Summary: Idol Worship Was Rampant Among The Nations Surrounding Israel. Most Of Those Nations Had Carved Images To Which They Bowed, Sacrificed, And Performed Various Acts Of Worship.The Israelites Were Strictly Warned To Keep Themselves Separate From The Pagan Nations .
Exodus 20:4–5 NKJV
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.
This Command Is Closely Linked With The First, Which Says, “You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me.” Idol Worship Was Rampant Among The Nations Surrounding Israel. Most Of Those Nations Had Carved Images To Which They Bowed, Sacrificed, And Performed Various Acts Of Worship. Often That Pagan Worship Involved Killing Infants And Prostitution .
The Israelites Were Strictly Warned To Keep Themselves Separate From The Pagan Nations Surrounding Them And To Avoid Any Activities That Resembled Their Vile Worship Rites .
God Himself Reminded The People About When He Appeared To Them:
Deuteronomy 4:15–20 NKJV
“Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the LORD your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.
God Hates Idolatry In Any Form . It Steals The Attention And Honor That Belongs Only To God . In Many Nations Today, Carved Gods And Goddesses Are Still An Obvious Violation Of This Commandment. However, The Sin Of Idolatry Is Ultimately A Sin Of The Heart.
An Idol Is Anything We Depend Upon To Meet The Deep Needs Of The Heart—Love, Security, Worth, Or Significance. When We Seek To Find Identity And Security In Something Besides God, We Have Made It An Idol.
John Calvin Said, “The Human Heart Is An Idol Factory.”
We Often Search For Peace Or Identity Through Relationships, Substances, Money, Or Entertainment. Addictions Are Forms Of Idolatry.
Even Good Things Can Become Idols If We Are Not Careful. Ministry, Hobbies, Charity Work, Or Family Can Usurp The Rightful Place Only God Should Hold In Our Lives. When We Emotionally Rely On Anything Other Than Our Relationship With Him To Validate Us, We Are Breaking The Second Commandment.
This Commandment Also Contains A Warning For Future Generations. God Is Saying That, If We Don’t Deal With Idolatry In Our Generation, We Will Pass It Down To Our Children And To Their Children. Children Learn To Handle Life By Watching Their Parents. When Children Observe Mom And Dad Running To A Bottle, A Pill, Another Romance, Or A Shopping Spree To Make Them Feel Good About Themselves, They Follow That Pattern. When Children Watch Their Parents Spend Time, Money And Energy On Worldly Pursuits, They Naturally Copy Those Values And , They In Turn ,Will Raise Their Own Children To Do The Same.
For A Vivid Account Of Idolatry We'll Look At Aaron's Idolatry While Moses Was Meeting With God On The Mountain.
Exodus 32:1-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Gold Calf
32 Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, [ Exodus 24: 18 Tells Us Moses Was Up There 40 Days And Nights- So It Was A Long Time.] the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us [a]gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
2 And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf.
Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”