“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:4-6)
In God’s second commandment, Israel was commanded not to make any type of idol or carved image that will become their object of worship (Exodus 20:4-5). At the time Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, neighboring nations commonly practiced idol worship. It was the “norm.” Communities worshipped images and idolized heavenly bodies, nature, and even creatures.
Sadly, Israel became guilty of idolatry, as seen in Exodus 32, just a few chapters after God appeared to them at Mt. Sinai giving them the Ten Commandments. Israel had been delivered from polytheistic and syncretistic practice. While in the wilderness, Israel made a golden calf. Historically, idolatry has been an issue for Israel (Joshua 24:2, 14).
Idolatry became the root sin for Israel and Judah, resulting to other detestable sins (Jeremiah 2:28; 11:13; 32:32-35; Ezekiel 8:5-11). According to the warning of the Lord, Israel and Judah were punished because of their outright rejection of the Almighty (Deuteronomy 8:19; 11:16; Joshua 24:19-20; Habakkuk 1:1-11).
Simply put, idolatry is a person’s clear and outright rejection of God. When a person rejects God in his life, what follows is the embracing of a different god of his liking. People intentionally discard God because of not wanting to give an account to Him (Cf. Matthew 12:36-37). Paul clearly explained that godless and wicked people are recipients of God’s wrath because of their suppression of the truth (Romans 1:18). The act of giving them up to their sinful passion and desires is actually God’s judgment upon them (Romans 1:18-32).
My friend, I urge you to cease from rejecting the Lord. Instead, come to Him and humbly acknowledge that he alone is worthy of your worship and devotion. In the end, whether you like it or not, it is Christ Jesus who will receive all the honor and glory (Philippians 2:9-11).