“You shall have no other gods before[a] me.” (Exodus 20:3)
God wanted to start right off by telling Israel and those who have chosen to follow Him today that He is to be our one and only God. In Old Testament times, people would worship many gods (none of which could actually do anything for them). These gods would be made of wood or stone (if you were lucky). People would buy them from vendors in the city, take them home, set them up and randomly start worshiping them for absolutely no reason.
God didn’t want any of that from his chosen people then and he doesn’t want that from us now. This is God who created us, sent his son Jesus to die (and then be raised from the dead) for our sins so that one day we would choose to have a relationship with Him after He worked so hard to make it possible for us. God is absolutely madly in love with us. He wants to mold and shape us to be more like Him. God wants a relationship with us. How does that happen? By spending time with Him, getting to know Him, and learning what pleases him.
When we get distracted and turn our attention elsewhere it causes God to become jealous (and rightfully so…because He’s God). This jealousy is like that of a faithful, loving husband who has found out that his wife is continuously cheating on him…yet he loves her anyway because she is his wife…but he still wants attention really badly…because he is her husband.
You may say “but I don’t buy idols made of wood and worship them.” Of course not, that’s just stupid…but the concept still exists. The idols have just changed.
Do you find yourself spending all your time on the internet to the point that you don’t read your Bible? When the new phone comes out, do you have to upgrade right away? Do you spend more Sundays on the field than in Church? Do you find yourself spending every afternoon in the mall?
These are just a few examples. There are more, and there are certainly things I need to work on too. I’m not perfect, but by God’s grace I can become better at the things that please him. So can you.
Just to clarify, It’s not bad to have cellphones, go to sports games, or go on the internet, or hang out with friends. It’s fine to have things and do stuff. It’s when the things and the stuff take the that place of such high importance that should be reserved for God, and God alone that they become modern day idols.
God loves you, He wants to get to know you, and for you to know him. We all need to make time for Him in our busy lives. Most of us don’t spend enough time paying attention and listening to Him. That’s what He wants.
Adam and Eve had many conversations with God. He wants the same with us, but we need to make time for it. This could mean not worrying about some of the other things that clog up our lives. Sometimes it feels like a sacrifice at first, but as with any friendship, it’s worth it.