The exhortation delivered by Pastor Phillips at Holy Trinity on May 13, 2018.

“And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me’” (Exodus 20:1-3).

After reminding Israel of their deliverance from Egypt, God gave them His first commandment: You shall have no other gods before me. Egypt was a polytheistic culture – they had many gods. And so, having been delivered from Egypt, Israel needed to settle in their minds that they had but one true God.

But, having another god is not simply a matter of actively practicing some other religion or of bowing down to a graven image. It is often subtler, simpler, and more deceptive than that. The wording of the first commandment literally reads, “You shall have no other gods before My face.” In other words, there is to be nothing else between us and the Lord our God.

It can be helpful to think of this in a physical way - an object obstructing our view, literally coming between us and the Lord.

Given that word picture, it becomes somewhat clearer that the possibilities for idols are seemingly endless – work, money, our over-filled schedules, and sometimes even family and friendships. Even these good things can be wrongly loved in such a way that they are placed between us and the face of the Lord.

What keeps you away from the face of God? Are there things between you and the face of God? May God help settle in our minds that we have but one true God. We are His people. We too have been called out of “Egypt.” Let us confess our sins...