September 5, 2010
Reserved for God Alone
“Therefore know this day, and consider it in your heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other” (Deuteronomy 4:39).
God’s uniqueness is absolute. God alone is God – self-existent, eternal, and uncreated. And because of God’s uniqueness, we are to deal with God in a way that is unlike our manner of dealing with anything else: God alone is to be worshiped. The very first of the Ten Commandments was, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). It has always been wrong to give God’s preeminence to anything other than God, God’s self.
There is an obvious tendency, however, for us to do this. Perhaps because God is unseen by our physical eyes, God does not seem as real to us, and it is hard to keep the things that we can see from creeping higher up on our scale of priorities than they should be.
If we’re not vigilant, one or another of these tangible things can climb so high in our hearts that it displaces God as our ultimate concern. Long after this has happened, we may still be saying that God is the only object of our worship, but the degree of time and enthusiasm that we devote to our “idol” is indisputable evidence that God is no longer the most important thing in our life.
It will help us to make some conscious decisions about the priority of God. Whatever things are to be given to God, we must reserve those things for God. We should, in the words of the hymn by E. R. Latta, “render not to any other, what alone the Lord’s should be.”
Decisions about such priorities are best made ahead of time rather than “on the fly.” If we wait until the moment of temptation to decide whether we will honor God, then our temptations may prove to be our undoing. When Jesus was tempted to worship the devil, His response was swift: “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’” (Matthew 4:10). It seems obvious that Jesus had not waited until this moment to decide whom He would worship. Like Him, we need to chisel this conviction in stone: “the Lord Himself is God . . . there is no other.”
“God is truly worshiped when someone actually gives full attention to God with feelings of awe, love, devotion, respect, and wonder. Such a moment is genuine worship. It is idolatrous to think and feel this way about anything other than God” (Guigo I).