Why is the first commandment so important and what does it mean to us in the 21st century? Do we have idolatry in our lives?
“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. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” – Exodus 20:4-6 (ESV)
What is Idolatry?
– Misplaced Worship
– Moving God Out of His Rightful Place
– Replacing God In Regard to Our time, Our attention, or Our energy
– Why God Wants to be the Only One for us:
He Knows We Must Worship Something. It’s in our physical design
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
– Romans 1:21-25 (ESV)
He Knows it will Enslave Us. We serve our idols in bondage.
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
– Romans 6:16-20 (ESV)
He Knows We’ll Pass Idols On to Our Children
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me
-Exodus 20:5 (ESV)
– King Uzziah chose to serve God on his own terms in the Temple and was stricken with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26)
– Jotham his son refused to even enter the Temple as a result (2 Chronicles 27)
– Ahaz, Jotham’s son not only avoided the Temple, he closed the doors and chose to worship false gods (2 Chronicles 28)
He Knows We Will Become What We Serve
The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.
– Psalms 135:15-18 (ESV)
– At one point, Egyptians worshiped the Scarab Beetle
– The Scarab is a Dung Scavenger
– Today, Egypt is in abject poverty and wallows in it
– They have been reduced to scavengers on any waste left behind by tourists
So we should strive to serve Jesus in order to be like him:
… to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
– Romans 8:29b
…but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
– 1 John 3:2b
It Hurts Him
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God…
– Exodus 20:5a
– We expect our spouse to be faithful to us and us alone
– Would it matter to our wife if we told her we loved her with all our hearts but yet still had photos of another woman in our wallet?
– When we love another, God becomes the jilted lover
– But He is always there to take us back
So… What’s in your wallet?