Importance of the First Commandment

Topics: God, Deity, Names of God in Judaism Pages: 3 (1509 words) Published: October 26, 2013
“I am YHWH your God who brought you out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods except me.” This is the first commandment given to the Hebrews from God; it is like the beginning of an ancient eastern marriage contract, which is very appealing to me. I will explain to you some of the history of this commandment and then get to the core of why I chose this one to apply to my life. I feel that this is the first commandment because it can bring the most joy to humanity. To begin my points, I want to start with Exodus 20:2, which says, “I am YHWH your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Jerusalem Bible, 2000) I want to go into this defining moment of history when God tells us who He is. I had to first realize why He gave them a name by which to call Him. Reading back in my notes I realized why that was. When the Hebrews were enslaved in Egypt, they had one God, and they knew Him as the one God, but as generations passed, the Egyptian gods began to influence the way the Hebrews saw their God. They still worshipped the same God, but to them He had many different forms, he came as the sun and the moon and as harvest and rain and all other assortment of physical needs the Hebrews had. The problem was that they had many different names for each of these functions that God did. So when God addressed them, He also decided to give them His proper name so that they could also address Him in the correct manner. The name that He gave them was YHWH, or Yahweh if you prefer, and it was and is a name of great power, so much so that the Hebrews (Israelites, Jews) only used His name once a year. It is important to remember that the proper name for God is a sacred and holy name, I know I have muddied this name in the past, but I will get to that later. I also love the way YHWH describes the Hebrews, the way He stakes His claim on them. He says “(I) brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” YHWH has a...
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