2nd Commandment: You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations fo those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)
God gives the commandment, and He also gives reasoning: His character and possible outcomes of a person’s choice.
Command: Don’t make idols or likenesses of created things—don’t worship or serve anything except God.
God’s character: He is a jealous God
Outcome of disobedience: Iniquity of fathers affects the lives of generations after them
Outcome of obedience: God shows His lovingkindness to those who love Him and keep His commandments (sidenote: this verse equates worshiping and serving something with loving)
Observation: God’s command of what not to worship or serve is actually pretty broad/all-encompassing. He not just says “idols” but also any likeness of anything in existence, basically. When His people in ancient times thought of idols they would have thought of pagan images of supposed deities. Essentially, people have the ability to worship and serve anything they please. This is idolatry.
Psalm 135:15-18—Idol worship was rampant in OT times. These idols were actually in the image of people and other creatures, crafted from various materials. Those who make them will become like them—senseless! Really, man is just dust—rearranged dirt—and it is the Lord who gives us life (Psalm 103:14-18…God is loving and wants to share His life with us; Genesis 2:7—man formed from dirt, and GOD breathed life into him)
What about today? We don’t see the same kind of idols today.
Romans 1:28-32…People do whatever they feel is right. They are their own idol—self-worship.
Matthew 6:24—Jesus says one cannot serve God and wealth. If you love one, you’ll hate the other. If you are devoted to one, you’ll despise the other. Here, the word “wealth” is translated from the Aramaic word “mammon” which is wealth personified as an object of worship. So it is not necessarily bad to have certain things, but where is my heart? (Matt. 6:21). Remember, God is a jealous God. He is fully deserving of our devotion and love. Logically, based on this verse, I should hate and despise wealth. In other words, let’s be content. Seek God’s kingdom —the Lord Himself—and we’ll have everything we need (Matthew 6:31-34; Psalm 23:1)
This is the blog of Tyler Shepard, the Senior Pastor for Shoaff Park Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, IN.
I hope you are encouraged and challenged to walk more closely with Jesus Christ!