Suppose you had to do a secret project on a remote island. In fact, the island is so remote that it doesn’t even have a name or show up on a map. I am your only point of contact, and the only one with the latitude and longitude coordinates to come get you. You have a satellite phone to use. If I truly cared about you, I would give you the precise sequence of digits to reach me. If I didn’t care about you, I’d let you call any number you wanted to call: perhaps you would eventually reach someone who could help you.
The most loving thing I could do for you is to make sure you knew the one number to call in order to get the help you needed.
This is exactly how God starts the Ten Commandments—And God spoke all these words: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.”
How confusing and utterly unloving it would be if God said, “Call any number you want to see if you can find the help you need.” Instead, in His great love for us God says, “I am the only One you will ever need!”
Notice the wording here: “…I am the LORD your God…”
- I AM—all that you need.
- the—not one among many, but the One and Only.
- LORD—God’s covenant name: Jehovah, His name of personal relationship.
- your—this is a you-Me relationship, not a you-it relationship.
- God—the All-Powerful, All-Loving One.
This First Commandment is the orientating commandment. When we see all of God’s commandments are rooted in His love (by the way, God uses the phrase the LORD your God five times in the Ten Commandments), everything else in our lives and attitudes is properly aligned.
Jesus demonstrated this for us. He said He loved His Father and therefore obeyed all of His commands (John 14:31). Christ’s obedience was motivated and aligned by love. The Apostle John said this loving obedience is to be the distinguishing characteristic for us too:
This is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
We honor God and obey the First Commandment best when we know He is the One Who loves us enough to say, “I am the only One you need. Don’t look to anyone or anything else, but just come to Me!”