Sometimes when people read the first commandment—You will have no other gods before me—they see it as an ego statement by God. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Believe it or not, that commandment is given out of God’s great mercy.
Scientists talk about something having “atomic weight.” This means an object has to be of sufficient size and mass to provide the gravity that holds everything else in place.
Without the gravitational pull of the sun, all of the planets in our solar system would be lost to deep space.
Another word for glory is “weight.”
What God’s saying in the first commandment is that He’s the only One who has the necessary “atomic weight” to hold our lives in their proper orbit. Without Him in the center of our lives, everything spins out of control.
God tells us there’s no one and nothing else that’s strong enough to put in the center of our lives. Nothing but Him can hold it all together. So, even the first commandment is a gift.
It’s a gentle, but powerful reminder that without God in the center of our lives, everything just spins out of control.
When I was growing up in Huntsville, Alabama, everybody’s dad worked on Redstone Arsenal (well, that’s the way it seemed). Everybody’s dad (and even some moms) was an engineer — and a really smart one at that!
To this day, Huntsville has more engineers per capita than anywhere else in America.
As you can imagine, a lot of us felt pressure to do well in school. Smart people were always recognized in our school programs. These were the people who were going to change the world.
Not so fast. . .while a lot of my friends ended up doing well, a lot of them didn’t.
As smart as they were with computers, math, engineering — they were equally inept in things like relationships, managing money, and taking care of the small things that make life livable.
It’s not enough to be smart, is it?
It’s not enough to know a bunch of facts or be able to retain a lot of information. We have to know how to apply that information to our lives in meaningful ways.
The Bible talks about wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply the teachings of Jesus to how we live our lives. Knowing the teachings of Jesus isn’t enough. These teachings have to be lived out in real life.
“Don’t be just hearers of the word,” James warns us, “but doers.”
The real test isn’t how well you can do on the test, but how well you live your life.
That’s the difference between being smart and being wise.
Jesus never said bad things wouldn’t happen. In fact, He said we’d deal with hurt and suffering. However, He promised He’d never leave us—that nothing would stop Him from doing what He set out to do. There’s hope in His resurrection.