“You shall not make to yourselves any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”
Exodus 20:4 (MKJV)
There was a guy who I didn’t know read my Freedom Fighter contributions until I had the chance to sit with him in the lobby of Raws Memorial on the grounds of Americas Keswick. He said to me, “Chris, you have quite a way with an expression and I appreciate your view on God’s Word.” Admittedly, I get that a lot and it’s humbling but when it came from Pastor Van it was as if I finally got me some theological cred!!
Pastor Van had a way with an expression himself and he sent me his published works, encouraged me to plagiarize him and treat it as if I wrote it myself. I read his stuff from time to time and I can’t find it in myself to do what he gave me permission to do BUT I did get something from him that helps me as a writer and it’s his complete Biblical Illustrator commentary series and I went to it for this writing.
Did you ever get one of the commandments of God wrong? I don’t mean by disobeying it, I mean, you read it, you think you understand it and then one day you’re reading a book that discusses the 10 commandments and then, like you shoulda had a V-8, you smack yourself on the head and go “UH-OH…wrong interpretation!” I got to the 2nd chapter of Alistair Begg’s book “Pathway To Freedom” when this unsettled feeling about what I was reading turned into “I better look this up.” I go straight to Exodus 20:4-6, reread the passage really, really slowly and find myself agreeing with Begg. It’s the Biblical Illustrator that makes me understand that if I don’t want anyone making a statue of…ah, better to quote the commentary.
“To set up an image to represent God is a debasing of the Deity, it is below God. If one should make images of snakes or spiders, saying he did it to represent his prince, would not the prince take this in high disdain? What greater disparagement to God, than to represent the infinite God by that which is finite,—the living God, by that which is without life, and the Maker of all, by a thing which is made?”
I ain’t no prince but I’ll tell ya this, if I was, I would want my statue dead on with what I really look like (at age 30 perhaps). I just don’t see myself as a spider or a snake and if I feel that way about myself, who would I think I am trying to sculp an image of The Most-High God, whom I’ve never actually seen, as a statue? Let alone thinking I was gonna get away with my version of Him. This was the mistake of Aaron. Did he think that The Golden Calf would remind the people of the God that just parted the Red Sea? Was Aaron thinking he was giving God’s Children something tangible to keep their focus on YHVH? Maybe, however, he went with what he knew, then made an even bigger mistake by puttin’ the thing on an altar (Exodus 32:5).
All the while, YHVH is looking down on the ensuing chaos as His Chosen behave as if they were back in Egypt. You bet He’s gonna add the, “For I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those that hate Me” clause to this commandment. You can’t make a pure image of a pure God with materials that come from a cursed earth…big Biblical no-no. I often wonder how hard that Golden Kool-Aid went down after Moses gave a stir.
If we were to really think about this, the whole of human history is a record of a sovereign God at war with idolatry. We got us a planet full of ancient ruins. Greece, Rome, Babylon, all are full of destroyed temples to gods that never existed and yet mankind put soooo much effort into building them anyway. It truly is a shame.
It’s a hard thing to prove that God exists without something tangible. But we do have our witness to God working in our lives if we open our spiritual eyes wide enough to see it and then share it. As Pastor Van puts it… “All my life I wondered how I could prove that God exists today, how I could convince more people that God would do all He did say. But that is the job of attorneys, to wipe away every doubt. A witness need only tell what’s happened. That is what it is all about.” Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think About This: “If we are to escape the corruption that accompanies all attempts at worshipping God by means of likenesses, pictures, and imaginings, then we must focus on the Lord Jesus Himself, who is ‘the image of the invisible God’” -Alistair Begg