You shall have no other gods before me.” (Deuteronomy 5:7 ESV).
The New Living Translation says “no other god but me.” God demands exclusive worship because He is incomparable and because there are no other true gods; our God is not part of the created order (i.e. sun, moon, etc), He reigns over creation with all power. God created all things and sustains all things (John 1:3, Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3). He is not some distant deity, He is all powerful, just and holy and yet He still draws near to His creation.
Our primary problem is a worship problem – we worship all sorts of things to which we ascribe godlike grandeur, but there is only one true God. When we place the weight of our worship on created things, they buckle because they are not designed to hold the weight that our worship places upon them. Singular devotion to Him is how the created order was designed to operate. This is not because He is insecure or needs anything from us (Acts 17:25), but because it glorifies Him and gives us maximum joy (Psalm 16:11). What are you worshiping, what is your first affection?
“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 5:6 ESV)
The Ten Commandments start by reminding the people of what God had done on their behalf. This is the LORD God (that is Yahweh Elohim – the personal, covenant keeping and yet all powerful God). The Ten Commandments are built upon what God had done for the people; their obedience was a response in gratitude for what God had graciously done for them – not as a means to earn approval and salvation.
The Israelites are constantly being called to remember the events of the past, particularly how faithful God had been to them. That is not because they normally had cognitively forgotten what God had done, that is because it was not longer impacting their hearts. When we are no longer touched by the magnificent grandeur of God and all that He has done on our behalf our faith begins to wither into drudgery and duty. Because we are prone to forget, we must be disciplined to remember the majesty of God by praying for Him to reveal Himself to us and by searching the scriptures for God’s sovereignty, grace and holiness.
“Why do we worry? Because we don’t believe. We’re not really convinced the same Jesus who can keep a sparrow in the air knows where our lost luggage is, or how we’ll pay that car repair bill. Or if we believe He can deliver us through our difficulties, we doubt if He will. We let Satan sow seeds of doubt in our minds about God’s love and care for us.
The great antidote to anxiety is to come to God in prayer about everything. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). Nothing’s too big for Him to handle or too small to escape His attention. Paul said we’re to come to God “with thanksgiving.” We should thank Him for His past faithfulness in delivering us from troubles. We should thank Him for the fact that He’s in control of every circumstance of our lives and that nothing can touch us that He doesn’t allow. We should thank Him that in His infinite wisdom He’s able to work in this circumstance for our good. We can thank Him that He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The promised result is not deliverance, but the peace of God. One of the reasons we don’t find this peace is that all too often we won’t settle for anything other than deliverance from the trouble. But God, through Paul, promises us peace, a peace that is unexplainable. It will guard our hearts and minds against the anxiety to which you and I are so prone.”
Gerald Bridges;Jerry Bridges. Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey Devotional (p. 81). Kindle Edition.