God’s first law

Every so often there will be some hoo-ha over whether or not the Ten Commandments should be displayed in a public space, like city hall or a courthouse. While I believe it would be good for passersby to read and learn from the commandments, they are not binding in district or appellate court.

God’s laws are binding, however, in his court. The list of ten commands in Exodus chapter 20 and Deuteronomy chapter 5 are a convenient summary of God’s timeless will for mankind (although some of the phraseology is intended only for the temporary civil and ceremonial laws binding on Israel until the coming of Christ).

The most important of all the commandments of God is the first: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2,3). God’s chosen personal adjective for himself is jealous—he absolutely will tolerate no competition for our worship, love, and obedience. Truly the story of humanity’s fall from grace and our continued miserable struggles is the story of people loving and chasing other things. Whatever you love, trust, or follow more than God must go—idols seduce and corrupt and destroy those who love them.

Our Lord Jesus shows us the opposite of idolatry: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

Pastor Mark Jeske brought the good news of Jesus Christ to viewers of Time of Grace for 18 years. He is currently the senior pastor at St. Marcus Church, a thriving multicultural congregation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark is the author of several books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics. He and his wife, Carol, have four adult children.


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