The First Commandment: You Shall Have No Other God’s Before Me

What Is The First Commandment In The 10 Commandments?

In Deuteronomy 5:7, Moses told the Israelites that the first commandment given by God was “You shall have no other gods before me.”

It is the first commandment because it sets the foundation for all of the other commandments that follow. This commandment teaches us that we should worship and serve only one God, and not put any other gods or objects above Him.

The First Commandment In Context

In context, God was speaking to the Israelites who had just been freed from slavery in Egypt. During their time in Egypt, they had been exposed to and influenced by the polytheistic beliefs and practices of the Egyptians. Therefore, it was important for God to establish Himself as the one true God and for His people to understand that He alone should be worshipped.

This commandment also emphasizes the importance of having a personal relationship with God. By putting Him first and above all else, we are acknowledging His power and authority in our lives and choosing to have a deep connection with Him.

Applying First Commandment Today

We may not be tempted to worship physical idols today like the Israelites were. Nonetheless, this commandment is still relevant and applicable to our lives.

Putting God First In Our Lives

We are often bombarded with distractions and things that can easily take the place of God in our hearts.

For some, it may be material possessions or success. For others, it may be relationships or social status. Whatever it may be, the first commandment serves as a reminder for us to keep God as our top priority and not let anything or anyone else take His place.

In Psalm 81:9, God says, “You shall have no foreign god among you; you shall not worship any god other than me.” This verse shows that even in today’s modern society, where we are exposed to a multitude of beliefs and ideologies, it is still important for us to remain faithful to the first commandment.

Choosing To Serve God

The first commandment also teaches us the importance of actively choosing to serve and worship God. It is not enough to simply acknowledge that He exists, we must actively choose to put Him first in our lives and follow His commandments.

In Joshua 24:15, Joshua declares to the Israelites, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Just like Joshua, we must make a conscious decision every day to serve and follow God.

How Do We Obey The First Commandment?

So what does it look like practically to obey the first commandment? How do we put God first above all else?

Here are some simple ways:

Read And Obey The Bible

The Bible is God’s word to us and it contains His commandments and teachings for our lives. By reading and obeying the Bible, we are putting God first in our thoughts and actions.

In Psalm 119:105, it says, “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” This verse shows us that the Bible is not just a book of rules and regulations, but it is a guide for our daily lives.

James 1:22 also reminds us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” It is not enough to just read the Bible, we must also obey and apply its teachings in our lives.

Pray And Seek God’s Will

In order to put God first in our lives, we must also communicate with Him through prayer. We should seek His guidance and will for our lives, rather than relying on our own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” As we trust in God and seek His will, He will guide us in the right direction.

Prioritize Church and Fellowship

Another way to put God first is by prioritizing church and fellowship with other believers. Hebrews 10:25 urges us, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

Attending church and being in fellowship with other believers helps us grow spiritually, encourages us to live according to God’s word, and supports us in our walk with God.

Serve Others

Jesus showed us the ultimate example of putting God first by serving others. In Mark 10:45, Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” We are called to follow in His footsteps and serve others as well.

Serving others not only shows love and compassion, but it also allows us to glorify God through our actions. As we put the needs of others before our own, we are putting God first in our lives.

Be a Good Steward

Lastly, putting God first also means being a good steward of all that He has blessed us with. This includes our time, talents, and resources. As 1 Peter 4:10 states, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

We are called to use our gifts and resources for the glory of God and to further His kingdom. This requires us to be mindful of how we use our time and talents, using them to serve others and spread God’s love.

Bible Verses Related To The First Commandment

There are numerous Bible verses that help further explain what the first commandment means. Some of those verses include:

  • Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”
  • Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
  • Mark 12:30 – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
  • Joshua 24:15 – “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
  • Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
  • Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Prayer For Obedience To The First Commandment

Dear God,

Thank you for being the one and only true God. I pray that you would help me to always put you first in my life, above all else.

Please reveal to me any idols or distractions that may be taking your place in my heart.

Help me to use my time, talents, and resources for your glory and to serve others as a reflection of your love.

Give me the strength and discipline to resist any temptation to put anything or anyone above you.

I pray that my heart would always be fully devoted to you, and that I would love you with all my heart, soul, and mind.

Thank you for your grace and forgiveness when I fall short, and thank you for teaching me the importance of obedience to your first commandment.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

This prayer serves as a reminder and commitment to always put God above all else in our lives. It is a reflection of the first commandment and emphasizes the importance of having a devoted heart towards God. As we strive for obedience to this commandment, let us also remember His grace and forgiveness when we fall short.

May our lives be a reflection of His love and may we always serve Him wholeheartedly. So, let us continue to serve the Lord with all our heart and give Him the glory in everything that we do.

Hey, I'm Stephen Altrogge. I'm a dad and published author. I've written for The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, ERLC, Church Leaders, Crosswalk, and many more outlets. You can follow me on Instagram and Facebook .

2 thoughts on “The First Commandment: You Shall Have No Other God’s Before Me”

  1. What a profound exploration of the first commandment! Your breakdown of its context and relevance for today’s world is both enlightening and inspiring. It’s a powerful reminder to keep God at the center of our lives and to prioritize Him above all else.

    If you’re seeking further insights into biblical teachings and how they apply to our daily lives, I encourage you to check out this YouTube channel, Together, let’s delve deeper into God’s word and discover the richness of His truth. ?? #FaithJourney #BiblicalWisdom #YouTubeFaithCommunity

  2. This comprehensive exploration of the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me,” is truly insightful and enriching. Your detailed analysis not only elucidates the historical context in which this commandment was given but also provides relevant applications for contemporary life.

    I appreciate how you emphasize the foundational role of this commandment, serving as a bedrock for all subsequent commandments and guiding principles. Your insights into the temptation to prioritize worldly distractions over our relationship with God resonate deeply, reminding us of the ongoing relevance of this commandment in our daily lives.

    Furthermore, your practical suggestions for obeying the first commandment, such as reading and obeying the Bible, prioritizing prayer, fellowship, and service, offer tangible steps for individuals to deepen their commitment to God. These actionable steps empower readers to actively incorporate the principles of the first commandment into their lives.

    Additionally, your inclusion of relevant Bible verses and a heartfelt prayer for obedience adds depth and spiritual resonance to your message, reinforcing the importance of wholehearted devotion to God.

    Overall, your blog post serves as a valuable resource for individuals seeking to understand and apply the significance of the first commandment in their lives. Thank you for sharing such thoughtful and impactful insights.


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