“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”Exodus 20:3
The first commandment God gave to Moses was the one listed above. Moses was to convey to the children of Israel that they were not to have any gods before the True God. They were not to put anything in front of God or replace Him in their lives with other things that would take the place of God. I have often looked at this commandment and pictured idols, statues, and other things the Israelites may have been tempted with, but I have failed to see my own shortcomings in this area when I place the gods in my life over the true God.
I have loved sports since I was a young boy. I don’t remember exactly when my love affair started with sports, but we have had a long relationship. I believe the only reason I learned to read was so that I could read the sports page of the newspaper. I loved to read about sports, play sports, and watch sports. I was a die hard Phoenix Suns fan, and I still am a die hard Arizona State University Sun Devil fan. I would watch the games and my attitude would go up and down depending on how my favorite team was doing. When my team lost, I was devastated, and it would literally ruin my day. I was a bear to deal with if my favorite team did not win the game.
I remember one particular game in which the ASU Sun Devils were playing the #7 ranked Oregon Ducks. We were up on the Ducks 21-7 and things were going good and we seemed destined for a win. In true fashion, our coach made some questionable calls down the stretch, and Oregon was able to tie the game and the game went into overtime. It was a double overtime thriller, but we lost a game we had no business losing, and I was absolutely crushed as I thought there was no way we would lose that game. I was not happy and went into a deep funk. I walked into my bedroom and laid down while the sun was setting. I did not turn on the light, and I did not go to sleep but I simply just laid there trying to fathom what had just happened. I laid there for hours staring at the ceiling trying to keep my sanity and not blow a gasket. I am not sure a game ever affected me that much, but I was in a depressed state.
It’s amazing what a silly game can do to you when you allow it to become a god in your life. A game that was meant for entertainment had now become so important that I lay motionless on my bed as my heart was crushed. I did not notice it at the time, but sports had been a god in my life for a long time. I did not know the intricate details of my Bible, but I did know most people on the Sun Devil football team. I did not hate sin, but I sure hated when my Sun Devils lost. I could not wait for Saturday to come so I could watch my team, but I complained about having to drag my carcass out of bed to go to church. We often don’t realize the things that take the place of God as they are subtle and they seem to be things everyone else seems to love as well. We cannot tolerate to be without them and a lot of our time goes to that which we find most valuable.
Where are you today friend? What have you allowed to take the place of God? What do you love most? Do you love the Lord your God, or do you skip your time with Him so you can spend time with someone or something else? Do you love your own reputation more than you love being honest with Him and getting things right with Him? The Ten Commandments are not the “Ten Suggestions”, but they are commands God fully expects us to obey. Will you put God first place in your life or will you continue to seek that which will never satisfy? Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Seek Him first in all things as He is the only One who can truly satisfy, and the only one worthy of our adoration.