Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | September 5, 2022

“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” – “I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.”

Today’s devotion comes from Exodus 20:4-6.

“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.  You shall not worship them or serve them;  for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”   Exodus 20:4-6.


How easy it is for us to justify ourselves!  “I do not make idols!”

On August 10, 2022, I posted a devotion about this commandment, even being critical of another church for showing a popular art image of a smiling Jesus surrounded by children which image filled a huge screen in our worship service and stayed there during the blessing of the children.

But, just yesterday, I made an image (photograph) of a stained glass likeness of Jesus that I saw in front of a church that I was attending.  And, I even sent it in a text message to my children with a comment about how beautiful the front of the church was.  How hypocritical of me, particularly as a teacher!  How could I so lead my children astray!  

Please forgive me:  my Heavenly Father, my family, and my friends!

Here is a copy and paste of parts from that devotion until the words:  “the image of a god that is cute and that we prefer and can manipulate to our desires.”   

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.

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.   

Here is the link to Westminster Larger Confession and a cite to the place (Questions and Answers 108-110) where it teaches about this second commandment:

But, there is hope!

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9.  

“Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;  and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.”  Ezekiel 36:25-27.

“For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”  1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.

Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”  1 John 5:21.


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