“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, 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.”

Exodus 20:4

In the second commandment God clearly deplores idolatry, no-one who reads this command- ment cannot mistake his reaction to it for in it He provides His people with some clear and spe- cific guidelines. The Israelites were commanded by God to keep away from idols; they were to worship the Creator not the creation and reflect Him in their standards of living.

Years ago, Life magazine carried on its cover an artist’s rendering of God as an old man with long white hair and stern facial features.

Charles Hodge said, “Idolatry consists not only in the worship of false gods, but also in the worship of the true God by images.”

Any visual portrayal of deity can be dangerous. No created thing can convey God’s true and complete character. That’s why God commanded Israel not to make any image or likeness of anything in heaven or on earth as an object of worship. Such images dishonor God because they distort His glory, and this can lead to sin.

Theologian J. I. Packer suggests that the people of Israel intended to worship Jehovah when Aaron made the golden calf. He says they were using the bull-image as a reminder of God’s great might in delivering them from Egypt. But strength is just one aspect of His character. The calf showed nothing of His holiness. Thus the people turned the “feast to the Lord” into a wild, sen- sual party (Ex. 32:5-8).

To worship an image or picture of any Person of the Trinity is idolatry and veils God’s glory. It leads us astray. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24). God made us in His image, but we cannot make Him in ours.

You can’t use anything else to represent the Creator, when it comes to worship; it is ‘To God alone the praise’. Idolatry is misdirected worship: it’s about getting our priorities wrong putting other people or other things before God.

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Garment of Praise

Monthly Insights for Spiritual Growth, Encouragement and Personal Victory.

Oluyemisi Onanuga

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

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