The First Commandment of God
Thou Shalt Not Have Strange Gods Before Me
In our last lesson, we talked about the two great Commandments. The first of the two Great Commandments is: Thou shalt love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength. The Second Great Commandment is: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Today we will learn about the first of the Ten Commandments. We listed the Ten Commandments in the last lesson. The First Commandment is: I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.
Before we get started let's think about a few questions.
What did the Devil tempt our Lord to do?
What did our Lord do?
What should we do when we are tempted to sin?
Why do we owe supreme worship to God?
What do we learn by loving and serving God Alone?
Let's get right into this lesson with our first reading from the Holy Bible. This is from the Gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 4: verses 1,8-11.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence, and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Do you remember that God is our creator? Do you remember that he created you and me as well as everything in the world and that we really owe him all of our love and all of our service?
In the reading that we just read, Jesus really did show us by his example how to love and serve God above everything else. When the devil took him up to the mountain and tempted him by offering him everything in the entire world, what did Jesus do? He refused to give in to the devil. He was not going to bow down and worship him as the devil wanted him to do. Jesus loved and served only his Father, God the Father. Jesus did this all the way to the cross. He followed God's will his entire life. The Lord Jesus tells us in John chapter 8 verse 29. "I do always the things that are pleasing to him [the Father]”. Jesus shows us how to obey the First Commandment: I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.
Jesus told the devil to go away. He did not give in to the temptation.
Every day, we are tempted by the evil one, the devil, to do bad things. We know what is right and what is wrong and we should always say "no, I am going to follow the way of Jesus". Do you follow Jesus Christ in your daily life? Do you refuse to listen when the devil tempts you? Do you place God first?
We should serve God by faith, hope, and charity. In Matthew chapter 16 verse 26 Jesus said this, "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffer the loss of his own soul?" This is a good example of what happened to Jesus on the mountain. He could have gained the whole world but he would have lost the most important thing, his soul. Jesus, of course, cannot lose his soul because he is God, If we give in to the temptations of the devil and we do not follow Jesus, we may lose our soul and go to that dreaded place, Hell. If we follow Jesus Christ and never place anyone or anything above God, we will always be loving and serving God alone. This will help to make sure that we make it to Heaven at the end of our life. When we are in Heaven we certainly will have happiness with God forever.
The First Commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. This is very important. When we hear this Commandment we should remember to only worship God. Of course, Jesus Is God and the Holy Spirit is God. We can worship Jesus, we can worship the Holy Spirit and we can worship God the Father. This is the Blessed Trinity. We should not worship anything or anyone else. We should not worship our parents. We should not worship money. We should not worship video games or anything else.
How do we really worship God? How do we worship Jesus? We really should worship Him by praying to him and by doing acts of faith, hope, and charity. We should really truly adore Jesus in everything that we do. As a Catholic, you will sin against faith if you do not believe what God has revealed. What God has taught us through the Church is very important. We should believe and follow all of those things in faith. This is a very important part of making it to Heaven.
We can also have sins against hope. How can you actually sin against hope? If you despair or become so sad or depressed that you just give up and you do not want to do anything, this is despair. That is a sin against hope. You should always have hope. We have hope that everything will be alright but we do not absolutely know that anything that we do, no matter how bad, will work out. That would be called presumption, which is a sin. It is our responsibility to follow what Jesus and the Church teach and not just presume that everything is going to be alright at the end.
What about charity? What are some of the sins that we could have against charity? If we really show that we hate God or that we hate our neighbor, if we are really lazy or cause bad things to happen to other people, if we do things on one hand and say something different, this is a sin against charity. Charity means love. Hatred is the opposite of love.
Envy is like jealousy. When you are jealous or envious of someone else, what they have and what they have succeeded in, this is a sin.
Sloth is when you are lazy. We are not supposed to be lazy. We're supposed to get out and do things such go to work, do our chores, pray and go to church. There is a difference between being lazy and being so tired because you have been playing or working so hard. This is not actually being lazy. Being lazy or being a sloth is when there is no excuse to do something but you just want to lay around and not do it.
Scandal is when you set a bad example for your friends, your family, your community, or your Church.
Let's read a little bit more from the Bible. This is from the gospel of St. Matthew. It's about the faith of the woman. This is from Matthew chapter 15: 21-28.
Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and
Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, “Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, “Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.” He said in reply, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But the woman came and did him homage, saying, “Lord, help me.” He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.” Then Jesus said to her in reply, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed from that hour.
Now let's hear what Saint Paul says about hope. This reading is from his letter to the Romans chapter 8: 24-25.
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance.
Our last reading is also from Saint Paul. Saint Paul was a very important writer in the Bible. He wrote some letters to the Corinthians. This reading is from one of those letters. 1st Corinthians chapter 13.
If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three;h but the greatest of these is love.
Student: Did Jesus do what the devil wanted?
No, he surely did not do what the devil wanted him to do. In fact, he told the devil to get away and that he should also worship God Alone. Jesus did not worship Satan and did not do what the devil wanted him to do even though he promised Jesus the entire world.
Student: Did Jesus always do what pleased God the Father?
I think we can be sure beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ Our Savior did everything that God the Father wanted. He totally and completely gave his will over to the Father and said. "Father, I will do what you want me to do because I know this is what is best."
Student: Does prayer help us when we are tempted?
Yes, it does. Prayer is so very powerful. Anytime you feel tempted or anytime you feel that someone or something is in your way, leading you down the wrong path, or trying to make you do something that you know you should not do, just step back and say a prayer to our Lord Jesus and ask him for strength to do what is right. I promise that he will always lead you down the right path. You will get extra strength from Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father.
Student: Does charity mean only giving money to the poor?
No, that's what we typically think of about charity, giving something to somebody. Remember though that charity is not only that. It also means that we should love God and our neighbor, and not be jealous or envious of our friends or family, and not to be lazy. We want to make sure we get up and go to school, do our chores, and go to Mass. It is so very important to go to Mass every Sunday, and throughout the week if you have a chance. Do not set bad examples for your friends or for your brothers or sisters or for anyone.
Student: Do we obey the first commandment when we give God the worship that he deserves?
Absolutely. Remember the first Commandment is to love God. It actually says: I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange Gods before me. This means not to worship anything else and only worship God. God is the Blessed Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Student: Presumption and despair are what kind of sins?
Presumption and despair are sins against hope. Always keep hope and never feel so despairing that you feel that there is no hope. There is always hope.
Student: When we don't believe everything that Jesus told us what type of sin is this?
We sin against faith when we don't believe what Jesus told us and what the church has taught us.
Student: Hatred of God, hatred of our neighbor, or hatred of anyone is a sin against what?
This is a sin against charity. Charity is not just giving things to people who need them, it is also loving and not hating those who we know and those that we don't know.
Student: If we resent someone else's blessings, what type of sin do we commit? This is the sin of envy. It is the same as being jealous when someone out there has something bigger or better, or they are healthier, taller, or stronger than you are. When we are jealous or envious, this is a sin.
Student: If we do not give God our love and our service what commandment are we sinning against?
Remember we are talking about the first Commandment here today. If we do not give love and service to God then we are definitely sinning against the first Commandment of God. The first Commandment of God is: I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange Gods before me.
Remember that Jesus worshipped his Father and not Satan. Also, remember that God is our creator. He created us and everything in the world. Because of this, we should worship God and God Alone.
I would like you to start doing something every day. Each morning when you wake up, make a promise to yourself and to God that everything that you do that day you will do it to please God. This means that everything that you promise to do that day, you will do it for the Glory of God.