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.
As we take a look through history and even as we look around us today we see the evidence of why God delivered this commandment. The false gods of Egypt then, the false gods of the other nations of the world then, and even now, require an idol.
Those who worship them build altars in their homes, in their yards, in their cities, they set up shrines and they design even hand held objects to take with them where ever they go and then they bow down and worship before this image that they themselves had to make.
I homeschool our children and this past school year we studied ancient Egypt. One of the things we learned as we studied their culture, religion, and government was how they treated their idols. The priests had to bath the idol, they had to bring food to the idol, and they had to move the idol. They had to do everything for this so called “god”.
Why would they think that a god who could not even feed or bath himself, a god that they have to carry, would be worthy of their worship and could deliver them in a day of distress?
Isaiah 44:20 tells us that “… a deceived heart has turned him aside. And he cannot deliver himself, nor say, ‘Is there not a lie in my right hand?'”
Oh how our hearts can deceive us!
Notice also in this verse, that this one could not deliver himself. This one who bowed down before the works of his hand could not make himself see the foolishness in it all. To his deceived heart it all made perfect sense. It is indeed true that all of mankind has exchanged the truth of God for a lie and we have bowed down and worshiped created things instead of our Creator (Romans 1:25).
However, our Creator God’s love for us remains. He tells us in Isaiah 42:16, “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know; in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.” God has no desire to leave us undone, no desire to leave us holding a lie in our right hand. He wants us to be sanctified in His truth.
He distinguished Himself from all other gods by the giving of His law. Isaiah 42:21 says that “The LORD was pleased for His righteousness’ sake to make the law great and glorious.” He would show us His omnipresence by making us aware that He did not need an idol to remind us of His presence and power.
He lets us know in this commandment that He is a jealous God. As a matter of fact He goes so far as to say that His name is Jealous (Exodus 34:14). Let us remember that He has said He will not give His glory to another and He will not have His praise given to any graven image (Isaiah 42:8).
When our God chose to show Himself to us, when He chose to allow us to behold His glory, He did not use a temple, an altar, or a graven image. No precious one, our God displayed His image in the person of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4, Hebrews 1:1-3).
The Word, the great and glorious Law of God became flesh and dwelt among us and we saw the glory of the Lord, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). The image of our God would not be made of wood or stone and He would not be fashioned by the hands of man. He would have inherit power. He would indeed be able to bath Himself, feed Himself, and carry Himself around. He would not be dependant on any man, for Hw is the One through who man was created (John 1:3).
Thank You for being a jealous God. Thank You for making me aware of Your omnipresence. How awesome it is to know that there is no where I can go to flee from Your presence (Psalm 139:7-12). Thank You for Your great and glorious law, Your Word of truth, which separates You from all other gods that are seeking my heart. The world is full of idols, full of things of empty promise, that are wanting me to trust in them, to bow down to them, to fear them, but I bow before You alone. Oh Father, and because You are indeed a jealous God, You will let me know when my heart has turned from You. You will keep me from being deceived unto death (Job 36:7-11). Keep me, my God, in Your lovingkindness.
My Jesus it is in Your name I pray,