Summary: The second of the ten commandment is one that is greatly misunderstood by some and hopefully this sermon serves to correct is view.
No Pictures Allowed
If you take a trip to the Washington D.C. to see the sites of the capital, you will see signs around the capital building and the White House that read photography forbidden. This is supposedly for reasons of national security, but we all know it’s so they can sell more postcards in the gift shop. These verse before us this morning make it pretty clear that God doesn’t want His picture taken either. Nor does He want a statue made, or any other type of an image.
During the mine disaster of Cokesville, PA; a young reporter was sending in his wire about the story and as his editor listened, these were the words that came in, “Cokesville, PA. No. 300, today, God sits in the hills around Cokesville.” The editor stopped the transmission and said, “Forget the story, interview God and get a picture.” But God doesn’t want His picture made! Many have misunderstood this commandment. They have taken it to mean that God is condemning any type of photography or pictures. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses are this way. Some feel that any art, statutes, dolls, stuffed animals, etc. are forbidden. That view, however, is simply adding to the Word of God. This commandment was given for the sole reason of preventing men from inventing objects to be used in worship.
Today, I would like to help you understand this passage. It may be hard for us, people who have never been exposed to true idol worship, to comprehend exactly what God is saying. However, there are truths given in these verses that we all need to learn. So, today, as the Lord helps, I am going to preach on this though, “No Pictures Allowed.”
Exodus 20:4-6, “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. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those how hate Me, but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
I. The Restrictions of Deity
• A Command to Follow
o God says, in no uncertain terms, that producing an image intended to receive worship is forbidden!
• A Custom to Flee
o Since the early days of man’s civilization, he has invented for himself idols, and representations of his idea of God, to worship.
Idolatry always seemed to be Israel’s weaknesses.
This first manifested itself in Exodus 32:1-14, with the incident of the golden calf.
Israel’s idolatry was rooted in the fact that their hearts were turned away from the Lord.
This violates the first commandment.
They also seemed to manifest an over dependence on Moses and had elevated him to the place of a little god.
Then, they tried to spiritualize their error by equating the worship of the calf with worship of Jehovah God.
o When a person needs some image or representation of god to assist in worship, it is a sure indicator of a lack in the spiritual life of that individual.
• A Change to Fix our Hearts on
o Idolaters genuinely believe that their idols are truly god.
o This is proven by their bowing to it, praying to it, sacrificing to it, giving to it, and more.
o Many even hold installation ceremonies where the deity is invited into the idol to take up residence.
o You and I should resolve that we will allow no image to take the place of God in our hearts!
• Man if forbidden from this foolish and vain activity.
II. The Reason for the Demand
• Their Inferior Nature
• No matter how hard man tries, he can never properly represent God.
• After all, God is a Spirit according to John 4:24.
• Man in his zeal to worship and honor God, has sought to flatter Him by producing images of Him.
• However, the Almighty cannot be limited to stone, wood, plastic, or some paint on canvas.
• As hard as man might try, he can never properly depict God.
• No matter what form that image might take, it will always be inferior to the True and Living God.
• How does little man portray a big God?
• The parable about Abraham .
• Men usually become like the thing they worship.
• Their Sinister Nature
• God’s desire for man is that every man enters into a living, personal relationship with Himself.
• He doesn’t want us giving our devotion to a false god.
• He wants us to be intimate with Him.