Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Idols and Images

Do not make an idol for yourself in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth.   You must not bow down to them or worship them, because I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ sin to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,  but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commands. Deuteronomy 5:8-10

THANKFULLY,  this is a commandment that most of us can just overlook. I know that I am not going to make a little statue of a bird, cow, or even a man and worship it, and
I've always been rather harsh in my judgment of the Israelites concerning their worship of the golden calf. (you can read about it here) Until last week, I thought that they had turned their back on God and chosen instead to worship a calf...who would do that?? As usual, there is more to the story than I first believed.
The Israelites  simply wanted something to focus their worship on since Moses was MIA. (Moses was on Mt Sinai getting the 10 Commandments from God.) They were afraid and were seeking God's strength. Initially, they worshiped the calf as a representation of the One True God... not a separate god.
I'm going to stop there and leave you to research the event and the speculation surrounding it for yourself.
My point is this....The Israelites did not intend to worship a bull instead of God. They initially worshiped the bull as a representation of God.
In light of this, the 2nd Commandment is maybe not one we can just overlook. While I am sure that few, if any, Christians would worship some "thing" other than God, would we by chance unintentionally worship some "thing" that represents God to us?
It is a valid question.
A precious, God fearing, Christ loving friend of mine carries a cross with her when she speaks to groups. It is called a Clinging Cross and fits nicely in the palm of your hand.
She told me on more than one occasion that she will not attempt to speak in public without her cross because it reminds her that this is all about God, that He is with her, that He is the source of her strength and that He gives her the words to say. I have to wonder if this is much different than what the Calf was for the Israelites.  In the beginning, my friend received the cross as a gift...a reminder of God's love for her. Over the course of a few years, she grew to depend on the cross, feeling that she "must" have it with her in order to speak. She did not realize that she had grown to put more faith in the actual cross than in the God it represents.
Are there representations of God in your life that you value, treasure, protect, even worship more than God Himself?
Do you have an item, like my friend's cross,  that represents God?
Do you have to be in a certain location to worship God?
Do you have to listen to or sing certain music to worship God?
Do you seek the words of a person (pastor, Sunday school teacher, parent, friend) rather than seeking God's Word?
God is enough. He is with you always. He is all knowing and all powerful. We do not need to attach things to Him in order for Him to be real to us. We only need to seek HIM.
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