Friday, March 16, 2018
Read Exodus 20:4-6 (Commandment #2):
4“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the
earth. 5You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, 6but showing steadfast love to thousandsb of those who love me and keep my commandments.
On the surface, in our day, this may seem a strange prohibition. Yet, realize that the Egyptian Pharaohs made gigantic statues of themselves that they demanded be worshiped. Saddam Hussein and other dictators have done the same. Likewise, idols (statues and representations of gods) were pervasive in the ancient world, like a pair of lucky socks or a good luck charm today. Human beings are captivated by tangible, visual images. We often make them in a form that is unreal, but controllable and reflective of our own desires. In a way, idols and images were the pornography of the ancient world – a distortion of what is good, true and beautiful, the One True God.
So God says don’t equate me to something you can fashion with your own hands and mind. This is one step away from reducing God to a limited, created being, and it is on par with people who fabricate gods for their own pleasures and purposes. Israel, and now the church of Jesus Christ, is not to reduce him to a statue, worship a created thing (i.e. “mother earth,” the sun, stars, crosses, ancestors, etc.) or compare the limitless, loving, Sovereign Creator of the universe to any thing contained or created within the universe. He is beyond our ability to contain, construct or fully comprehend. He is uncontainable.
The profound impact of going astray here, distorting the One True God, is to damage a father’s whole family, and by ripple effect, generations of that family. Conversely, to accept God’s self definition from his Word, and love him as such, is to embrace and be embraced by His covenant love forever and ever (to a thousand generations)!
Father, where there are idols in my life, destroy them. Where my view of you is distorted, make it pure and clear. When my affections wander and my allegiance falters, draw me back. I desire to know and love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. AMEN.