“You shall have no other gods before me. 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.” “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [T]hey.. exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Exodus 20:3-6; Romans 1:18-21,23
There were no photographs in those days, millennia ago, but there were drawings and graven images. God forbade the making of images of Himself because He knew the idolater’s heart, that our sense of sight can get the best of us and insidiously take over the sense of reason and self-control. A visual stimulus can trigger all sorts of comparing, wanting, lusting, nit-picking, and God wanted Himself known without any trappings, in spirit and in truth. His creation was made glorious to point us to Him, the Mastermind Creator behind it all Who alone is worthy to be praised. He created the magnificent visible to draw us to His more glorious invisible qualities and nature. (Psalm 19:1-4)
I have recently been heart-broken hearing of new incidences of visual-stimulated prurient behavior infiltrating a beloved leader and church, a school, a marriage. Glances grow into gazes grow into monsters that devour individuals, families, institutions, sometimes wreaking irreparable harm. Our holy God knew best to outlaw the bowing down to what we see, knowing it becomes the laying down of resolve, the relinquishing of purity, the life ridden with idol poison. The only way to avoid these temptations is to worship and serve Him alone. He must be all in all, at the controls of our mind’s control of our eyes.
Be careful little eyes what you see, and be careful little hands what you make and hold too tight. Where have I constructed graven images that steal my attention from higher things? Where am I allowing even beautiful and good delights to hold my affections here on earth and diminish my first love for Christ? Where have I become too big, and slipped into perceiving Him as too small?
King of kings, You alone are worthy of all glory, honor and praise. I offer my idols at Your altar, for You are my All in all.