promise land. David, a mere Sheppard boy who God rose up to become King over all Israel and one who’s throne will always remain present before the Lord. Then there was the Apostle Paul who had a personal encounter with the risen Lord who raised Paul up to become perhaps the greatest evangelist of all time.
How did these men achieve such success and the others such utter failure and the answer is those who had success placed their faith in the One true living God whereas those who failed chose to place other gods before Him.
Do you serve the god of self or the One true living God dear friend, brother or sister? For example, do you often choose to watch television over reading your bible and spending time in the presence of God or do you often not attend church on Sunday in favor of some other activity or interest? You see, the god of self can take the shape of many forms and often ones we may not easily recognize.
Ultimately, the god of self is actually Satan who serves as puppeteer in an all out attempt to lead people who fall in to his snare away from the One and only true living God. Nonetheless, Jesus gives us the perfect defense to avoid this all too easy pitfall when asked which commandment is the foremost of all.
Jesus said, “The foremost is, ‘ Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
A wonderful passage of scripture for this is the embodiment of the Ten Commandments found in chapter 20 in the Book of Exodus. In being obedient to what Jesus said God will always be in the forefront of our lives and by loving Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, body and strength, there will never be room for false empty gods for the power of Satan over us will be nullified.
Joshua, successor to Moses, put it this way. "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Amen, and as for me and my house, we too, shall serve the Lord our God, but what say you dear friend, brother or sister? Do you desire the truth or a lie, honesty or a deception, authentic or an imitation, eternal life or eternal death? Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.
About the Author: My name is Darryl Orrell and I am an aspiring pastor and dedicated servant of God in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the entire world. I write weekly devotions in the hope of inspiring other fellow believers as well as leading those who are yet lost in darkness to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord. You can find me on the web at http://thoughtof-theweek.blogspot.com