You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
If the first commandment is about the object of our worship, the second concerns its manner. We can worship the true God in a false way.
We may argue that an image will help us in our worship of the true God (a priest I was I in conversation with on one occasion, likened it to carrying a photograph of a loved one in your wallet); but how long will it be before we are worshipping the picture itself and not the Lord.
God wants worship “in the Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) In other words, worship led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and fed and guided by revealed truth.
‘The first commandment, though it does not mention love, is concerned with our loving loyalty to the Lord; the second commandment, with its reference to his jealousy, raises the topic of his love to us, for ‘jealousy’ is part of the essence of true love, and the Lord so loves us that he cannot bear it when our desires and loyalties go elsewhere…Sinai brought no vision to the eyes, only a voice to the ears. Everything in worship must be ordered according to the word of God – a truth Jesus reiterated in Matthew 15:6b-9.’ Alec Motyer: ‘The message of Exodus’, pp.223, 224.
‘…true religion ought to be conformed to God’s will as to a universal rule.’ John Calvin.
THOUGHT: ‘Lord, keep me true to truth as truth is true to you.’