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Ten Values That Build Strong Families – The First Commandment, Part 2

3 “Never have any other god.   4 Never make your own carved idols or statues that represent any creature in the sky, on the earth, or in the water.   5 Never worship them or serve them…(Exodus 20:3-5a) [1]

The First Commandment


You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.[2]



[1]“You shall have no other gods.”

That is, you shall regard me alone as your God.  What does this mean, and how is it to be understood?  What is it to have a god?  What is God?

[2]Answer:  A god is that to which we look for all good and in which we find refuge in every time of need.  To have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe him with our whole heart.  As I have often said, the trust and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol.  If your faith and trust are right, then your God is the true God.  On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you have not the true God.  For these two belong together, faith and God.  That to which your heart clings and entrusts itself is, I say, really your God.

[3]The purpose of this commandment, therefore, is to require true faith and confidence of the heart, and these fly straight to the one true God and cling to him alone.  The meaning is: ‘See to it that you let me alone be your God, and never seek another.”  In other words:  “Whatever good thing you lack, look to me for it and seek it from me, and whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, come and cling to me.  I am the one who will satisfy you and help you out of every need.  Only let your heart cling to no one else.”

[14]We lay hold of him when our heart embraces him and clings to him.  To cling to him with all our heart is nothing else than to entrust ourselves to him completely.  He wishes to turn us away from everything else, and to draw us to himself, because he is the one, eternal good.

[21]Idolatry does not consist merely of erecting an image and praying to it.  It is primarily in the heart, which pursues other things and seeks help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils.  It neither cares for God nor expects good things from him sufficiently to trust that he wants to help, nor does it believe that whatever good it receives comes from God.

[22]There is, moreover, another false worship.  This is the greatest idolatry that has been practiced up to now, and it is still prevalent in the world…It concerns only that conscience which seeks help, comfort, and salvation in its own works and presumes to wrest heaven from God.

[24]We are to trust in God alone and turn to him, expecting from him only good things; for it is he who gives us body, life, food, drink, nourishment, health, protections, peace, and all temporal and eternal blessings.  It is he who protects us from evil, he who saves and delivers us when any evil befalls.  It is God, alone, I have often enough repeated, from whom we receive all that is good and by whom we are delivered from all evil.

[28]Let everyone, then take care to magnify and exalt this commandment above all things and not make light of it.  Search and examine your own heart thoroughly and you will find whether or not it clings to God alone.  Do you have the kind of heart that expects from him nothing but good, especially in distress and want, and renounces and forsakes all that is not God?  Then you have the one true God.  On the contrary, does your heart cling to something else from which it hopes to receive more good and help than from God, and does it flee not to him when things go wrong?  Then you have an idol, another god.[3]

                                                                             Two Principles


“Idolize” - to ____________________ something more than God.

“For your own good ... don't sin by making an idol in any form at all.”  Deuteronomy 4:15-16 (GN)


        1.  Idols will ______________________________

        “...those who make idols are disillusioned because the gods they make are false and lifeless.”   Jeremiah 10:14 (GN)

        “What's the use of an idol?  It's only something a man has made.  What good does it do ... to trust it?” Habakkuk 2:18 (GN)

        2.  Idols will ______________________________

        “... (before you knew Christ) you were controlled by dead idols, who always led you astray.”  1 Corinthians 12:2 (GN)

        3.  Idols will ______________________________

        “Those who make idols will become like them, and so will those who trust in them.”  Psalm 115:8 (GN)

        “They worshiped worthless things and became worthless themselves.”  Jeremiah 2:5 (GN)


        “Worship” -- to give my highest ___________________________

        “(Many) exchange the truth about God for a lie; they worship and serve what God has created instead of the Creator himself!”  Romans 1:25 (GN)

                                              The Benefits of Worshiping Only God

              1.  IT ______________________________ (fulfillment)

              “Seek your happiness in the Lord and He will give you your heart's desire.  Psalm 37:4 (GN)

              “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”     Romans 10:11 (GN)

              2.  IT ______________________________ (freedom)

              Jesus said, “If you obey my teaching ... you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

              “If the Son sets you free, you will be really free.” John 8:36

              3.  IT ______________________________ (maturity)

              “As the Spirit of the Lord works with us, we become more and more like Him.”  2 Corinthians 3:18b (LB)

              “We arrive at maturity -- that measure of development which is meant by ‘the fullness of Christ.’”     Ephesians 4:13-15 (Phillips)

        “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.” Colossians 1:5


[1]God’s Word to the Nations Bible Society, (Grand Rapids, MI: World Publishing) 1997.

[2]Luther, Martin, Luther’s Small Catechism with Explanation, (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House) 1998 c1986.

[3]Luther, Martin, The Large Catechism of Dr. Martin Luther, The Book of Concord, translated and edited by Theodore G. Tappert (Philadelphia: Fortress Press) 1959.

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