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The second part of the first commandment says, …” you shall have no other gods before me.”
Most of us think of gods as being carvings or statues or other symbols that are worshipped in many religions. I remember when I was deep into New Age thinking, I went to the Sai Baba Centre in Montreal. People would bow before the statue of Sai Baba, a Hindu god but even though I didn’t remember this first commandment, something inside told me not to do this. Now that I know better after studying the Torah, I wonder how anyone could believe that a statue could have power. Although I was never a superstitious person, I did experience some very strange things during my time in the New Age. I saw a spiritual power that could manifest itself in the physical just like the first three wonders or plagues that Moses and Aaron brought upon the Egyptians. Remember the staff that he threw down and it turned into a snake; Pharaoh’s magicians were also able to do that. These gods are the obvious ones like cows in India that are venerated and allowed to wander free in the streets while a child is left to starve to death. They call that the child’s karma.
No, I believe our gods in the west are more insidious. The gods that our Creator told us not to bow down to consist of anything that takes our focus away from Him; ones in which we put our trust. Our governments, our educational system, our financial system, and every system on the planet has a certain hold on us. That is not always a bad thing as long as we stay within the boundaries that our Creator has set down for us. When our government tells us that we have to teach our children that they can choose at seven years whether or not they want to be a male or female, then I have to go back to the Word of God. Otherwise, I am adulterating His Word when He said that He created male and female and it was very good. If we are told anything that goes against the words of the Creator, it has to be compared with the Truth of Torah
To whom do we bow down in this life? Who or what has power over us? And What if anything can we do about it? We find ourselves in a system today that is becoming increasingly repressive. If we simply sit back and allow things to unfold, as we did in Egypt, we will see the same story repeated, and we will have to suffer the consequences. We allowed ourselves then to be slowly lulled into captivity, like the frog in cold water. Those of us who see the same scenario reoccurring today, may ask ourselves, what can we do. We are so few. How can we possibly make an impact or change what is coming? Noah did; Moshe did, Yeshua did even people like Tamar who killed Sisera did; I believe that each of us have been allotted a small part within our own circles of influence, and as I said previously – the larger picture is in the Hands of the Creator.
He made a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He promised time and time again to protect His own…that’s you and me. So, what is our job? To not follow man-made gods. They can be money or wealth, education can be a god when we think that no one will listen to us if we are not educated enough; there are those who seek the fountain of youth where vanity becomes a god; where they can never look good enough or have enough to fill that void within; even illness can be a god, wielded like a weapon to control others through sympathy or to back away from responsibility.
Back in 2001, I lost a very lucrative position in the financial industry when my employer became ill. One month later, 9/11 hit, the markets crashed, and no one was hiring. Nine months later I still could not find work; my unemployment insurance was ending. I worried about what I would do. How I would support myself?
I woke up one morning with intense back pain – I couldn’t move for three days, no matter what I did. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Then at the end of day three, I finally lay there on my bed and thought, “what does the back represent?” Immediately it came to me that the back supports the entire body. Suddenly a light flashed in my brain. I said, oh forgive me LORD, you are my helper and my shield, you are my provider, you are my support, not me, not my job, not my boss. I fell asleep and the next morning when I woke up, the back pain was gone. What was my god? In whom was I putting my trust. Then within a month Rabbi Percy hired me to be his executive assistant after his previous assistant left Montreal.
Focus – upon who or what do we focus; Trust, who or what do we trust, and finally, Choice- free will. We have been gifted with all these abilities… To focus, to trust and to choose. Let’s ask God to reveal to us what gods have a hold on us and ask Him to release us and then …be willing to choose to stop following them whatever form they take. You shall know the Truth (God ) and the Truth shall set you free.
Thanks for listening…Peggy Pardo