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G16. Putting God First.    [Make a Comment]

We are to put God first in our priorities.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Exodus 20:3 (Maimonides RN1; Meir MN8; Chinuch C26)
You are to have no other gods before me.

Deuteronomy 6:5
... and you are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart, all your being and all your resources.

Luke 14:26
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, his mother, his wife, his children, his brothers and his sisters, yes, and his own life besides, he cannot be my talmid.

Luke 14:33
So every one of you who doesn't renounce all that he has cannot be my talmid.

Acts 5:29
Kefa and the other emissaries answered, "We must obey God, not men."

Colossians 3:23
Whatever work you do, put yourself into it, as those who are serving not merely other people, but the Lord.

Supportive Scriptures

Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJ)
So don't be anxious, asking, 'What will we eat?,' 'What will we drink?' or 'How will we be clothed?' For it is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Matthew 22:35-38
... and one of them who was a Torah expert asked a sh'eilah to trap him: "Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?" He told him, "'You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' This is the greatest and most important mitzvah."

Luke 12:28-31
If this is how God clothes grass, which is alive in the field today and thrown in the oven tomorrow, how much more will he clothe you! What little trust you have! In other words, don't strive after what you will eat and what you will drink - don't be anxious. For all the pagan nations in the world set their hearts on these things. Your Father knows that you need them too. Rather, seek [first] his Kingdom; and these things will be given to you as well.

Romans 12:1
I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical "Temple worship" for you.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5
Now, brothers, we must tell you about the grace God has given the congregations in Macedonia. Despite severe trials, and even though they are desperately poor, their joy has overflowed in a wealth of generosity. I tell you they have not merely given according to their means, but of their own free will they have given beyond their means. They begged and pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service for God's people. Also, they didn't do this in the way we had expected, but first they gave themselves to the Lord, which means, by God's will, to us.

Colossians 3:2
Focus your minds on the things above, not on things here on earth.


If we understand that the "gods" in Exodus 20:3 are not only false deities, but rather all persons, matters, and things to which we "bow down" (i.e. put ahead of God and allow to control our lives), we understand how it is the quintessential Scripture that supports this Mitzvah. After that, Matthew 6:33 calls us to faith by exhorting us to "... seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." It is telling us that, despite our perceived needs and natural inclination to dwell on them, if we put our attention on God instead of ourselves, He will see to it that our needs are met.

Classical Commentators

Maimonides, Meir, and HaChinuch interpret Exodus 20:3 as referring only to false deities. This Mitzvah is not, therefore, addressed by any of the Jewish classical commentators in the broader sense of putting God ahead of all other persons, matters, and things.


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