Lesson 51: Priority Claim

The first commandment is Thou shalt have none other gods but me. And My duty towards God is to believe in him, to fear him, and to love him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and with all my strength. All of which you can put into fewer words by saying “I owe it to God to put him first on all days and in all ways”; or shorter still by “I owe it to God to love him.”

The Israelites, to whom God first gave the commandments (Exodus 20) because they were then his chosen race, were to be different from every other nation in believing him to be the one and only God. Other people believed in many gods and goddesses (of the sun, of die sea, of the harvest, of the rivers, of the dead, etc., etc.): they drew pictures, and made images of them, as men and women, sometimes as animals and birds (you can see some of their pictures in the British Museum): before these images of stone and wood they worshipped: the queer-looking man in the sort of chef's hat in this week's picture is the Egyptian god Amen, who was said to be the father of all the gods and goddesses. But God’s first order was that all these were false gods; that he alone was the One True God.

Nowadays people do not worship Amen (or Jupiter, Mars - which isn’t something you buy at a sweet-shop - Diana, Venus): but it is possible for people to be so fond of Guinness’ Stout (although it is “good for you”), playing cards for money, nice clothes, games, music, sleep, (and many other things), that they think them more important than anything else. If they do they are making false gods of them, and break the first commandment.

It is not wrong to go to The Nag’s Head for a drink, to have a game of Nap, to wear pretty clothes, to be keen on games and dancing, and so on; provided you keep all these things in their proper place, put God first and love him with the whole of you (heart, mind, soul, strength).