You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3).
The first commandment does away with atheism on one hand and pantheism or polytheism on the other. It assumes that there is one true God and no other. It also addresses the deep problem of the human heart: idolatry.
Everyone is a worshiper of someone or something. Idolatry is putting someone or something else in the place of God. Idolatry is exchanging the glory of the Creator for the creation, leading to a life of ignorance and moral corruption (Rom 1:18-25). Idols are not just on pagan altars but in the hearts of people (Ezek 14; Gal 5:19-20).
We must see our idols for what they are: they are stupid! After seeing this, we must crush them in repentance and turn to the living God instead. Idols will not satisfy. Only God will satisfy the human heart. We need to properly assess created things. Enjoy creation, steward creation, but worship the Creator!
What attribute of God comes to mind in the first command? Consider the command stated positively: “I shall be your only God.” What does this teach? It teaches that our God is a jealous God. He will not share His glory with another.
Adapted from Exalting Jesus in Exodus by Tony Merida