Posted by: bshelley | December 4, 2008

Likenesses and idols


Today’s Verse: Exodus 20:4 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. NASB

Oddly enough, what made me think of this verse was trying to find an appropriate image to put with another devotional recently. It was as you might imagine about God, but then hopefully they all are, right? I was out poking around all my different resources for photos and clip art to find an appropriate image representative of God. One day I used one of an earthly father and his young son dancing together. The other one I used a day or so later was the sun beaming down from the heavens in a crystal blue sky. Neither was an image of God, but hopefully a good representation of the spiritual thought of the devotional. Today’s verse, which is the second of the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God, is about a restriction against worshiping idols and any kinds of likenesses of the heavenly. If you remember, the Hebrews got in really big trouble with God at Mt. Sinai over this very subject. They made a graven image in the form of a golden calf that they made to represent the God who had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. They were not trying to worship a different God, merely a man-made physical representation of the God who had led them. But for Moses intervention, God was ready to strike them all dead right there and start over. It is clear how seriously He takes this commandment doesn’t it? We are not to pray to or make images of God. Seems reasonable that in our limited capability to fully comprehend Him, there is no way anything we could come up with would do Him justice. He has revealed Himself in His creation and His word. He came in physical human form in His Son Christ Jesus that we might know His love and heart more clearly. That seems to be sufficient in His thinking. I know how my mind works and because of that I think I can fathom this limitation placed on His people a bit more clearly. If I had a picture or a man-made image of God to look at, I would make that my image of God and place Him in a mental box of things I can fully grasp. That is not possible with God. He is bigger than what I can put in a category or a finite image. My granddaughter is just learning to talk and one of her little things she says to me is, “Papa, you are too big.” I don’t take offense since she is learning the difference between big and little. We can say the same thing about our heavenly Father too can’t we? Lord You are too big for me to fully comprehend or even represent, but thankfully You are not too big to love, worship and praise for who You are.

As always, may God bless your heart as you seek His.



  1. Good message. We can never fully comprehend the image of a holy, perfect God. His glory is far too vast for our minds. But we can get glimpses of God in every time Christ works through his people to love, to forgive, to good works and to touch the unlovely. He is in the center of his people and sometimes you can just see him there!

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