The Second Commandment

DON’T MAKE OR WORSHIP FALSE GODS/ The Second Commandment/ 81G-024 (Exo. 20:3-6)

Exodus 20:3–6, AMP 4 “You shall not make for yourself any idol, or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [as an object to worship]. 5 You shall not worship them nor serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous (impassioned) God [demanding what is rightfully and uniquely mine], visiting (avenging) the iniquity (sin, guilt) of the fathers on the children [that is, calling the children to account for the sins of their fathers], to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing graciousness and steadfast lovingkindness to thousands [of generations] of those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

EXPLORATION: Ex 23:24; 32:1, 8, 23; 34:13, 17; Lev 19:4; 26:1; Num 33:52; Dt 4:15-19, 23-25, 28; 5:8; 7:5, 25; 12:2, 31; 17:2-6; 27:15; 1 Kings 12:28; 21:26; 2 Ch 15:8; 33:7; Ps 97:7; 115:4-8; 135:15-18; Isa 30:22; 40:18-20; 41:24; 42:8, 17; 44:9-20; 45:16; 46:5-8; Jer 10:3-5, 8, 9, 14-16; 44:4; Ezk 8:10; 14:3.

REFLECTION: This commandment forbids—absolutely forbids—the making and worshipping of idols, or images, or anything other than God Himself.

[1] What is the Meaning of this Commandment? “As the first commandment emphasizes the fact that there is but one God, in protest against the worship of many gods, the second places emphasis upon His spiritual nature (John 4:24), in disapproval of idolatry and materialism. This commandment does not necessarily prohibit the use of sculpture and painting in religion. The artistry and representation employed in the construction of the sanctuary (Ex. 25:17–22), in Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6:23–26), and in the “brasen serpent” (Num. 21:8, 9; 2 Kings 18:4) clearly prove that the second commandment does not proscribe religious illustrative material. What is condemned is the reverence, the worship, or quasi worship, which multitudes in many lands give to religious images and pictures. The excuse that the idols themselves are not worshiped does not lessen the force of this prohibition. Idols are not only not to be worshiped, they are not even to be made. The folly of idolatry lies in the fact that idols are merely the product of human skill, and therefore inferior to man and subject to him (Hosea 8:6). But man can truly engage in worship only by directing his thoughts to One greater than himself.” [Francis D. Nichol, Ed., The Seventh-Day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978), 1:602.]

[2] What is forbidden by this commandment? The making of idols; the worship of idols; covetousness (Col. 3:5) Note that the entire universe is covered; even the unseen world of heaven is covered. “…. of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth” (Ex. 20:4)Beloved, God says– No idol of anything is ever to be made: NOT heavenly creatures: angels, demons, devils, or imaginary gods; NOT heavenly bodies such as the sun, moon, or stars; NOT earthly creatures such as cows, elephants, or man; NOT water creatures such as fish, crocodiles, or sea animals.

[3] Why did God give this commandment? Because he is a jealous God— “I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another, Nor My praise to carved images.” (Isaiah 42:8, NKJV). Because the influence of idolatry is passed down from parents to children. Because the influence of loving God lasts for generations

[4] Who is to obey this commandment? All mankind. God is adressing this command to “You,”– you personally. “You” are responsible; and  “You” are held accountable to obey. Remember, if you disobey this commandment, you will be judged. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Eze. 18:20).

[5] How long was this commandment to be in force? Forever. All people of all generations are to obey this commandment. “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the Law till all is fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18, NKJV)

[6] The way the Old Testament Israelites broke this commandment:— In patriarchal times (Ge 31:30, 34; Jos 24:2); In the Mosaic period (Ex 32:4); In the period of the judges (Jdg 10:6; 17:5); In the early monarchy (1 Kings 11:10; 12:28); In the middle monarchy (1 Kings 11:7-8; 16:32-33) — An Asherah pole was probably a crude carved wooden image of a Canaanite fertility goddess; In the late monarchy (2 Kings 21:2-6); After the fall of Jerusalem (Eze 8:3, 10, 14, 16)

[7] The way men in general break this commandment: — Every person upon earth worships something. The great tragedy is that most people worship falsely. They worship something other than the only true and living God. They worship false gods:

  • The false gods created by the imagination of people.
  • The false gods made of wood, stone, metal, and other materials—all formed into the image of idols.
  • The false gods of natural law, of the basic forces of the universe, of believing that energy or force itself is the controlling power of the universe and of life.
  • The false gods of science and technology.
  • The false gods of self, money, sex, pleasure, houses, lands, and the other possessions of this earth.
  • The false gods of the state and government, of its power to feed, protect, and take care of man.

