By now, it should be apparent that it is our faith and trust in God that must bring us to the salvation covenant. The first commandment is about knowing God for ourselves and loving Him through our obedience.
The second commandment is about ‘connection.’ God created all of us, unique and beautiful. We all serve Him in unique ways.
This poignant commandment reminds us who we are, to whom we rightfully belong, and the reason for this perfect, eternal love for which we were created.
The Second Commandment
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4).
Why would God make this a commandment?
He never wants us to forget that He created each of us differently and individually, specifically to be in a personal relationship with Him.
If we look at the creation account in Genesis 1:25-26, we see a fascinating comparison. God created each creation after its kind: “God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
This is amazing when we understand that God created us to be His kind. We were created to be in relationship with Him. We were created as someone to whom He could be with, relate to, and share His love with. In His very act of creating us, He was giving us the promise of a future union between us, that we were designed not only to be His kind but to be His for eternity.
We were created to supply the only thing that He “needed” and could not just create — the need to love and to be loved.
Yes, I said, “needed.” God showed us a vulnerability by creating us as He did. He “needed” us. He wanted to share His love with us, He wanted us to love Him, and wanted us to be in relationship together.
It’s the perfect love story.
He was not content just to love us. No, He wants us to love Him back.
His love is so powerful, constant, and fulfilling that we must succumb to it once we recognize it. Once you are fully pulled into His loving embrace, understanding it for what it is and will be you’ll never want to leave.
Best of all, there are a thousand million variations of this loving story – each one as amazing, touching, and unique as the next. Is your story with Him one of them?
One day we will leave this world and be with Him forever as His.
Jeremiah 16:14-15: ‘Therefore behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when it will no longer be said, As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but, As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them. For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.’
It will be the second great exodus. We will be free from our earthly bodies and the bondage of sin. We are part of His most fabulous Love Story.
How do I know He needs our love?
God created each of us. He placed within us the desperate need to be valued and loved.
We all desire a chance to be a part of a perfect love, by someone we can trust, that we can understand and can relate to by someone we value and hold dear. The idea of a non-existent perfect love is often held up as more important then money, fame, or power. It is part of how we were created that we all share. It is in Him too.
Look at the true tender love between a parent and child or two lovers that found each other and shared together the love of a lifetime. These stories are part of all of us. It is the same in all cultures. Everyone understands and yearns for this perfect love – from the very young to the very old. This perfect love can only be found in Him.
The need to be loved and to love has given us our most significant accomplishments and our greatest failures. It is the reason some can go on forever, and the same reason some will end it all tomorrow.
The search for love consumes us.
God put a message in us. It says: ‘I love you. I want to be loved by you. I’ll do anything so that we can be together. I will given up everything to be with you. I will even die for you.
People don’t like to think of God as needing anything. However, if a pure, perfect, eternal love is to exist, then there must be a moment of vulnerability and risk and perhaps even suffering.
He showed us His willingness to be vulnerable and to suffer when He laid Himself on the cross. He’ll do anything for our love as long as it is pure and true. He gave us His Word so that we can know His intentions for us. It is our own decision to follow Him and eventually be united with Him together forever.
Death has lost its bite. This relationship between the Creator of the universe and us a perfect love can exist. and it is eternal.
It is only inside of this perfect love that we will long to live for eternity. The opportunity to show God our love and to be loved perfectly, forever.
What then is our salvation covenant?
It is our opportunity to be transformed into someone who can properly receive this perfect love from God and who can rightly (dare I say one day to perfectly) love Him back.
We must understand what is at stake. The perfect love with Him and us. We must get to know Him personally. We must trust Him so that He can begin His transformation of us into people He can appreciate, relate, and share with.
His image is sacred.
Idols confuse us and disconnect us from the personal way in which God created us. We can only follow the second commandment if we first follow the first one.
Do we still have idols today?
