Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


God's Excellency: No Other Gods

Rich...this would be the second part of those rather haphazard thoughts I'd promised.

There, at the beginning of Exodus 20, lies the first commandment: "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me." The very thought that God would make a law like this one is often met with a smirk; such a statement from God seems antiquated, quaint, even foolish. This is due in no small part to the misunderstanding and ignorance of God, the One whose very character, very existence, demands such adoration. Man was made for God, and not to fill a void within God or His existence, but to point to Him.

For anyone save God to give this command would be utterly unthinkable and vain. Yet, our so-called advanced culture frowns upon anyone, no matter who they are, to claim precedence before another. In fact, in this day and age, the esteemed but often skewed virtue of humility would require an intelligent person to at least pay lip-service to foregoing the honor they may think they deserve. To one degree or another, sane men and women realize that we don't really deserve the honors and accolades we receive, and therefore, it rankles and infuriates to no end to even contemplate a God that would allow bad things to happen to good people. It gets worse when we realize that this same God not only allows such catastrophes to occur, but that He orchestrates them to His glory.

This road of contemplation is one we find ourselves walking because we've forgotten the very first commandment. If Man understood that God is the God who is here, who is worthy of praise, who is ignored and sinned against again and again and again, would Man even begin to question the pains of this world? Yes, still Man would, but those pains would be seen afresh, seen truly.

It would be easy to pick on those who visibly taunt God, but what of myself? Am I any less guilty, any less willing to set up something else in place of God if given but a moment of opportunity? While it is in the very nature of sinful Man to spurn God, it becomes clear that it is due to the infinite worth and value of God that merely ignoring His beauty and glory is tantamount to attempting to set oneself up in His stead, and not just something else. Why? Simply put, God is worthy of glory, honor, and praise...all of it! How, humanly speaking, it is the height of vanity to call attention to oneself in such a way; this is because such praise does not belong to us. Yet, all such glory, honor, and praise does belong to God! It would, therefore, actually be unrighteous of Him to direct praise elsewhere, or allow it to be. What makes this truth immeasurably joyful is that praise the God who deserves such praise is not an act of vanity, but one of joy!

If all of this sounds like nonsense, allow me to make it real.

I remember seeing several of my closest friends get married over the past few years. Scott, Andrew, each of their weddings, I saw a sides of them I'd only glimpsed before. As their respective brides walked toward them, they looked happier than I'd ever seen them before. Now, I don't know what they said to their brides on their wedding days, but I know it wasn't something like this: "Hey, you look just ok." No loving bridegroom, in seeing the beauty of his bride as she walked toward him down the aisle, ever would think it righteous to say to her, "You look just ok." No! If she is as beautiful as he thinks she is, he will make a fool of himself to let her know this! In fact, all of his friends would prove themselves as his friends by ensuring that he did so!

So it ought to be as we behold the beauty of the Almighty; yet, it is not. This is why the Holy One of Israel commands us to put all other gods before Him! This is not a restriction of joy, but a command to embrace it! It is no small penalty, therefore, to spurn such a worthwhile pursuit. Indeed, it took nothing less than the death of God the Son to grant the surpassing grace of beholding Him in rapturous, joyful glory as we praise Him...forever.

In reflecting upon what I just typed out, I suppose it helps to realize that we, as stupid people, often ask the wrong questions. Don't get me wrong, the questions of suffering and innocent deaths are legitimate, and need to be asked. Nobody who asks a question about whom they can blame wants to hear that they themselves are to blame, right? And nobody wants to hear that the things they love aren't really all that lovely, do they?

posted by Bolo | 12:23 AM
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