Summary: Looks at the second commandment and how making idols limits our worship of God
Make No Idols
Last week we began a new series, God’s Top Ten, on the 10 commandments and we started out by giving an overview of some important facts about the 10 commandments. Namely that
The 10 commandments
were part of the Old Covenant with Israel vs. the New Covenant with Christians
never saved anyone
(Paul tells us in Galatians 2:16 that “by observing the law no one will be justified”)
But we learned that the 10 Commandments do convey some eternal principles that help us know how to love God and People, what Jesus called the 2 greatest commands that all the other commandments hang on.
So the 10 Commandments are something important for Christians to learn and know if we are going to best be able to express our love and gratitude for the Lord.
This morning we are going to continue on in our study, so if you would turn with me to Exodus 20,
We are going to look at the second commandment this morning, we are going to see that the first and second commandment are closely tied, yet different.
If I had to give a simple overview of these first 2 commandments it would be that
The first commandment, about not having other gods,
is about who we worship.
The second commandment, make no idols,
is about how we worship
So let’s jump right in this morning and read and see what exactly the second command is telling us and why and what application this might have in the life of a follower of Christ today.
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 "You shall have no other gods before me.
4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Ok, so the first commandment says, “Have No Other ‘gods’
And the second command starts out, “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
Now as we read this we need to ask,
Is the Lord prohibiting the making of things that represent something in heaven or on earth or of the sea?
No prohibition for artistic purposes
No, it does not prohibit making representations of things in heaven or earth or the sea for artistic purposes.
In fact, we find in the Old Testament that God actually gave instructions to make things that represented things in heaven and on earth.
When Moses was meeting with God and receiving the 10 Commandments and the other laws, God also gave instructions for the tabernacle. We see the incredible detail that God gave for the tabernacle in Exodus 25, while Moses is still on the mountain speaking with God.
And here are some of the instructions he gives Moses concerning the tabernacle and the things in it.
Exodus 25:17-18, 31a, 34
17 "Make an atonement cover of pure gold--two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover…31 "Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out… 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms.
Now Cherubim are heavenly beings and almond flowers are something that are found upon the earth.
Now given that God tells Moses to make these representations of things in heaven and on earth, we can see that the command is not meant to prohibit the making of representations of things in heaven or on earth that are artistic in nature.
The command reads, "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; (Exodus 20:4-5)
The command is about not making an idol used to worship God.
We see the Apostle John repeat this command for Christians as well.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
So What is an Idol?
An Idol represents God and is used to worship Him
Now , it is in the first command that God prohibited having any other ‘god’ that we worshiped.