Summary: Part four of this series focuses on the secvond commandment pertaining to idol worship. This is will be a two-part message.
The Ten Commandments Part 4
This is part four of my series on the Ten Commandment. This morning we will examine the second commandment as found in Exodus 20:4-6. I will cover this commandment in two parts as there was too much information to do it justice in one. The second commandment says, “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 fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”
Before I go further, I want to level set us on what it means today to worship an idol. Let me share with you the definition of the word “idol” and what it means to “idolize” something or someone and the definition of worship. Idol is defined as “an object of adoration (somebody or something greatly admired or loved often to excess).” It is also defined as “an object worshiped (e.g. a statue or carved image).” To idolize means to “admire fanatically or to worship something or someone as an idol.” Now let’s look at the definition of the word “worship.” Worship is defined as “revere, reverence, adore; to honor and admire profoundly and respectfully; an act of religious devotion usually directed towards a deity; reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.” Worship is a verb; it is an action. It is something that we choose to do. Worship is not forced; comes from the heart; and we can go through all of the motions and still not be in worship because our hearts are not aligned to God. Worship starts in and comes from the heart. You can sing loudly, shout and raise your hands to God, but if those motions are not generated from your heart you are not worshipping God. Likewise, someone who sits quietly in a service without movement can be in worship. Like I said, it comes from within. I want you to understand these definitions because our society loves to worship but it is often not focused on worshipping God even though we go to Church.
Case in point, American Idol, a show that I personally do not watch but have heard people talking about, is in its 12th season making it one of ABC’s longest running programs. People tune in each week to see their favorite contestant whose talent is on display for all to see. I’m sure there are people who schedule their activities so that they can be home to watch. No date night with the spouse that night. No relaxing on that patio and quietly holding hands as you look at the stars. They can do those things on another night but tonight is American Idol night. Maybe American Idol is not your thing. But admit it, we all have our thing. How many you will arrange your schedules so that nothing will interfere with you going to Bible study? How many of you will arrange your schedules so that it will not interfere with quiet time alone with the Lord? What about your schedules for Sunday worship? Do your protect it? Just to be clear, when we value (revere, reverence, adore or pay homage to) a TV show or whatever “our thing” is in this way, that my friends is worship by definition.
As a society we tend to “idolize” actors, entertainers and even some well-known preachers. How many of you have heard about the “Beyoncé Mass”? Clarissa sent me the link to that event. Grace Cathedral, a church in San Francisco, held the event, and I quote, “for people to find God through secular music”. It was attended mostly by people of color and members of the LGBT community. One of the pastors said, and I quote, “We have a community that is youthful and loving and looks to the world as a partner, not an enemy.” However, James 4:4 says something different. It says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” The minister who organized the event said, “Beyoncé is a better theologian than many of the pastors and priests in the church today. And that is not an exaggeration.” I don’t think you heard me. Let me read that again: “Beyoncé is a better theologian than many of the pastors and priests in the church today. The video on the church’s Facebook page included examples of Beyoncé’s “religious symbolism” in her music and performances, from dressing as African deity, the Virgin Mary, and scenes in her videos that reference the Last Supper. I can’t speak for you but for me that borders on worship and not worship of God.