Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
This is God’s disclosure of Himself. He has the sovereign power to give and to take. For example, during the first period of the reign of Amaziah, God judged Amaziah’s victory over the Edomites as favorable in His sight. But Amaziah did not win that victory with a true heart. In the second period of his reign, instead of doing what was right in the eyes of God, Amaziah brought gods of the people of Seir and set them up as gods to be worshipped. 2 Chronicles 25:14. Amaziah was defeated. God was responsible for Amaziah’s victory and also his defeat.
Even if you go and fight courageously in battle, God will overthrow you before the enemy, for God has the power to help or to overthrow.”
2 Chronicles 25:8.
If God has sovereign power over everything, why does He allow evil things to happen and evil people to do what they do? It was in 1933 that Hitler formed a cabal (a secret political clique or faction) in order to overthrew Germany; it wasn’t until 1945 that He and his regime were destroyed. It was much later that the public learned the truth about the millions of lives, the property and goods that he had taken from his own people. The survivors of the concentration camps in Germany are to be commended for constructing Holocaust museums in Israel and Europe, in North America and elsewhere commemorating the lives he destroyed.
It was long years after these victims were gone that the world began to hear what Hitler and his political regime had done. The injustices continue; faceless corporations make billions while the masses suffer. Political machines ram their way to power, and religions become industries, and we are prone to deceive.
Power and acclaim in one form or another marks the hidden desires in every one of us. We look to the book of Genesis for some answers. We learn that Adam chose to call his wife, Eve, which means life. Adam knew she was from God; this is the same God Adam knew as the source of his life and the life that was all around him. That was true until Satan promised them they could do better on their own.
“For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
In the beginning God created us with the ability to communicate with Him and each other; this is what makes us as humans, human. How then are we to understand the statement “The man has now become like one of us” as we read in the following,
And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
Intellectually, Adam and Eve knew the difference between good and evil. God said “Do not eat the fruit of the tree of life.” They already knew that it would be good not to eat of it. But what they didn’t know was that if they disobeyed God, they would experience evil. In their betrayal of God they lost their innocence and for the first time experienced guilt and shame. This loss of innocence is a very important biblical theme. In the works of William Shakespeare many of his characters are various psychological profiles of just who we are as human beings. However, the Word of God is much more direct; sin and guilt apply to everyone.
Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We read the following conversation when Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate just hours before His crucifixion.
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
John 18:37 The truth Jesus came to testify to is stated in Matthew 25:41 and Matthew 13:4. The human being is unacceptable in the eyes of God due to his disobedience.
Christ came into the world to proclaim that God does not tolerate disobedience or any resistance to Him.
Yet when Jesus came into the world He did not affirm that He was born to reign, or that His appearance was the design of His coming. Rather Jesus came to exhibit the truth and in so doing show the nature of the Kingdom from whence He came. It was not to assert power, muster armies, subdue the nations and slaughter the dictators. It was to reveal that even though we were rejected by God, having been created by Him, He wanted our souls to behold His glory.
God is a very patient God. This is often referred to as the scandal of the cross. Christ, the innocent, died for the guilty that the guilty might come to know the glories of God.
But we the guilty want control over our lives. The truth is that the glories of God are revealed in His power over everything. His control of everything rules over all. Power and acclaim in one form or another mark the hidden desires in every one of us. However famous and infamous we might become, the truth applies to all of us. We are lost sinners. Our material bodies and minds defy anything that is not of our own doing.
For He [God] says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Romans 9:15
How then can one manipulate God into choosing them? The answer is one cannot. The truth is to be found in Romans, written by the apostle Paul. It is a profound letter that changed the world. The Roman Empire was worshiping many gods, believing that they could influence deity. Paul tells them that it is God who makes us right in His sight. And God shows His anger at the sin of those who suppress this truth–that He alone is God. Instead they create gods, idols made to look like mere people, birds, animals and reptiles. Romans 1:23. It was for that reason that Paul went to Rome to “preach the good news of the sovereign power of God