No Other Gods

No Other God

Today’s Scripture Selection: Exodus 20:1-17

Of all the things God provided for His people in the wilderness, surely the Ten Commandments are among the greatest.

We are “people of the Book” – and the world has known us as such from the beginning.

Have we always followed the counsel we find there?  We clearly haven’t but the image of Moses receiving the basic instructions on how we are to relate to God and to each other remains.

Over the years there has been no small debate about what role these laws play in our lives, or the role they should play.

There has been much said and written about whether they are still “relevant” in today’s world.

There have been plenty who have attempted to edit them.

They remain – mysterious, powerful, compelling – they remain.

At the core is that one central concept: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

We still struggle with that one.  Sadly, it seems to me that idolatry is alive and well in all its various forms.

God calls us back to the mountaintop to be reminded that amidst all of the noise and confusion; all the temptation we are to have no other gods.

I pray that we will never forget these words sent to us so long ago and that we will never feel that we have exhausted exploring what they mean to us.

The “Thou shalt nots” are still relevant, still needed, still informative – and they always will be for we are still, in some ways, wandering in the wilderness, seeking our true home.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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