[8] The way the whole world will break this commandment: — They will worships the beast and his image, (see Rev. 14:9–10)

[9] How will God purnish violators of this Commandment? Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”” (Revelation 14:9–11, NKJV)

So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” (Revelation 16:2, NKJV)

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9–10, NKJV)

“For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:5, NKJV)

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”” (Revelation 21:8, NKJV)

But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” (Revelation 22:15, NKJV)

DEVOTIONAL IMPLICATION: “Our Creator demands our supreme devotion, our first allegiance. Anything which tends to abate our love for God, or to interfere with the service due Him, becomes thereby an idol. With some their lands, their houses, their merchandise, are the idols. Business enterprises are prosecuted with zeal and energy, while the service of God is made a secondary consideration. Family worship is neglected, secret prayer forgotten. Many claim to deal justly with their fellow-men, and seem to feel that in so doing they discharge their whole duty. But it is not enough to keep the last six commandments of the Decalogue. We are to love the Lord our God with all the heart. Nothing short of obedience to every precept … can satisfy the claims of the divine law.” [Ellen Gould White, Sons and Daughters of God, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1955), 57.]

ACTION STEP: What response do you think this lesson should inspires us to do? [1] Genuine repentance—Confess, Repent, and STOP making and worshipping of idols, images, or anything other than God Himself. This is very offensive to Jehovah God.

[2] Bible Study– Many thousands of professing Christians have transgressed, and are still transgressing, this commandment. To this very day, many are still making idols, images, burning candles/ incense before idols: bowing to them, kneeling before them, falling prostrate before them, kissing them, and praying to them. This is sin, and it either ignorance, or a clear distorion, or deliberately disobedience to God’s command.

Will you take the time to do a Bible study with them on this topic? —How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:14–17, NKJV) –Will you pray for them? Will you support Bible workers, evangelists, Pastors, or dedicated lay people who will take this message to those people who practice these things?

[3] Covetousness — Don’t covet, crave after, pursue, or seek anything else more than you crave after God. Scripture emphatically declares –“Covetousness … is idolatry” (Col. 3:5). A person can covet and make an idol out of anything—alcohol, boyfriend/ girlfriend, business, ceremony, country, crucifix, drugs, fame, family, job, money, pornography, position, power, recreation, ritual, sex, sports, etc.

[4] Obedience—Obey what God has commanded you! Stop rationalizing this behavior. Destroy all idols in your life/ home/ or in your church; and obey the LORD! “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:14, NKJV)

THE GOSPEL’S VOICE: “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.” (1 Corinthians 5:11, NKJV)

“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”” (2 Corinthians 6:16, NKJV)  “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.” (1 Peter 4:3, NKJV)

“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14, NKJV) “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” (1 John 5:21, NKJV)

CONFESSION OF OUR SINS: Father in heaven, we thank You again for Your word this morning. We want to confess and repent of our sins collectively. Forgive us Lord, we pray.

Remind us the simple truth of the Bible, that worshipping idols is contrary to our will. Help us to draw near and worship You. May You help us to ‘put to death’ —“the evil longings of our earthly bodies [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is a kind of idolatry [because it replaces our devotion to You].” (Col. 3:5).

Help us to “remember the former things of old,” the endless truth that ‘You are God, and there is no other’ like You (Isaiah 46:9). May we render all glory due to You; May we worship and obey You always; May we surrender everything to You. Help us LORD in our renewed commitment to You. We thank You Father, and we confess our sins, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Have A Blessed Morning: For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:5–6, NKJV)

The Gospel’s Voice/ Doctrines/ Sin/ Sins to Avoid or Confess/ Ten Commandments/ Lesson # 2.