Purity Principle

The second of the Commands states that we are not to worship any image nor make an image that is worshiped. This has traditionally been taught that we should avoid idols. True. But there is another meaning. The land that God was giving to Israel was known as Canaan and filled with a idolatrous culture that even sacrificed their children to their gods. Specifically, they had national gods, family gods, and personal gods. Israel was the only people group not to have an image of God that they worshipped. Perhaps as they entered and conquered Canaan, the inhabitance encouraged them to not only have a national god but also family and personal gods.  Specifically, their family gods were the Baals and their personal gods, Asheras. When one studies the history of Israel through the Old Testament they would often turn away from God and begin worshipping the Baals and the Asheras. 
 
(Judges 3:7)The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord;
they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs.
 
The Canaanites also believed that when you carved the image of a god in heaven the spirit of the god would inter the image. One example is when they would take images of the god of fertility into their bed chambers if their desire was to conceive a child. The Bible even states that they were given to sorcery and other mystical and pagan  practices.
 
(Deuteronomy 18:9-11)
When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire (offered their children – the offered them alive – to gods), who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 
or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
 

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Priority Principle

The first command of God is that we are to not have any gods before Him. This must have seemed rather striking for the children of Israel to hear. After all, they had spent the last several houndred years in Egyptian bondage being indoctrinated with their many gods, to now be restricted to one would be astonishing. Don’t forget, before the dust had settled on the commands of God etched into the stone tablets, the Israelites were at the base of the mountain making a golden idol and proclaiming that it had brought them up out of Egypt.
 
It is easy to look at the historical story and scoff at Isreal for their lack of faith and their wickedness. But, are we much different? Do we still not struggle keeping God as the top priority in our hearts? How easily we can place other things “before” Him. Activities, sporting events, children’s athletics, work, leisure, pleasure…the list can go on and on of things that quickly take the top priority in our lives. The reasonings that we come up with to excuse our shifting priorities is only more telling of the mixture of loyalties we carry.
 
We cannot change the past…all we can do is recognize when we have not kept God in the proper place of priority, repent of it, and choose today to correct the priority list in our heart. So, if you were to make out a priority list for your life, would your heart and actions back it up? Keep Him first, and he will take care of the rest.