Thou Shall Have No Other God Except Me
The Ten Commandments are an out of date, archaic way to live. At least some would say. However, I believe the Ten Commandments were not written long ago to prevent us from living a life we enjoy today. Instead, I believe they exist to remind us of the truth that our lives here on Earth are ultimately flawed. We were born into a world where our own personal choices for what constitutes right and wrong betray the life God meant us to have. I don’t get to determine what actions are right or wrong. I only choose to make choices that can land on either side. That’s all any of us can do.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, a few thousand years later. Our city celebrates the victory of a cup louder than any celebration for Jesus in our known history. Stadiums filled with fans of a team that had never won a championship. A city desperate and deserving of celebration found its opportunity. One that was not drenched in the life changing blood of Christ, but rather with the sweat of a dozen Canadiens who were brought together by a general manager to play for a team called the St. Louis Blues.
The city erupted in mass exultation as the Stanly Cup was raised above the heads of the players of the St. Louis Blues Wednesday June 13th, 2019. Throughout town, fireworks and gunshots rang out as the game concluded. Downtown, screams shook the Enterprise Center, the home of the newly crowned championship team.
“I have waited my whole life to see this.” – Every Long Time Blues Fan
The above comment was a common sentiment shared by St. Louisans throughout social media. A high volume of celebratory posts over various social platforms overwhelmed every other ounce of news on my feed. My friends were happy. Some of them shared tear filled videos of what the Blues championship meant to them personally. Others typed out on their phones repeatedly, “WE DID IT!” I saw videos of cheering and dancing. The people of St. Louis were overjoyed.
And the whole time I watched these things happening I thought, “Will the people of our beautiful city of St. Louis ever celebrate Jesus as loud, long or excitedly as they screamed for a team that won a cup.”
Prior to the championship celebration, I watched for weeks as the people of the city repeatedly cried out for the Blues to, “Play Gloria!” As the song echoed throughout the newly crowned championship city of St. Louis Wednesday night, I wondered if we would ever sing a song as loud to Jesus as we did for a cup.
Thousands of people filled the stadiums of our city to watch a game played on television so that they could enjoy the moment of being surrounded with others members of a community of fans that watched the suffering of their home team losses year after year. The city shouted with one voice the great news of the cup coming to St. Louis. I stopped to think, “Would our city ever collectively understand the suffering of Christ on the cross like they did the Blues decades of losing seasons?”
I also wondered, “Would St. Louis ever shout with one voice the good news of the gospel of Christ like they did the hoisting of a cup?”
The Ten Commandments were part of the old covenant with God. A reminder of our inability to follow instruction. The first of these commandments, Thou Shall Have No Other God Except Me (Exodus 20:3) was the first commandment written and subsequently also the first one to be broken as Moses descended from the mountaintop where they had finished being written only moments before.
When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. Exodus 32:19
Did you know the ten commandments are no longer our path to salvation? People no longer need to follow a set of rules that have been shown to be unfollowable. Nor are we to make animal sacrifices and amends for those rules we break. Instead, a new covenant now exists where confession and faith in Christ as Lord is all that is needed to pay the debt of our innumerable sins. The catch is that faith in Christ often leads believers to follow the commandments they once disregarded.
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
If we were still obliged to follow the first commandment of having no other Gods we should understand its simple premise. God doesn’t want us to worship anything more than Him. Whatever you spend the most time thinking about and doing things pertaining to is what you worship. God does not want you to worship your spouse, your child, your career, your phone, your money or anything else more than Him. He wants us to have and enjoy all of those things, but not more than Him.
What I saw Wednesday night was worship, except it wasn’t for God. We worshiped a team, a game and a cup. I am not mad a city celebrated a championship, in fact, it is the opposite. I am so excited to know our city has the capacity to come together for large scale worship. The Bible doesn’t tell us we can’t celebrate or be excited about anything besides God. It simply states we shouldn’t love those things more than God.
My hope for the people of the city of St. Louis is that one day we celebrate and love Jesus louder than we did for the Blues yesterday. Jesus is the greatest champion of all time. He didn’t just defeat the Bruins in a game 7 Stanley Cup final. Christ defeated death when He rose from the grave after dying as payment for your sins and mine.
The St. Louis Blues kissed a cup that will only belong to our city for a short time. The parade will only last a few hours. Unlike Jesus, who gave us the opportunity to drink from a cup that now belongs to us forever. The cup of the new covenant is a cup worth celebrating. The parade for the victory of Christ will last a long time.
You could pass the Stanley Cup around to every Blues fan that ever lived and when their life is over it will have meant very little. However, if those same people would partake from the passed cup of the new covenant with Christ. Their life here on Earth and eternity with significantly change for the better. Does that group include you?
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. Luke 22:20
No matter how great the citywide celebration of a Blues championship victory feels today, the celebration of the victory of Christ as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords will feel so much greater. A city drawn together to celebrate and worship the championship won by Christ on the cross long ago would be our city’s greatest achievement.
Much like those Blues fans who cried out to see a Blues championship in their lifetime, I pray to see our city celebrate Christ louder than we ever did for the Blues in mine. Forget Lord Stanley’s cup. Give me the Lord of Lord’s cup.
John Simmons is the President of Testimony House Ministries. He writes a daily blog for Testimony House each week day. He is the author of God Has a Sentence for Your Life and Finding Faith. Follow John on social media @newjohnsimmons. You can also watch John hosts various live streaming programs on the Testimony House Network each week.