Q54. What are we especially taught by these words, “before Me,” in the first commandment?
A54. These words, “before Me,” in the first commandment, teach us, that God, who sees all things, takes notice of and is displeased with the sin of having any other god.
Deuteronomy 30:17-18. “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.”
Psalm 44:20-21. “If we had forgotten the name of our God or extended our hands to a strange god, would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.”
Psalm 90:8. “You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.”
Help from Benjamin Beddome
Doth God see all our actions? Yes. If we should say the darkness shall cover us, even the night shall be light about us, Ps. cxxxix. 11. Doth he see our most secret duties? Yes. I know thy works and thy labour, Rev. ii. 2. And should this be an encouragement in duty? Yes. Your father which seeth in secret will reward you openly, Matt. vi. 4. Doth he see our secret sins? Yes. He hath set our secret sins in the light of his countenance, Psa. xc. 8. And should this dissuade from sin? Yes. How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Gen. xxxix. 9.
Do idolaters often flatter themselves that God doth not see them? Yes. They do it in the dark, and say, the Lord seeth us not, Ezek. viii. 12. But doth God see them? Yes. If we have stretched out oar hands to a strange god, shall not God search this out? Psa. xliv. 20. Is this an aggravation of their sin? Yes. They provoke me to anger continually to my face, Isa. Ixv. 3. And should it be a preservative against it? Yes. We must serve God with a perfect heart, for the Lord searchethall hearts, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9.
Is Idolatry spiritual robbery? Yes. I am the Lord, and my glory I will not give to another, Isa. xlii. 8. And spiritual adultery? Yes. Thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, Hos. ix. 1. Is God therefore greatly displeased with it? Yes. They provoked him to jealousy with strange Gods, Deut. xxxii. 16. And is this a reason why we should be aware of it? Yes. For who knoweth the power of his anger? Psa. xc. 11.
Help from Thomas Vincent
Q1. How doth it appear that God seeth all things?
A1. It doth appear that God seeth all things, because God is everywhere present, and is infinite in understanding. “Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord: do not I fill heaven and earth ?” — Jer. 23:24. “His understanding is infinite.”— Ps. 147:5.
Q2. Why doth God take such notice of, and is so displeased with, the sin of having any other god?
A2. Because the sin of having any other god is a great affront to the holy and jealous eye of God, who will not give his glory to another. “If we have stretched out our hands to a strange god, shall not God search this out?” — Ps. 44:20-21. “I am the Lord; that is my name, and my glory will I not give to another neither my praise to graven images.”— Isa. 42:8