“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3). This, the first of the Ten Commandments, sets the tone for the other nine. Hard on its heels, the Second Commandment, forbids the worship of idols, and He adds: “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Ex20:5). God will not abide being relegated to first equal or to a close second. Its Him and nothing else. All other gods are man-made ‘nothings’ (1Cor.8:4). You will agree that these ‘nothings’ occupy a lot of space on earth. Go into places of worship around the world and you cannot miss the countless statues and images that both pagans and Christians bow down to. The Christian who bows down to idols says, “These are not gods, they are here to remind me of the one true God.” However, this clearly contravenes the first commandment by breaking the second: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath” (Ex.20:4).
As the Lord’s church leaves the other-side-of-the-tracks well and truly behind in its accounting ledgers, it often leaves the simplicity of its church buildings behind too. You can’t miss the new buildings for what they are—‘Churches’ in the architectural design sense. Much debate has never been had about this. It is usually just accepted as part of a social drift into the upper middle classes. The problem is, of course, that what we surround ourselves with is a clear indication of what we have become. The One True God wants nothing more than our salvation and our dedication to His Kingdom—the church—on earth. His love excites us to love. Our worship and daily service are our acceptable sacrifices to Him. The moment we add something else to be worshiped—in any form—is the day we have other gods before Him. Paul looks to the seat of our wants and desires to expose our ‘other gods’—“Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). I will give the last word to God, through Moses— “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut.6:4-5).