This article is our second in our series on the Ten Commandments. Be sure to read and study all the scriptures quoted.
Continuing our series on the Ten Commandments, the Almighty God thundered out a second time, “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:4-6).
The First Commandment forbids putting anything or anyone in the place of the true God. We could make an idol out of our family, friends, job, hobbies, churches, worship centers, pastors and interests—even celebrities. The Second Commandment shows us how to worship the true God. This commandment condemns idolatrous religious practices. God is the great Educator—He commands and instructs us to worship Him in the manner He chooses. God lovingly shows us what dangers to avoid with worship. In addition, He explains the penalty and blessings that come upon our offspring as a result of the way we worship Him.
The natural, carnal mind of man desires some aid in the worship of God. Remember that the carnal mind wants to look righteous yet doesn’t necessarily want to be righteous (Rom. 8:7-8). Men want some physical (tangible) object to remind them about God. This is exactly what is forbidden by this commandment. We must never limit the all-powerful Creator God by making an image or picture of Him. Images and pictures give us a false concept of the true God. This commandment also demands that we take heed not to worship God in the wrong way.
God seeks true worshipers. Christ said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23). Christ clearly states that there are true worshipers. Logic tells us then that there are also false worshipers. True worshipers worship God in spirit and in truth. This means that only truly converted people (Born of the water and of the Spirit) can actually worship God properly. They must have God’s Holy Spirit actively functioning in them (Rom. 8:9). They do not need aids or man-made artifacts [church buildings, worship centers or temples] to worship God.
Christ said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (v. 24). As soon as anyone sets up any symbol of God (including crosses, statues, pictures, movies, paintings, buildings and any art depictions), he or she denies the very being of the true God. Our God embodies all knowledge, all wisdom, all power and all love. He is unlimited. When we set up a mental or physical image of God, we limit God in our thoughts and in our worship. God commands that we not limit Him!
Let us remember…
“…how deep are God’s riches, and wisdom, and knowledge! How unfathomable are his decisions and unexplainable are his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” (Psalm 145:3)
SAY “NO!” TO SYMBOLS, SIGNS, ARTIFACTS and IDOLATRY.
WORSHIP GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.
OBEY THE WORD!