Second Commandment
Thursday, January 7, 2010

                Did you receive a new computer for Christmas and wonder what to do with your old one?  If so, I have a solution.  Kingdom Road Ministries in Kenya walks 7 km every day to receive their teaching materials from our office in the USA.  A computer for that fledgling church would be truly a great gift for them.  If you would like to donate your old lap-top or desktop to them, please contact me at bsurles@etcable.net.  Thanks for your continue support of this vital ministry.

Exodus 20:4-6  "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,  6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  

           Sometimes we confuse the 1st and 2nd commands of God.  In fact, they appear so similar in their ideal that even Martin Luther combined them.  In order to do so and keep a total of 10 commandments in all, he divided the last commandment on coveting to make 2 different coveting commandments.  Woe be unto me to compare my theology with Martin Luther’s, but in this case I believe Luther was wrong.  For there is a vast difference between “you shall have no other gods before Me,” and what we traditionally hold out as the second command, “You shall not make for yourself and idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”   

         First, in the way of rehearsing, let me go to the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Simply, God is God and there is no other – not Buddha, not Confucius, not Mohammed, not the million Hindu deities, not any.  But even more profound, for most humans, this means not a lesser god of our imagination.  That includes the watered down versions of Yahweh, Christ, Jehovah.  God is the God of Scriptures and no other.  He is omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, omnipotent, and most of all He is holy.  And if your God is not all those things, you have violated the first commandment.  If your God is not “able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask or imagine”; if you can imagine, conceive, or see your god, your god is not God; if your God is not an ever-present help in times of trouble, your god is not God.  If your god is still learning as time marches own, your god is not God.  If your god is not the architect of the future, your god is not God.  If your god is not one God, existing in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then your god is not God.  If your God is anything less than the One True God revealed in Scripture and in Christ, then you have violated the first commandment for you have begun to worship a lesser god.  And there is a reason that command is number 1.  If you fail in meeting the first commandment, then all other commandments are mere words to you.  

          Now to the second commandment:  Do not have idols.  In the times of the Old Testament, men would take a piece of lifeless wood, ivory, or stone, carve it into what they thought God might look like, and then bow down and worshiped it.  In other words, God looked like what they could imagine.  And we say, “Silly people” but yet we do the same things in our worship.  It may seem trite, but we need only to see the ritual of athletics to see how we have truly begun to carve out gods and then bow down and worship them.  Have you ever witnessed people parking in the church parking lots days before worship, having tailgate parties, sleeping in the cold, just so they could get a seat on Sunday morning?  Have you ever seen a “wave” for Jesus?  If Christ is not glorified, have you ever seen people mourn for days?  You see, we carve out Cowboys, Longhorns, Aggies, Broncos, Bears, Bulls, and worship them.  They become our idols.  We buy Rams, Broncos, Chargers, Blazers, and Cobras and spend more money in keeping them fed, than we do in honoring God with our money.  And maybe the greatest proof of violation of the second command is worshiping denominations: ones, fives, tens, fifties, and hundreds; Methodist, Christian, Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Episcopal, Assembly of God, or any of the other 2200 sectarian denominations; Democrats, Republicans, and Independents; and we even exalt places of birth, places of graduation, and places of residence above the One True God. 

           God gave us the 10 Commandments, in part, to help us have an orderly culture.  How can there be order when what we worship has so many faces.  When we were new as a nation, we had different political ideologies, but the discourse was pure because we all worshiped the God of Scripture.  We were unified in the land because we had a basic understanding of the first two commandments.  But we have seen that crumble because we have now begun to worship the ideology which we believe will serve us the best, and then shape our god to look like our ideology.  We have violated over and over the repeated admonishment of Scripture by putting our trust in “horses and men.”  Only when we return to worshiping God (the One True God of Scripture) at the very center of our lives and culture, can we begin to restore our unity, heal our land, and stand against the world. 


Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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