God desires to be first in the lives of all who seek to follow him.
In the Old Testament Moses wrote, “For thou shalt worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). God has never been and will never be pleased with anyone or anything taking his place in the heart of man. In the beginning, this was shown as man listening to Satan rather than obeying God. For that, man was cast from the Garden of Eden, and death entered the world.
Later, when God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses, he made it plain that nothing was to come before him. And God spake all these words, saying, “I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (Exodus 20:1-5). As we study the Old Testament, we see that his people did not keep this commandment of God. When Moses was on the mount receiving the commandments, the people were worshiping a golden calf at the foot of the mountain.
As time went on, God’s people continued to look to other “gods,” despite evidence that there is only one God. Eventually, they were taken from the land God gave them, the Northern tribes were taken captive by Assyria, and then 133 years later, the Southern tribes were led away as captives of the Babylonians.
Time and time again, they were warned by the messengers of God to put away idols and turn back to God, but they refused. God punished them for their sin. There are many great lessons in all of this.
God still desires that he be first in the hearts of men today in everything. Mankind down through history has tried to come up with its way of getting to God. Even when Christ was upon the earth, men were teaching things contrary to God’s commandments. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Man was not and is not capable of coming up with a “saving plan” on his own. Jeremiah the prophet recorded these words by inspiration, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the father but by me” (John 14:6).
God’s plan for man’s salvation has been in the mind of God from the beginning. Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity’” (Matthew 7:21-23). God’s plan is seen in how those in the first century obeyed the gospel. They believed in Christ as God’s son, they willingly repented of their sins, confessed the name of Christ before men and were baptized for the remission of their sins.
God wants all men to be saved, but men must follow God’s word. Open up the book and find out how to be pleasing to God.