You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol. … You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. —Exodus 20:3-6
The first three of the Ten Commandments are letting us see just a little bit of what God is like. These commands are deep teaching. In a sense they were spoon-feeding Israel, and yet the words are so profound, so deep. Israel was a redeemed community. As we have seen, the word redeemed means that they had been bought back. God loved the people of Israel. They knew God, but only just.
How well do you know God? How well would you like to know Him? How deeply is it burning in you that you would love to know Him better? If that deep desire is there, it means that there is a special anointing—the power of the Holy Spirit—on you. There could be no greater desire on earth. So you can mark it down; the flesh did not put that desire there. The devil did not put that there. This is one desire, if it is there, that only God could put there. And for giving you that kind of thirst and longing, be thankful for it. Take it with both hands and walk in every little bit of light God gives you. Walking in the light will show that you really mean business—that it is not just a passing yearning.
Whenever you discover something that you hadn’t seen before, an awareness of sin or a higher level of obedience, take it. There may be that which offends you, but remember that God often tests us by letting us be offended.
God wants to see how much you want Him. So sometimes, if I may put it this way, He puts His “worst” foot forward; He lets you see the most “unattractive” aspect of His nature, or what He knows you may regard that way, to see whether you will still love Him just as He is.
Excerpted from Grace (Charisma House, 2006).