Am I the only one who has ever struggled with discovering the difference between the 1st and 2nd Commandments? I mean really what is the difference in having no other Gods before me and idol worship? Wouldn’t idol worship fall into the first category? Maybe it is just me but for a long time I always just thought the 2nd Commandment was sort of a rehashing of the first. Man was I wrong.
The Golden Calf
Look at it this way. When Moses came down from the mount the people had built the golden calf. These people were not worshiping another God, they had just built an idol in place of God. They felt that they needed something physical to worship so in essence the golden calf was constructed out of their desire to have “something” to worship. They still recognized that it was God who had brought them here but they needed “something” to give that credit to because they did not yet understand the essence of God.
This is the point of the 2nd Commandment. We must remember that we are to worship God and not the things of God. In our earthly desires we cannot allow our need for “something” to replace the fact that we may not always understand the essence of God.
As stated in the last couple of blogs this is well and good for those living under the old law but if Jesus completed that law are we still bound to not create false idols to worship in place of God.
Idol Worship v. God Worship
Idol Worship is a physical act. It requires physical action we must go to the idol and give something of ourselves to it. Idol worship is easy because it gives us a physical something to give credit to when things are going well.
God Worship is a mindset, a lifestyle, so much more than just a physical act. We worship God through our lives, through our prayers.
I feel like the entirety of Jesus’ ministry supported God worship and not idol worship.
Cleansing the Temple
The biggest scriptural reference for me is when Jesus cleansed the temple. Those there had been caught up in the selfish act of idol worship. No longer were they worshiping God but they were worshiping the act of worshiping God. They had turned their focus to how they benefited from their worship. The benefit had become the focus of their worship. God had become a means to an end for them. Jesus drove them out and said that they had turned a “house of prayer” into a “den of thieves”.
We must have caution in our own lives that we do not sacrifice our prayer life for a need for something physical. We connect with God through prayer. Not just the bow your head and get on your knees type of prayer. This is in reference to the essence of our mind, body, and spirit being connected with God.
Idols in Our Lives
In our lives this can take many forms. Even inside the church we have a tendency to replace God with things because it is easier when we have “something” to worship. Many Christians and churches today have found that in the cross. I love the cross and everything it stands for but we have to remember that the object of our worship is not the cross. It is in God who sent His Son to die on that cross. Just in that example we can see just how easy it is. Idol worship is not about putting things before God it is about putting things in place of God.
My prayer as I am writing this is that God will cleanse my life just as Jesus cleansed the temple. If there is an area of my life that I am allowing myself to worship the results of God then I pray that God will bring light to those areas so I can work on removing them from my life.
Commandments 1 and 2 are pretty cut and dry. It is clear to see that Jesus supported these through His teachings. What happens when we get into the commandments that do not concern who God is and how we are to worship Him? Was Jesus’ support limited to the 2 Commandments or did it continue. Leave your email address below and receive a notification when the next blog hits.