Put God first (part 6)

Only One God
Another important aspect of putting God first is to worship the One and only true God. Believe it or not there are many false gods which people inadvertently worship instead of the One and only true God. but even if there are so called gods, whether in heaven or on earth as indeed there are many gods and many lords, “There is but one God: the Father, from whom all things came, and for whom we live, and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

Therefore, all credits, glory, honor and gratitude should be directed or channeled to the One and only true God, for to Him all glory and power belong, and it is He who gave to all life breath and everything else, and also in Him we all live , move and have our being.

Unfortunately, however, we do not all channel our praises, glory, honor, and express our grateful thanks to the One and only true God. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, many serve and worship other gods rather than the One and only true God.
The Lord said to the nation of Israel, “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord Himself is God; there is none other beside Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice, that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire” (Deuteronomy 4:32-36).

The rationale for all this was for Israel to consider in their heart, that the Lord Himself is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; and that there is no other besides Him. However, in order for God to distinguish Himself as the One and only true God, and distinguish His people from all others, He made a conditional covenant with them, so that if obeyed, they shall be a special treasure to Him above all people, for all the earth is His. They are to Him a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” Those who obey the covenant are described as, “A chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that they may declare the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once they were not a people, but now they are the people of God; once they had not received mercy, but now they have received mercy” (Exodus 19:5-6, Leviticus 19:30; 26:2; 1 Peter 2:9).

So how do the One and only true God differentiates Himself from all other false gods? The One and only true God differentiate Himself from all other gods by stipulating four (4) important principles for His people to follow.
Please bear in mind that the Sovereign God has revealed Himself only to the children of Israel as Moses explained to the children of Israel saying; “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the LORD our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?

“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the LORD your God in Horeb, when the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children” (Deuteronomy 4:7-10).

Moses further explained to the children of Israel saying; “For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard. Did any people ever hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and live?

“Or did God ever try to go and take for Himself a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD Himself is God; there is none other besides Him. Out of heaven He let you hear His voice that He might instruct you; on earth He showed you His great fire, and you heard His words out of the midst of the fire.

And because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in, to give you their land as an inheritance, as it is this day. 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 4:32-39).

Now these are the four stipulations God gave to the children of Israel and in extension, anyone who believes in Him to differentiate Himself from all other gods, He said:
1. “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
3. “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:2-11).

With regards to the Sabbaths as being the sign to differentiate the One and only true God from all other gods the Lord further said to Moses. “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.
“You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people. Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed” (Exodus 31:13-17).
The word of the Lord came also to the prophet Ezekiel saying. “Thus says the Lord GOD: “On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, I raised My hand in an oath to them, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God. On that day I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, ‘flowing with milk and honey,’ the glory of all lands”.

But most of all, the Lord said; “And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, which, if a man does, he shall live by them. Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. Also, “I am the LORD your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgments, and do them; hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the LORD your God” (Ezekiel 20:5, 6, 11, 12, 19, 20).

Since God has raised His hand in an oath to the children of Israel and one of the most important criterion relating to this oath is the Lord’s Sabbaths to be a sign between them and the Lord, so that they may know that the Lord is their God who sanctifies them, this agreement therefore is immutable, never changing, unalterable, permanent.

Now to those who might assume that this agreement is only between God and the children of Israel and does not pertain to the Gentiles, please be reminded that Gentiles are to glorify God together with His people.
For it is written: “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: “For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles, and sing to Your name.” And again he says: “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!” And again: “Praise the LORD, all you Gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples!” (Romans 15:7-11).

Another important instruction that was stipulated to the children of Israel read as follows: “And if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations, and would present an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD, just as you do, so shall he do. One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.” (Numbers 15:14-16)
Therefore, any other form of worship that is not in accordance to what was stipulated to the children of Israel, is unfortunately being addressed to a false god.

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