The First Commandment


 Luke 6:46:

"But why do you call Me, ' Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?"

This is the first in a series of articles which shall deal with the Ten Commandments.

As mentioned in my previous article; the Ten Commandments are the preamble to the Constitution of the nation of Israel. Any people who come together to form a nation must have laws to live by. The Israelites were no different, and in order for that nation to be successful the laws needed to be agreed upon and followed.

To truly understand the Commandments we must go back to the time when the Israelites were still enslaved. Moses had been chosen by God to be the vehicle He would use to deliver the people. Moses was to be His messenger. So let us see what the message was.

Exodus 6:6:

"Therefore say to the children of Israel: 'I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.' "

Moses speaks this to the people. The message is simple. I will get you out of Egypt and you shall no longer be their slaves, but He also adds one more thing, God promises to "redeem" them. Let us see exactly what that means.  Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says this: 

Redeem:   Comes from the Hebrew word gaal, pronounced gaw-al definition:

To be the next of kin and as such to buy back a relatives property ie: marry his widow as an example, avenger, deliver, to perform the part of near or next of kinsfolk, purchases, ransom, revenger.

By redeeming them God was claiming them as family. God was letting them know who He was and who they were. They were His family, His people and by claiming them as His family He gave them an identity.

Exodus 6:7:

“‘I will take you as my people and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.' "

He was telling them He has the right to redeem them. They are His family, and in the very next verse He tells them that they have a home.

Exodus 6:8:

“‘And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.' "

The pivotal word in this scripture is "heritage".

From the Hebrew word mowrashah, pronounced mo-raw-shaw Strong's defines it as: A possession, heritage, inheritance

In simpler terms He was telling them that they were going home, and He would take them there, because they had property waiting for them.

So here were these slaves. Not Egyptian, but people of another country, another family. They had been enslaved for hundreds of years. Now here comes this man Moses claiming to speak for a God, who claims to be their relative, and who says He has come to redeem them and take them to their land. They said, "Prove it", and God did just that.

After a series of ten extraordinary plagues, the last of which became the Passover, a run through the wilderness, a miraculous sea crossing, bread from heaven, and water from a Rock; they had finally settled down at the foot of Mt. Sinai. The One they had challenged, had proven Himself, and now they were here, in His presence.

Before I continue I must interject a note. God is claiming to be their relative. He does not say how He is related to them other than the fact that He is the Lord their God who has taken them out of bondage. This is very important as you will see later in the article.

We now find Israel at the foot of the mountain in the presence of the One who led them out of Egypt and His first words to them was a reminder.

Exodus 19:4:

"You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself."

He was once again reminding them who He was and what he had done for them. Next comes the bargain.

Exodus 19:5:

"Now therefore if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people; for all the earth is mine."

He is now giving Israel a choice. In order to receive their inheritance they must obey His voice. He is able to keep His part of the bargain because the earth is His. He is letting Israel know that He is more than just a liberator, more than just a relative; He is the Creator of the Earth. You should think of this as a long lost relative who knocks on your door, has all the money in the world, and says, "I am going to take you away from all this."

This brings us to the next step, the reward, their purpose. If Israel does these things what's in it for them.

Exodus 19:6:

"And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." 

So this was the proposal. If you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall have your own kingdom, and be my people. This brings us to the where we came in. The people were to get ready. Let us pick up the story.

Exodus 19:10:

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mt. Sinai in the sight of all the people.' "

The people did as they were instructed and on the third day, as the Lord had promised, He came to the people to finalize the contract. He wanted to know if they would obey His voice and keep His covenant. So again the first thing He does is remind them once more who He is and what He did.

Exodus 20:1-2:

"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 bondage.' "

This was their declaration of Independence and now we come to the very first rule of their constitution; the first Commandment.

Exodus 20:3:

"You shall have no other gods before Me."

Why is this the first commandment? Understand what has taken place. The Israelites know Him as their Lord and Creator; He redeemed them under the law of kinship. He rescued them because they were His relatives. Now the Israelites, as I mentioned earlier did not know how He was related to them, but they knew He was in charge. So the very first rule of the constitution was to stay within the family.

Remember it was their Creator who rescued them; it was His family He freed. If Israel were to place other gods before the Creator, they are in actuality denying who they are. They would be turning their backs on their own family, denying their own identity, and disqualifying themselves from their inheritance.Yet how does this commandment apply to us, Spiritual Israel, in today's times.

John 1:1-3:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. And all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."

I have written before that the One who spoke to the children of Israel in the Old Testament, was the one who came down to earth, and dwelt with men. He was with God, and He was God. There was God and there was the One called the Word, who was also God.

John 1:14:

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

The Word, who became known as Yahoshua, called the One who sent Him, Father, and the Father called the One He sent Son.

Luke 3:22:

"And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, 'You are my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased.' "

Yahoshua is His Son; as are those who have the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:14:

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father'."

As the ancient Israelites were redeemed out of bondage by God; we, as sons of God, have been redeemed by our Lord and Brother Yahoshua. We are to pray to His and our Father.

Matthew 6:9:  

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”

Can you see the importance of the first commandment? To place other gods before our Lord would mean we are denying our Father and Brother. It was family who redeemed ancient Israel, and it was family who redeemed us. For by the very definition of the word one can only be redeemed by a family member. In our case it was our older brother Yahoshua. 

The reward for ancient Israel's obedience was a homeland. They gained their independence and their inheritance. We also have an inheritance. For as the Israelites told their redeemer to prove it at the foot of the mountain. So we told Christ to prove it, and He did, only this time His people are not just freed from the bondage of slavery, but of sin and the finality of death.

Romans 8:17:

"The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children then heirs-heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together."

As heirs to the promise we also have property.  It will be given to us in the form of a Kingdom; The Kingdom of God. We are entitled because we are His children and He is our God, and we have been redeemed through the death and resurrection of our Lord, Savior, and Elder Brother Yahoshua. 

We are commanded; indeed it is the very first command, that we should never put anything, anyone, or any other God before Him. We do this by remembering who it was that brought us out of "Our Egypt" out of "Our house of bondage." which is sin.  The first commandment is our heritage, our identity, our home.

I pray that this article has in some small way helped you. There is so much more to the commandments than meets the eye. Until next time dear reader take care.