It may not be a physical idol or a statue, but yes, all of us still have idols. It may be ourselves, someone else, material objects, or an ‘image’ of God that we’ve created in our minds.
God uniquely created each of us. Each of us has our own story to tell, our personal encounter and loving relationship with Him. We can celebrate the stories of other people, but in the end, it is each story, our story, that is exceptional to God.
As strange as it may seem, we are each more like God than we are like other humans. We can share only so many similarities with other humans, but we can share everything we have with God. He created us to HIS image.
We need to remember that we were created in the image of God. God is spirit. Our true self, therefore, is spirit. Our bodies are the temporary vehicles that we have been given to get us around. They come in all shapes and sizes, male or female, with handicaps or no handicaps, and are filled with hormones and chemicals. All of them are burdened with the desires of that flesh.
But our outer bodies are different from who we are inside. One day, we will be given ‘new bodies’ that will not have the earthly constraints. For now, we must operate with what we have.
We must operate in the roles that God gave us when He gave us our bodies. This is part of our satisfactory service to Him. We take what we are presented with gratitude, and we serve Him to our highest and best ability according to what we were given. Nothing more is expected of us and nothing less either. We take our bodies and present them as our sacrifice to Him.
When we take our eyes off Him and want to perfect our earthly bodies, it becomes an idol. Remember, we are not here to make ourselves happy. We are here to serve Him. That is the essence of a perfect self-sacrificing love. We make Him happy when we accept what we are given and present it back to Him cleaned and shined up according to His ways and His Word.
The world is full of idols in different forms. We think they are vital, while, in fact, they are temporary and sad. We are often weak in seeing and contemplating the eternal; therefore, we live for fleeting things that will not last. This is why through faith we must contemplate, evaluate, and elevate the things that are eternal over the things that are temporary.
What is your idol? It can be anything, really. For some, it is a hobby that slurps all their time. For some, it is social media, movies, or online game playing. Some people idolize someone else or are always racing to have the ‘perfect life.’ Some give themselves over to the pleasures of the flesh: sex, pornography, or addictive substances. Some strive for the perfect body. It is sad, exhausting, and oh, so temporary.
All that these idols do is separate us from God. We see Him as distant and cold because WE let so many other things stand between us.
There is fulfillment and satisfaction in a true relationship with Him. It will spill over also to our other relationships if only we can let God in and let Him help us to impact others also to do good. Material idols should have no place in our lives.
Images of a god that we have created in our minds.
I know many people who go to church regularly and can talk about who they think God is but could tell you very little if anything at all about what his word says about Him. Yet, through some imagined effort or through some words of men, they have complied a complete image of who this god is and what he is about. These are what I call false gods.
They are images that we carry about just like we bear the image of the perfect mate or the ideal life that we want. It is nothing more than a vision.
We can read for ourselves about people who woke up to the mistakes of their preconceived images about God on Judgment Day in Matthew 7:21-23:
‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’
God wants us to know Him so He told us to be able to defend ourselves in His word. 1 Peter 3:15: ‘…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence….’
Are you ready to give a ready defense of your faith? According to His word only? If not, I suspect it is because you are walking around with an image in your mind that you cannot defend through His word. Maybe it’s time to listen to the warnings.
The real test to find out what are our idols are is to see what we are actively seeking, “so we can be happy.” If we are not constantly seeking His will trying to make Him happy and trusting ourselves to Him according to His word only, then we have idols. What are yours?
God loves you.
The real beauty in having faith and trust in God is in the understanding and recognition that God can fulfill all our needs. That He loves us and is calling each of us to be a part of the best most perfect love that has ever existed, for all eternity.
We needn’t look any further: our love story is in Him.
This is the true fulfillment of the second commandment: we can stop our search for true love; we were created to be His.
When we realize why we were created, we are reminded of whose we are or can be every time we look into the mirror. We were created as His kind to be His.
Next week we will look at the third commandment in our salvation covenant.