Summary and Application
The Second Commandment
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—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 nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:4-6
Broad and very comprehensive in its wording, the second commandment forbids the worship of the true God through icons, images, or other man-made symbolisms. Many of the heathen nations around Israel claimed that their images were mere figures or symbols by which the Deity was worshiped, but God has declared such worship to be sin. The attempt to represent the Eternal One by material objects would lower man's conception of God. The mind, turned away from the infinite perfection of Jehovah, would be attracted to the creature rather than to the Creator. And as his conceptions of God were lowered, man’s worship of God—his view of God—would be lowered as well. Anytime we endeavor to represent God, by any devising of our imagination, we lower our concept of the Deity. Anything that we allow to take His place in our lives—be it our job, our bank account, our possessions, our family—of that thing we are making an idol. God calls for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. In the second commandment we find principles of worship acceptable to God.