Summary: We must not only worship the right God, but we must worship Him in the right way. Accept no substitutes. Don’t try to reduce God to a material object. Don’t try to localize the One Who is infinite! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
How Big is Your God?
One day a little girl was drawing a picture, and even skipped recess because she was so focused upon it. Her teacher asked what she was doing and she said she was drawing a picture of God. “Oh honey, you can’t do that...no one knows what God looks like.” She held up the picture and said, “They do now!”
Most of us have a concept of God that is far too small. And the 2nd commandment is all about this. Don’t live a limited life, because we serve a limitless God. Accept no substitutes. Don’t try to reduce God to a material object. Don’t try to localize a God Who is infinite!
The first commandment teaches us who God is. The 2nd teaches us how to worship the One and Only. We must not only worship the right God, but we must worship Him in the right way. It’s possible to worship the right God but in the wrong way.
1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.
One common way that man attempts to worship wrongly is by fashioning something tangible that he can see.
As with all the commandments, something is prohibited, but something is also protected, which is our personal relationship w/ God. [jealous]
And then there’s something that’s projected [into the future]. V. 5, generational sin.
It’s not art that’s prohibited, not statues, pictures, etc. But rather the same items for worship, which must be in spirit, not in person!
We’ll study the tabernacle soon, which will include artwork, even graven images, but not for worship. Not saints, not the Lord, worship no one and nothing in this way.
But we see Israel do just that w/ the golden calf at the bottom of them mountain where God is giving the commandments to Moses. Later they worshipped the brazen serpent, which God told them to fashion. But He never told them to worship it later, rather, He had said in our text NOT to!
Remember in the tribulation, the end of the world, all hell breaks loose, and it all culminates around the breaking of this commandment in the 3rd Jewish temple. The antichrist erects a graven image of himself and declares himself to be God, requiring people to bow and worship him.
But man has always had a propensity to have a tangible god that they can see and touch. It’s still common today in many nations around the world, but you need look no further than America to find people worshiping statues and images, sometimes even of the right God, but not in the right way.
It’s one thing for the heathen to worship idols...that’s really breaking the 1st commandment more than the 2nd. But to do this in the name of God, and Jesus, is a terrible tragedy.
This leads to a discussion of the Roman Catholic Church:
I must speak the truth in love, so allow me to start with the love part, and then get to the truth. I can appreciate this church, their good works, their stands on several moral issues important to me as well. I don’t have anything personal against them, and I’m not a Catholic basher. My best friend in high school was a Mexican national who was raised Catholic, and though I disagreed, we could be friends. But I’m thankful today that a few years ago my friend came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ in his heart...today it goes further than just the hand and the head. It’s deeper than any of the objects he was to worship in his old church.
Now the truth. I feel sorry for multitudes lost in this movement, because I believe it is just paganism dressed up. I don’t doubt than some of them come to have a real relationship with God, but usually it’s in spite of what their church teaches them. I know of good people who are born again Catholics, and can’t figure out why they stay associated with the church other than for political gain, for family reasons, or some other motive, because they reject the idolatry and the ‘other gods’ that church makes out of Mary and other quote, “saints.” They don’t want that worship. They aren’t aware of it, or they would decline to receive it.
A saint on the dashboard won’t keep you safe when you drive. A statue in your yard won’t protect your home any more than and ADT sign when you don’t really own the system! And a cross around your neck is fine, but it doesn’t sanctify you even when you are living like the devil.