Actually, I do not want to convey the impression I was into law keeping here since we live in New Covenantal times. Instead, I think we could use the OT law at times as a mirror that shows us what might be still wrong in our hearts and minds.
It appears to me that keeping the first commandment that says we should have no other gods beside our God tells us to somehow look through everything of which we think it is good around us as being blessing from God only. As soon as we cling to a person or a blessing they gave us as if he, she, or it represented the ultimate good that could make us happy or unhappy if we lost it, we have another god. I just thought I could share some thoughts on this topic from my fellow countryman Martin Luther with you on here.
But let this be said to the simple, that they may well note and remember the meaning of this commandment, namely, that we are to trust in God alone, and look to Him and expect from Him naught but good, as from one who gives us body, life, food, drink, nourishment, health, protection, peace, and all necessaries of both temporal and eternal things. He also preserves us from misfortune, and if any evil befall us, delivers and rescues us, so that it is God alone (as has been sufficiently said) from whom we receive all good, and by whom we are delivered from all evil. Hence also, I think, we Germans from ancient times call God (more elegantly and appropriately than any other language) by that name from the word good as being an eternal fountain which gushes forth abundantly nothing but what is good, and from which flows forth all that is and is called good.
For even though otherwise we experience much good from men, still whatever we receive by His command or arrangement is all received from God. For our parents, and all rulers, and every one besides with respect to his neighbor, have received from God the command that they should do us all manner of good, so that we receive these blessings not from them, but, through them, from God. For creatures are only the hands, channels, and means whereby God gives all things, as He gives to the mother breasts and milk to offer to her child, and corn and all manner of produce from the earth for nourishment, none of which blessings could be produced by any creature of itself.
Therefore no man should presume to take or give anything except as God has commanded, in order that it may be acknowledged as God’s gift, and thanks may be rendered Him for it, as this commandment requires. On this account also these means of receiving good gifts through creatures are not to be rejected, neither should we in presumption seek other ways and means than God has commanded. For that would not be receiving from God, but seeking of ourselves.
Let everyone, then, see to it that he esteem this commandment great and high above all things, and do not regard it as a joke. Ask and examine your heart diligently, and you will find whether it cleaves to God alone or not. If you have a heart that can expect of Him nothing but what is good, especially in want and distress, and that, moreover renounces and forsakes everything that is not God, then you have the only true God. If on the contrary, it cleaves to anything else, of which it expects more good and help than of God, and does not take refuge in Him, but in adversity flees from Him, then you have an idol, another god.
As for me, I can tell you honestly that I have always had other gods beside God and I do know that He alone can make me fulfill the first commandment since, by nature, I do not love God, neither do I love my neighbors as I love myself. I remember in my very beginnings with Jesus, I was so in love with my own “feelings” regarding God that I stumbled very often like Peter did who had thought he had loved Jesus and would have been able to do everything for Him. Today I know I cannot love, I cannot do anything (good) for God unless He nudges me to do so, and thus I can only wait on Him. This is not the most comfortable position for a human being that wants to do something. 😛 But alas, it seems to me being the only one in which Jesus wants to see us since He said,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (Jn 15:5-7 ESV)
Being (read: abiding) in Him eventually leads to doing the works God wants to be done, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13 ESV). Only if we obey Him in these things, then it is Christ who acts through us, and that even completely and blissfully unaware of Him doing anything in us or even through us. In contrast, everything we do apart from His tender nudges after we have listened to His still small voice leaves us restless and destroys that precious peace His permanent presence offers. Also, as soon as our eyes do not longer look to God, they automatically turn to others and to ourselves, quasi in turns. Thus comparison and judgment begin like a ping-pong game which is a vicious circle Jesus came to destroy on the cross. Regarding this, I found an interesting quote yesterday that reads,
When you judge you project your shadows onto others, when you love you project your light.~ Aine Belton
Since our Lord came to set the captives free, even the captives of their own minds and hearts, we may trust Him that He will fulfill His promises, here the following in particular.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8:12 ESV)
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt 5:14-16 ESV)
Hmm… 🙄 I was just wondering how I got on this rabbit trail, beginning to write about the first commandment and then ending with THE LIGHT, i.e. the Christ? I have no idea of the how and why, but I hope it will at least make some sense to some of you. 😉