The premise upon which the ten commandments are given is “I am the Lord your God.” God starts with his identity as the personal Father God of Israel. He rescued them from the land of slavery. We, likewise, have been rescued and our freedom should be reverent…
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.”
Exodus 20:1-5, 20
I think you could almost insert a ‘therefore’ in between verse 2 and 3. Therefore, you shall have no other gods before me. Therefore, you should not make and worship any idols.
I am a jealous God.
The people were afraid of God, who thundered on the mountain. Moses was quick to frame the event for them: the purpose is that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.
If we simply think about the situation here and what Israel saw before them, it stands to reason that they would have a sense of fear and would be careful to not sin. However, we know from reading the story that they do sin.
And so do we.
I figure that every one of the ten commandment sins was being committed within the people of Israel when Moses brought God’s word to them. They knew clearly what he was talking about. And it’s no different today. People sin.
The fear of God gives way to the gods we make for ourselves:
Temporary satisfaction, thrill, pride, materialism, our stomachs. These things can easily shoulder God out from the centre-place of our lives.
So go back to verse 1. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” He rescued us.
We are free from sin because God led us out of sin into a life of freedom. Remember that in order to save us God allowed his Son to be killed. Start each day with a sense of reverence which propels you in following Jesus and rejecting other gods.