A few years ago while visiting India, I took a trip in a taxi. The driver, who was Hindu, had statues and images of Buddha and several other “gods” attached to the car’s dash. After I revealed myself as a Christian, the driver made sure to show me his small image of baby Jesus in a manger. He was intent on covering all his bases when it came to worship.
The first commandment taught us who God is. The focus is on His exclusivity. The second commandment taught us how to worship the One and Only.
“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” (Exodus 20:4-6).
While most of us avoid bowing down to images meant to represent God we should still ask ourselves if we are worshipping God in the way He desires to be worshipped. Not only must we worship the right God, but we must worship Him in the right way.
God is invisible to the human eye. Nothing on the earth or in the heavens represent Him or His nature. The essence of the second commandment is that spiritual worship of God corresponds with His nature. Jesus said, “God is spirit, and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Calvin said, “As soon as any one has permitted himself to devise an image of God, he immediately falls into false worship.”
Do we bow down to or serve things created by human hands? Maybe we never call these things gods. Maybe we don’t describe our association with these things as bowing down or serving but in reality, much of our time, attention, and devotion is wrapped up in things created by human hands.
How do you fashion images of God? Have you constructed any belief system about God that is contrary to the truth He has revealed in His word? These images not only degrade and distort God, they distract us from pursuing the only One who is worthy of our worship.
This past weekend I witnessed spiritual worship in a very profound way. I officiated a wedding for a couple where they and the congregation sang a beautiful song called Behold Our God. Watching and listening to the couple sing with tears streaming down their faces was intensely moving. In the midst of one of the biggest days of their lives, they put aside nerves and worries about what people might think and they worshipped and I worshipped with them.