I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me’ ” (Exodus 20:2, 3, NKJV)
The above text is the key text for this week’s SS lesson. It contains a wonderful promise. God is not demanding His people to have no other God before Him as much as He is promising they will need no other God before them. Earlier, right before giving the commandments, God says in Exodus 19:3-4, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.” What we have here, right in the middle of the law in the Old Testament is the New Testament gospel! The Old Testament law does not oppose the New Testament gospel. It compliments it. God is telling His people that they did not free themselves from slavery. He freed them. The Word, “obey” in Hebrew is the word, “Shawmah” Which means, be attentive and listen. The word “keep” in Hebrew is “Shawmar” which means to treasure and to cherish. It is the same word used when God told Adam to keep the garden. He was not telling Adam to obey the garden but to cherish it and treasure it. Today a covenant is a two way agreement, but when God uses this word He is often referring to His promises. So, in Exodus 19:3-4 God is telling His people to listen and be attentive to His promises, and cherish His promise to deliver us from sin just as He delivered His people from Egyptian slavery!
So when you read all of Exodus 19-20 in context, what you find is God promising we will need no other gods before us. By His promises we will not be taking on His name in vain, but will truly be His people. He is promising we will have no need to be unfaithful to our family or mistreat our neighbor for He will take care of us, just like He took care of His people in Egypt and delivered them! What we have in the ten commandments is the gospel itself! God promising to deliver and be the Savior of all who believe His promise to save!