Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6
God spoke these words. Exodus 20 starts with saying that it is God, Himself, speaking these commandments. These things are important for us to hear.
All over the world, we see images, carvings, artwork, statues, and monuments of these things that God tells us not to make. The United States has the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Monument, and many other of these types of man made idols. We don’t really think about them being idols, because they’ve been around a long time, and are a symbol of patriotism and devotion to our country, and the freedom it stands for.
The author of my devotions was Willie Robertson. He spoke of how people are idolizing those in entertainment, and that the Robertson family had to be careful, as they did not want to be idolized for their success.
When I read this verse in Exodus, I think of the many people who are looking for something to believe in. They substitute people and things to give them spiritual contentment. You don’t have to look far to see people who give their time and effort to different causes, and some are good, but they go about it with such devotion and drive, that it takes over their lives. People put jobs, money, entertainment, and things before God. Even though this was written so long ago, it is relevant today.
When God delivered Israel from Egypt, after they saw and experienced the miracles of God, it didn’t take long for them to turn from Him, and make a golden calf to worship, instead of the God of deliverance. God is Spirit, and they wanted something they could see, something they could control, something they could understand. God fed the people as they crossed the wilderness. He protected them from surrounding nations. He did miracle after miracle for them to see His power and greatness. Yet, they thought they would find spiritual fulfillment in a Golden Calf. How could that be? It doesn’t even make sense.
We do the same thing. Many of us have seen God’s power in our own lives, and we trade our devotion and time for things that are useless to our faith. We let the little things distract us from the big picture. We keep turning aside to seek other fulfillment.
I think that is why the Bible is so full of verses that encourage us to keep going, when we have failed. I love the Psalms. David was no stranger to failure, and was not afraid to expose his sins to the world through his writing. He talks to God as His best friend. His vivid, beautiful Psalms describe God as a Shepherd, a Refuge, a Deliverer, a Help, and uses many more analogies.
No other substitute will offer the spiritual fulfillment that only God can.
Lord, please give me spiritual eyes to see with. When I see with my humanity, I am distracted by all the “eye candy”. Help my focus and devotion to be on You alone. You cannot be made with my human hands, and Your ways are higher than my ways. Help me to worship You in truth and in Spirit. Teach me Your ways, so I can walk in them, and please forgive me when I make mistakes. Thank You.