“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” Exodus 20:4–6
Q: What is the second commandment?
A: You shall not make idols.
What does this mean?
Because we worship and love God, we should not make our own, pretend gods.
Consider this passage of Scripture from Isaiah 44:13–17:
The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”
- What do you think is the prophet Isaiah’s main point that he wants his people to understand?
- We might think Isaiah’s audience was quite foolish to bow down to that which they made with their own hands, but are there things in your life that are created by the hands of people that you are tempted to worship? (Technology, music, clothes, friends, grades, etc.)
- How does this passage of Scripture help you understand the 2nd commandment of the Ten Commandments?
Our Father, thank You so much that You have given us Your Word that shows us how stupid it is to worship things that we have made with our own hands. Help us to orient our worship onto You, the true maker of all things. The maker of our hands, minds, hearts, and the giver of our every breath. Apart from You we can do nothing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.