The first of the 10 Commandments declares:
You shall have no other gods before me.
This commandment is the foundation for every other law God gives because this command declares God to be the ultimate foundation for everything else. There are no other gods, therefore we ought not to treat any other person or thing with the same adoration, trust, or respect that we give to God.
It’s good to compliment your spouse or children, but they are not to receive your highest praise. God certainly works through doctors and medicines, but we cannot hold them as our deepest trust. You can read books and go to universities, but God alone is your ultimate source of knowledge. You are to give thanks to your parents and benefactors when they are good to you, but you are to always remember who it is that made your parents, the ground you stand upon, and every star in the farthest flung galaxies.
It’s also important to note that when you break any of commandments 2-10 you are also breaking the first. The man who steals by cheating on his taxes breaks the 8th commandment. But he has also broken the first in loving comfort and possessions more than God. The woman who lies to her friend breaks the 9th commandment. But she also breaks the first because she values the approval of her friend more than the approval of God.
This means idolatry is our fundamental problem—and you need not bow to a stone image to be an idolater—rather all of our failures to trust God wholly and live rightly are, at the root, grasping for gods other than the one true God.
So, hear God’s first command for you: “You shall have no other gods before me.” This reminds us of our need to confess our sin, so let us pray.
We confess that you alone are God and there is none beside you. You are the maker of all that is, and you sustain every living creature by your power and provision.
You made us. You formed us in our mother’s womb. We are the sheep of your pasture. And yet, Father, in our sinfulness we have not always loved and adored you above all else. We have broken your command against loving, serving, and respecting other things and persons in ways that elevate them to the level that only you occupy.
Lord, have mercy on us sinners. We humble ourselves and acknowledge our guilt. And we know if we say “Amen” to this prayer while intending to worship false gods this prayer will have no effect in our lives, so help us now as we silently confess our individual sins to you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.