Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 10, 2022

“The LORD is a warrior; … Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy. … You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.”

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 15:3-10.

“3 “The LORD is a warrior;
The LORD is His name.
4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
5 “The deeps cover them;
They went down into the depths like a stone.
6 “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.
7 “And in the greatness of Your excellence You overthrow those who rise up against You;
You send forth Your burning anger, and it consumes them as chaff.
8 “At the blast of Your nostrils the waters were piled up,
The flowing waters stood up like a heap;
The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 “The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil;
My desire shall be gratified against them;
I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them.’
10 “You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.” Exodus 15:3-10.

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Last Sunday, a popular art image of a smiling Jesus surrounded by children filled a huge screen in our worship service and stayed there during the blessing of the children.

My heart sank at that proud display by a conservative Presbyterian church that subscribes to the Heidelberg Catechism and which should know better than violate the second commandment.  

Q. 96.  What doth God require in the second commandment?

A.  That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded in His Word.

Q. 97.  Are images then not at all to be made?

A.  God neither can nor may be represented by any means.  But as to creatures, though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make or have any resemblance of them either in order to worship them or to serve God by them.

Q. 98.  But may not images be tolerated in the churches as books to the laity?

A.  No;  for we must not pretend to be wiser than God, who will have His people taught, not by dumb images, but by the lively preaching of His Word.  Heidelberg Catechism.

Some of you may think what is the harm?  Scripture does state:  “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray;  and the disciples rebuked them.  But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me;  for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  After laying His hands on them, He departed from there.”  Matthew 19:13-15.

Then, preach it!  Shows these words on the screen!  But, do not show an art image of Jesus and violate the second commandment and lead the congregation to even partially rely on art images rather than solely rely on God’s word alone to form their beliefs about God!

Also, consider today’s Scripture.  So to speak, as Israel was faced with Egypt chasing Israel intent on destroying their babies, their children, and everyone else, what did Israel need?  This art image of Jesus stuck in their minds or today’s Scripture?  As Ukrainian Christians face the Russian invaders what do they need?  An art image or God’s word?

Americans may not be faced with literal war now, but we are faced with spiritual war.  What do we need?  An art image or God’s word?

We should not need to explain possible reasons for the second commandment, but consider that if such images are allowed, our tendency is to be lazy and rely on them rather than diligently studying God’s word and relying on Scripture alone to form our beliefs of God.  

Or worse, we may leave the God of Scripture and worship an idol, the image of a god that is cute and that we prefer and can manipulate to our desires.   

But, there is hope!  

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16-17.

“The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.  His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.  He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.  From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.  And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”  Revelation 19:11-16.


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