Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
The picture above is glimpse of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Those of you who know me well know that I am a huge Razorback fan. I must admit this time of year is so exciting for me because I love watching NCAA football and deer hunting. Summer is wonderful, but as we approach fall I cannot help but get excited over gearing up for two of my passions – football and hunting.
However, as I think about these two hobbies in my life there is a sharp reminder about the first commandment God gave in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.”. As much as I love hunting and football I can honestly say they are things I just really enjoy. I also know that I really enjoy them because they are times that I get to spend with special people in my life such as my son and father.
So, why all the talk about the first commandment of the Ten Commandments and sports? Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere in a cave there can be no doubt that sports ( such as football, hunting, and many others ) have been elevated to a place that should only be reserved for God Himself. In this we see THE PROBLEM of sports becoming a “god” in America today. There’s hardly a distinction between the Church and the secular world when it comes to this arena of conversation. Many churches will have missing members on Sundays because of kids being required to participate in games scheduled during church times. Others will miss because the game will start before the church service lets out. It does not make any difference to God whether it’s a professional sport or a little league game. The “god” of sports has become a problem and the church has not been immune.
GOD’S POSITION on the whole thing is pretty clear all throughout Scripture. However, if there were no other verses in the Bible about the subject we cannot ignore what Exodus 20:3 says. “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Is a pretty clear cut stance on how God feels about ANYTHING that would be put in His rightful place. This verse has to deal with the object of our worship. Who or what do we worship? Most of us would simply and quickly say, “we worship God”. Is that the real truth? What or who is the real object of our worship – money, school, career, family, children, friends, video games, clothes, sports?? All of these things will compete for our affections and our worship. The Egyptians and the neighboring people of that land had many gods that they worshipped. Their worship of other gods was their main transgression ( sin ). It was a battle for them, and we are no different in America today, but God is clear on His view. He is to be the object of our worship. He is to be the object of our affections too.
God is clear on His position. We cannot deny there is a problem, and the struggle is manifested within OUR PASSION. We all know what it’s like to be passionate about something. My friends would describe me as being passionate about my wife, my children, Razorback football, hunting and fishing. Those things are fine, but that is not what I hope to be known as most passionate about. I would rather be known as being passionate for Jesus Christ, and for spreading the Good News of His Gospel. What we are passionate about will show. America shows great passion for baseball and apple pie. The South shows great passion for Elvis and Bar-B-Que. Texas shows enthusiastic passion for A&M football and beef brisket. In themselves, these things are fine, but the problem is that so many of these things have become false gods to billions of people day after day.
May we be humble enough to re-examine our lives and evaluate who or what is the real object of our worship and affection today!