REFLECT: Has a picture or image of God replaced the real the LORD as the object of my worship? Have I changed my ultimate loyalty to an object, an activity, an organization or a person that has become the god I serve?
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in haven above or on the earth beneath or in the water below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, ADONAI 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. But I will show love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and obey My commandments (Exodus 20:4-6).
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood – idols that cannot see or hear or walk (Revelation 9:20).
The First Commandment clearly teaches that ADONAI is the only God, and no others are to be tolerated, or even thought of. The Second Commandment declares the type of God that He is, and how He is to be worshipped. We must remember that the LORD is not against making images. Later, God would command Moses to make a bronze snake in the wilderness. This commandment is against worshiping these idols.
No idols were to be worshiped. Deuteronomy 4:15-18 confirmed that command: You saw no form of any kind the day God spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. The people of other nations might worship objects in heaven above (like the sun, moon and stars), or on the earth below (such as the crocodiles in Egypt or sea monsters among the Babylonians), but Israel was to worship the one true God.
The reason that idols are not to be worshiped is that ADONAI is a jealous or zealous God, and their idolatry is looked upon as spiritual adultery. The Hebrew term qanna’ combines the two concepts of jealousy and zeal (not envy or suspicion).366 So zeal, or zealousness, meaning a passionate devotion to, would be a better term to use than jealous, which has negative, even petty connotations. So idolatry would cause God’s zeal to burn like a husband’s zealousness would burn against an unfaithful wife (Hosea 2:2-5). Because God and Israel are viewed as married, Israel is viewed as the wife of ADONAI (Deuteronomy 5:1-3, 6:10-15, 7:6-11; Isaiah 54:1-8, 62:4-5; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 16:8; Hosea 2:14-23). For that very reason, the Israelites should not have worshiped other gods. The LORD has a right to be zealous over what is rightfully His. So this was not a petty jealousy, but a righteous zealousness.
God will punish the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Him (Exodus 20:5). When one member of the family commits a sin, spiritual adultery for example, the whole family suffers. They will not all be put to death for the father’s crime (Ezekiel 18:4b), but if they continue to hate God, the penalty of the father’s act will surely be felt by future generations to come in different ways. On the other hand, obeying ADONAI’s commandments flows naturally from loving Him (John 14:15; First John 5:3).
An idol is anything or anyone who takes the place of God in our lives. Saint Augustine said, “Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped.” Believers are not immune from this temptation. Even different aspects of our faith can become idolatrous. One of the greatest examples of this is the bronze snake in the wilderness. When the Israelites grumbled in the desert, God sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many of them died. ADONAI then commanded Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. So anyone who was bitten by a snake could look up at the bronze snake and live (Numbers 21:4-9). That bronze snake is a type of Christ on the cross. Jesus said: Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up so that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life (John 3:14-15). That snake, like Yeshua, was a means of salvation, something to deliver the people from their sins. But the Israelites eventually worshiped it. Seven hundred years later when a godly man named Hezekiah became king, he began to cleanse Israel from her idolatry. As Second Kings 18:4 tells us, one of the first things he did was to break to pieces the bronze snake Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been burning incense to it. They took a good thing that God had given them, a means of salvation, and turned it into an idol to be worshiped. Thus, we must be careful not to do the same thing.
God will tolerate no rivals; not our service, not our concern, not our passionate devotion, not even our ability, though we live or die for the cause of Yeshua the Messiah. He wants every key to every door in your heart. He is zealous that there be no competition. He will not share the throne of our hearts. There is only one seat on the throne and it is His. He wants to look at us and say, “There go My children. They are all mine. They belong to Me without exception. Every part of their personalities, every relationship, every ambition, and every desire belongs to Me.”
In the last days those that dwell upon the earth will choose to worship idols that cannot see (see my commentary on Revelation Db – The Sixth Trumpet: A Third of Mankind Killed). As a direct result of their rebellion, a third of mankind will be killed. Is there an idol in your heart? Can God look down into your heart and ask, “Do I have a rival here? Why aren’t you all mine?” Dear children, keep yourselves from idols (First John 5:21). ADONAI your LORD is a zealous God who will tolerate no rival.367
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017