[CF Devotionals] 2009-12-29 - What Exactly is Idol Worship

The Ten Commandments, Part 7

Idol worship is not a new problem. It still exists today, in the classic form of worship of a man-made gods. There has been some feeling the images of Christ,and in some churches of "saints," represent a direct violation of this command. And it well may be, depending on whether or not these images are truly worshiped.

Notice the commandment specifies images are not to be made to be the focus of worship. It didn't matter if the images were of "gods" or anything in Heaven or Earth - birds, animals, etc. The point was that no image was to become an object of worship. Historically, Hebrew art never included anything from nature, so they would not be violating the commandment. This was an example of excessive zeal in that the command wasn't against art, but against art becoming an object of religious veneration. While I might argue against us having pictures that ostensibly portray the Lord, it wouldn't be because I see it as a violation of this commandment.

It is important that we recognize the difference between the first and second commands. The first refers to who is to be worshiped, God, and the second, how - not with images. Notice not only would this warning be against the worshiping of idols of other gods, but also no image of God Himself or of His creations should be made or worshiped. We may often assume from Scripture that these other gods could be real, i.e. demons presenting themselves as deity. After all, Lucifer fell because he wanted the worship those that belonged to God:

"The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "'You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created, they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the Earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade, you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end, and will be no more.'" (Ezekiel 28:11-19)

To be continued.

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