Summary: We may not carve them out of wood, but we carve them in our minds and they are alive and doing well!

God’s Top Ten

Ex. 20:4-7

September 2002

Joe Bedy Central Christian Church

Centuries ago God made man in His image and bless our hearts we have been trying to return the favor ever since and make God into our image. At least we want to make God be the way we want Him to be. Many in the world today have done this and they have a form of godliness, but in the end it will lead to their death.

We have all heard it before, my god is a loving god, full of mercy and grace (true) and he knows I am a sinner, he created me with a sex drive (true) so He understands when I have sex with every woman I can (false). These things are normal and natural about us (true). So God is too loving to cast me into Hell (false).

And so we begin to create our image of God. But, what is wrong with making for ourselves a god that is practical and useful?

The problem with it is that GOD has forbidden it.

Exo 20:4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Exo 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,

Exo 20:6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

When I was a child after my first Holy Communion I wore a necklace that head 2 pictures of St. Christopher on it tied together with what looked like two thin shoe strings, this was to keep me safe.

However it was absolutely worthless in the lake where I lost it because it floated off my shoulders and ended up in the lily pads and cattails where the water moccasins lived.

I left it there not willing to test its power against a 3’ female water moccasin that might have a nest of infants nearby.

Later however, when I was 16 and began to drive, I knew I needed some protection from a god and I reverted to these things when I placed magnetic Mary and a plastic Jesus on the dashboard of my 57 Chevrolet.

I believe I still have Jesus in a shoebox in my closet; it is just difficult for me to place this plastic image of Jesus in a trashcan and send him to the landfill.

And yet we are told not have an idol in the form of anything that is in heaven above.

I hate to tell you this, but that St Christopher necklace would not have protected me from a water moccasin attack and those plastic statues could not have saved me from a fatal car accident. There is no power whatsoever in a rosary, not even in the crosses we wear. God is not present in things.

The omnipresence of the invisible God is not to be marked by any symbol of Himself, but by His words written on stones.

And yet when we wander like the Israelites wandered in the desert and we all have wandered at one point or another we long for leadership and direction, for something to trust or someone to follow. And so like them we beg ‘give us a god.”

We all want a god we can show off, we want a face, a shape, a god we can put visibly in front of us to protect us, if it’s a fight we want to carry our god into the battle with us. We think God is in the ark or in the statue and well if God is there we have the power!

That is just the way we are.

Moses said, “who shall I say sent me?” Tell them “I am.”

“I am”, what kind of name is that? Can you give me a name and a face? “No,” I am who I said “I am.” OK

So what God is saying to us is go ahead search the earth, the heavens, search the seas on the earth or the water under the earth. What you will find is there is nothing under heaven, under the earth, in heaven or anyplace else in all creation sufficient to portray YHWH. Oh, really!

Well give me your earrings, your nose rings, today your belly button rings, your tongue piercings and all you other piercings and I will make for you an image of what our God looks like.

Israel stood at the foot of the mountain, what they saw was fire, thunder and lighting it was a theophany with God, they were having an encounter with God, they probably never forgot that day. Ex 19:16.

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