The first 4 commandments are designed to restore in us the Image of our Maker. To make us more like God in character and behavior.
Let’s investigate the second commandment found in Exodus 20:
4 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.
“Likeness of any thing”
It almost seems ludicrous that we would need to be told not to worship something that we make.
We have become so sophisticated that the idea of a carved piece of wood or stone that is given the attributes of a god, worthy of worship, is likely to be laughed at.
Did God have our time in mind when He carved these words into a stone?
I’m simple enough that I believe He did. He is never caught unprepared or out of touch with ever-advancing time and technology.
The fact that it was deemed necessary by God to point out this prohibition says much about what God knows about Humans.
5 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;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
The Bible record, history of world civilizations, and even today’s psychology attest to the fact that humans tend to become like the gods they worship.
God created all humans. He knows better than anyone what is best for us. He also knows better than even I, what effects certain choices and behaviors will have on me.
He knew the inclinations of the humans that He was prepared to call “My People” before they (we) were named.
Now, before you scoff and stop reading…
Objects that are worshiped by people are never revered for the natural characteristics they possess.
A sacred tree is never just bark and leaves. Our need to worship causes us to give attributes deserving of worship to the tree-god. There are always mystical powers that defy explanation. Miracles and disasters.
So, the worshipers don’t become like a tree, they take on the characteristics, needs, temperaments, likes, and dislikes given to the tree by the priests of the god.
Today’s civilized, educated masses scoff at the idea of a Tree-God.
But, whatever things or ideas that occupy the focus of our lives, our center, our most important goals or attainments – becomes a god.
Money, Power, Influence, Prestige, Position… Medals, Trophies, a Rank higher than others.
A famous person that we choose to emulate, actor, singer, celebrity.
Each can become an idol god – the focus of my time and attention – my worship.
If it is the most important thing in my daily routines, if I am prepared to sacrifice my spiritual connection to God, or my interest in being a ‘neighbor’ to those in need, - I just might have carved an idol for worship.
God added a caution to the command…
The results of my choice of gods will affect my family for three or four generations.
Time. That is the most precious of gifts that God has given us.
But, this gift can become the sacrifice that is placed on the altar of worship.
Perhaps I should just say – Time is the item most frequently placed on the altar.
I need to Evaluate my use of time. I know, it’s not a carved image; it’s not an object.
But, how we spend our time can help identify the focus of worship that we have.
So, let’s check on time priorities…
Family. Where does family get placed in the daily schedule?
Bible. How much time is set aside in my day specifically for Bible study.
Reading. What content takes up the majority of my library?
Worship. Church attendance is for more than just my worship needs. I am my brothers’ keeper in this sense. an empty or sparse church may discourage my brother so that he assigns attendance to a lower priority.
I also have a responsibility for my pastor’s courage. If I am elsewhere on a regular basis, his courage may falter.
Even good things can replace a devotion to being in God’s House at the time of worship.
The devil is eager to keep us away.
He will use man-made events, things, attractions...
Even health-related options beckon for our devotion.
If it keeps us away from Sabbath Worship in our home church, maybe…
It should be considered an idol.
It is not my intent to offend. I offer ideas and facts, with the purpose of sparking thought, further study, and better understanding.
I’m interested in your thoughts and comments on this article.
What experiences or understandings do you have that connects to this topic?