Revolutionary- A fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm.
Originally, Israel’s belief in one God was not so much a statement about the “being” of God, or the exclusivity of God. Rather it was about the decisive difference of Israel’s God from all the rest.
We hear this “difference” in the first commandment given to Moses. Israel is to have no other gods besides the one who brought them out of the land of bondage (Exod. 20:2–3; Deut. 5:7; 6:14). Notice what this does not say. It does not say that there are no other gods in the world. It says instead that Israel cannot worship any of these other gods, though these gods are worshipped by the peoples around them.
When Israel claims that it must serve its God and not the Pharaoh’s gods, it is an assertion of religious liberty and at the same time a declaration of political liberation.
The command, “You shall have no other gods before me,” challenges the authority and legitimacy of every earthly kingdom because those “other gods” are the gods of empires and kingdoms. Israel’s monotheistic revolution, continued by Christianity, was a “critique and delegitimization of the political super powers of the ancient world: Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, the Seleucid and, above all the Roman Empire.
Unlike the other gods of the Ancient Near East, the God of Moses was not content to claim primacy in a heavenly pantheon. And the Israelites who worshipped this God did not see themselves as just any people. The God proclaimed by Moses was believed to be the Creator and Lord of history.