Do not entertain thoughts of other gods besides G-d

The Literal Commandment

You shall have no other gods before Me. (Exodus 20:3)

 

The literal commandment is that we should have no other gods before Him.  Does this mean that we can have other gods after Him?  By no means!  We are to recognize no entity as G-d except for Him.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah affirmed the commandment "do not entertain thoughts of gods other than G-d" when He said:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

 

Since Messiah told us that we will to worship G-d in spirit and in truth (John 4:23) we should not even entertain the untruthful thought that there are other gods besides the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  We are to know this day and take to our heart that the LORD, He is G-d in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. (Deuteronomy 4:39)

 

Pictures of Messiah

How does this commandment picture Messiah?  Messiah declared that the Father sent Him (John 5:36) and that He came to do the will of the One who sent Him (John 5:30).  In doing so, He revealed the truth that there is only One.  There are no demi-gods, no goddesses, and no other beings like the inconceivable and unfathomable G-d.  This truth was in Messiah and He lived to reveal that truth.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah did not entertain thoughts of other gods besides G-d.  Messiah was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:8-10) to entertain the thought that the devil was a god and to worship him.  Messiah rejected that lie and responded with the truth of Deuteronomy 6:13:

"You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth."  (Deuteronomy 6:13-15)

 

Why is this so?  Because those so-called "gods" are not gods at all!

As Messiah fulfilled this commandment, so, too, should we not even entertain the lying thought that there are other gods besides G-d.

 

Traditional Observance

The traditional observance of this commandment is in accordance with the literal meaning.  If one has a thought that there are other gods besides G-d then that thought is dismissed and considered false.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and we should not entertain thoughts of other gods besides G-d.

 

A personal challenge

Many of us might look at this commandment and say "I know there is only one G-d so I am not tempted to entertain thoughts of other gods besides Him.  This is not a problem sin for me."  We should be cautious, however, that we do not elevate ourselves to the position of "another god" by somehow vetoing G-d's commandments. 

How often have we justified our actions with words like these: "Yes, I know G-d said 'x' but it doesn't really mean 'x' so I can do what I want" or "I know G-d will forgive me so it is OK that I do 'x' if I want."

Aren't we entertaining the thought that somehow we are in a position above G-d (elevating ourselves to being another "god") and essentially declaring "my will be done"?

May we flee from such sin and yield to the will of the one true G-d of all Creation!

 

A literal interpretation 

The original Hebrew words in Exodus 20:3 are literally translated as "You have no other gods before me."  It is not just a commandment but a statement of fact!

Some interpreters have translated this verse as "You shall have no other gods before Me."  Does G-d mean that it is OK to have other gods as long as they don't come before Him?  Does that mean as long as we have other gods next to or after G-d then that is OK?

May it never be!

G-d addresses this issue through the words of the prophet Isaiah and informs us clearly that there are no other gods.

"I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other... (Isaiah 45:5-6)

 

Thus says the LORD, "The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, Will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: 'Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.'"  (Isaiah 45:14)

 

"Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.  Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:21-22)

 

"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it. (Isaiah 46:9-11)

 

As it is written

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.  (1 Timothy 1:17)

 

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Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 2
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 1
  • Mishneh Torah Book Knowledge
  • Mishneh Torah Category 1- The Foundations of Torah
  • Reference Exodus 20:3
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 20
  • Verse 3
  • English You shall have no other gods before Me.
  • Hebrew לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים, עַל-פָּנָי.
  • Greek 3 οὐκ ἔσονταί σοι θεοὶ ἕτεροι πλὴν ἐμοῦ. --
  • Parashah 17- Yitro
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 26
  • Sef. Hach. Command To believe in no divinity but G-d
  • Category G-d
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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