Q: What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A: These words before me in the first commandment teach us that God, who sees all things, takes notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god.
Psalm 44:20-21 If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god, would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
The heart of this week's question is this: God alone is God, and he alone is worthy to be praised, worshiped, and glorified. Worship belongs to the great and holy triune God, and he notices when he is being robbed of what belongs to him, and it angers him. This is what idolatry does. It robs God of what is rightfully his. And as the catechism says, he is much displeased.
God's displeasure is not a result of a cosmic ego trip. It is not the result of God being an eternal narcissist. God's displeasure stems from the fact that he alone is entitled to our worship. He alone is entitled to glory. Our culture, it is often said, is one of entitlement. We think we're entitled to a lot of things. We think we're entitled to our rights and freedoms, a healthy and comfortable life, a livable wage, and when we don't get what we believe we're entitled to, we get angry. We feel that we are being treated unjustly. We believe we are being robbed of something that rightfully belongs to us. Of course, we truly are entitled to nothing (except the wrath of a holy and just God). But God...God truly is entitled! He truly is owed the worship and praise and glory of all creation. He is the author and creator of all things. All things have their existence in and through him. Nothing would or could survive or exist apart from him. And when we withhold the worship and glory that he is due, when we direct it elsewhere, it is an offense to God's character, and it is an outright denial that God alone is worthy of these things.
Idolatry, in its many shapes and forms, is at its heart a direct and blatant declaration to God that he is not who he says he is. It is a direct statement to the author and creator of life that he is not due the honor, worship, and glory of all creation. When we commit idolatry, we are looking into the eyes of the holy triune God and saying to him, “you are worthy of nothing!” How could God not take notice of such a sin? How could such flagrant disrespect, dishonor, and utter rebellion not displease him!?