It’s Word Wednesday. Today’s word is: BEFORE. As used in the first commandment. “You shall have no other gods BEFORE me” (Exodus 20:3).
I think it is safe to assume we all have a pretty good idea of what this means. We should put God first, honor Him first, think of Him first. I don’t know about you, but I fall short of this commandment every day. Each day there are things I know I put before Him… but they are for Him so that must count for something, right? I find myself justifying that if the things I am doing are for God, then He understands my heart and all is forgiven.
But last week something changed. Last week I heard something that just won’t leave me alone. My steps throughout the day are being led in uncharted waters by a new understanding of who God is and what He desires. Someone who I respect very much told me that in a word study of this commandment, her mom found that the true meaning is to see God face to face. I did my own little “study” of this and found that the word ‘before’ in this commandment has nothing to do with time and ranking. It has nothing to do with works for God or making Him your number one by building Him alters in your heart. It means to put nothing in God’s sight but you. The word ‘before’ is not in reference to before we do something, we should remember Him first. In this commandment ‘before’ means we shouldn’t bring anything with us when we are with Him (when we are before Him), and we should be with Him always. This is about detaching the world from ourselves, not dragging it along with us. It really does mean to be face to face with Him.
Take a moment to think about that. Face to face with God. He desires you… all of you, with nothing else before Him except for your face. He desires to be able to see you with nothing else between the two of you.This commandment is about relationship and love. It is about intimacy with our Creator. When we put other gods in our sight, we are putting other gods in His sight.
This is what changed for me. I never thought of my gods blocking His view, only mine. I was only thinking of me, which resulted in leaning on my own strength and turning works into religion. This commandment is not just about me doing what is right, this is about God desiring to pour His power upon my life. But if I am placing other gods in front of me, how can He reach me? How can we have true relationship if I am carrying the world on my shoulders as I come before Him? I am blocking his glory from shining brightly upon my face.
Maybe you already have an understanding of what this commandment really means, or maybe like me, it was a little dry and just a golden rule you tried to abide by. Or maybe everything you just read seemed like a bunch of rambling. Either way, this is the first and only true way to have abundance. To be face to face with God. As you go about your day, be mindful of what you put in your sight, because it is His sight too. He desires to see you. He desires to pour His glory upon you. Today, pray that with His strength your eyes would stay fixed on Him, and nothing else. Today, pray that you would bring nothing before Him, except for you. Not just pieces of you, but all of you.