You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
I don’t believe I can recall the last time I had the urge to construct an idol out of gold, metal, or wood. In truth, the temptation of idol worship appears far from us in today’s society. One would have to look hard if their understanding of an “idol” was limited to the description above. We would be foolish however, to conclude that this dismisses the Second Commandment from any relevance today. In truth, idol worship is alive and thriving. It is only by our imagination that we will believe otherwise. Strangely enough, this is exactly where most of our idol worship takes place.
What is an idol other than the desire to control deity? Having prohibited all other gods in His first commandment, the second is doubtlessly in reference to the true God. To belittle God to the point of fashioning Him into something made of human thought is to limit Him in number of ways. To confine the Creator of the universe within a hand made object is to rob Him of His power; to represent God in gold or wood is to rob Him of His majesty, and to limit His presence to a motionless idol is to limit His very character. The unseen God is a powerful and sometimes scary object of worship. Since the beginning of time, men and women have selfishly attempted to control a God who would not be controlled. In centuries past this was done with physical idols. Today our images have been ingeniously fashioned within the secrecy of our imagination. Regardless of their location, any attempt to selfishly fashion God as we would see fit is a transgression against His Second Commandment and a disgust to the Father.
I wonder what the idols within your mind would look like if they somehow escaped and made themselves known to those around you. Have you limited your God to a grandfatherly figure, eager to tell stories and love without discipline? Is your God a sort of Santa Clause, handing out gifts and blessings to those who’ve been nice, or is your God hateful and rigid, disciplining without love? Furthermore, take heed of the warning found in Psalms 94:7-9:
“They have said, The Lord does not see, nor does the God of Jacob pay heed.’ Pay heed, you senseless among the people; and when will you understand, stupid ones? He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?”
Possibly the greatest idol we worship today is fashioned in the form of a complacent God who cares not how His children act. I challenge you to search the inner compartments of your mind today. How does your understanding of the Lord measure up to Scripture? What idols need to be taken down and destroyed in light of Exodus 20:4-6? Do not be deceived any longer. Our God is not a complacent God who takes lightly the way you perceive Him. There are strong consequences to those who construct false images of the Lord.