I am a multitasker. Sometimes this is to my credit- I can change a diaper, while simultaneously maintaining a professional phone conversation and silently directing my other child to stop performing whatever death-defying task he is currently attempting. More often, it is my downfall or at least tears at my sanity- I will start 10 tasks simultaneously, finishing 2 and leaving me the world’s messiest desk and administrative assistants that hate walking into my office. In the world’s eyes, divided attention can be a virtue or vice, but what about God’s eyes?
The first commandment that God gives the nation of Israel is “You shall have no other Gods before me.” To the English-speaking reader, this almost sounds as if we can have other Gods as long as God is #1, but it actually means the opposite. “Before me” or “before my face” means strictly “side by side with me” or as we would more commonly put it “in addition to me.” This instruction makes so much sense in the context of where Israel had come from (Egpyt) and where they were going (Cannan). Both were polytheistic, encouraging God’s people that they didn’t have to abandon Him, but could supplement Him with their gods– the very thing that they would do.
In the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings, we find both political and spiritual evaluations of the kings of Israel. It reads like a parade of good and bad kings. The nation of Israel worships God but not how He directed, and often not ONLY God. 2 Kings 17:33a hit me hard when I first read it: “They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods.”
When I think of the cultural Christianity pervasive in America, especially the Southern portion, I wonder if this is not an apt description.
What fills that blank for you? What are you trusting in during this time? What are you investing in? What do you value? What is the thing that if God asked you to let it go, you’d refuse?
God and family.
God and career.
God and money.
God and relationships.
God and prestige.
God and power.
You can never fully trust God if you insist on also trusting something or someone else. Search scripture: your spouse, your kids, your job, your church, your pastor, your wealth, your politics, yourself will all fail you. The only thing that is certain – the only one who is true – the only one who will always only want the best for you is God. (Side note: God’s best isn’t health, wealth, and prosperity. Sometimes it is the opposite because that’s what is necessary to draw you to Him.)
Remember that having no other gods before GOD means in addition to… meaning that God and here is really a God or. We can only have God or something else to love and trust. Having other gods means not serving God. Trusting in yourself or any other created thing leaves no room to trust your Creator. I can divide my attention among tasks, but I cannot divine my heart or my worship.
God had earned my undivided trust.
God deserves my undivided attention.
God requires my undivided worship.
God and nothing else.