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And God spoke all these words, saying,
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
Then certain of the elders of Israel came to me and sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me: 3 “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them? 4 Therefore speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Any one of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the Lord will answer him as he comes with the multitude of his idols, 5 that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols.
6 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn away your faces from all your abominations. 7 For any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the Lord will answer him myself. 8 And I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 9 And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. 10 And they shall bear their punishment—the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the inquirer shall be alike— 11 that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their transgressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God.”
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider:
1. Take a moment to briefly review the previous lessons (links above). What are some of the major themes we have seen in God’s dealings with Israel so far in the book of Exodus? How does Exodus 20:1-2 serve as an introduction and foundation to the 10 Commandments, showcasing God’s goodness and His right to rule Israel?
2. What does the first Commandment, Exodus 20:3, mean? Is God saying it’s OK for His people to worship other gods as long as He has first place? Compare Exodus 20:3 with Matthew 4:9-10. What did Jesus understand the first Commandment to mean? Where does the temptation to worship other gods come from? Who is ultimately being worshiped when someone worships a false god?
3. Why do you think God made this the first Commandment? How is the first Commandment foundational to every other command or teaching in Scripture? Can you keep the first Commandment while breaking another biblical command? Why or why not?
4. How was Israel breaking the first Commandment in the Ezekiel 14 passage? How did God respond to their attempt to approach Him as their God while still embracing their foreign gods? (8-10) How did this impact their relationship with God? (5,7,11) What did God say the people should do? (6) What would be the result of Israel’s repentance from idolatry? (5,11)
5. In the Matthew 19 passage, which Commandments did Jesus tell the rich young ruler he should keep? (18-19) Which Commandments did Jesus not mention? Were the Commandments Jesus mentioned from the first or second table of the Law? How did the rich young ruler demonstrate that he was unwilling to keep the first Commandment? (20-22) What was his god? How did Peter’s response (27) to Christ differ from the rich young ruler’s response? How did the disciples keep the first Commandment by giving up everything to follow Christ?
6. In what ways do we break the first Commandment today? What are some other “gods” we love and dedicate ourselves to before, or in addition to, Christ? Review the questions in #4. How do these principles apply to Christians today? Think over all that Christ has done for you. How is it an act of worship and thanks to Him to keep the first Commandment?
Give this song a listen. Could you sing these lyrics truthfully? In what ways does it exemplify the first Commandment? Are you breaking the first Commandment in any areas of your heart and life? Repent and receive Christ’s forgiveness.