The 2nd Commandment: What’s a Graven Image?


We understand from the Bible there are 10 commandments, in fact the Bible referred to them as 10 commandments, so it became our business to find out what those are, because, seriously Moses’ books are full of commandments.

Yes, you got it: the 10 commandments are written in Exodus 20.

Anyways, I’m focusing on the second commandment. It is sort of long-ish:

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” Exodus 20:4 (NLT)

While the worship of idols sound ridiculous to the modern mind, it is slowly creeping back in. And we are being encouraged to love and accept and accept and appreciate and explore. Those tiny little idols and the big ones as well are finding their ways back into our living rooms, schools, offices and public places. We must appreciate arts and we must learn about our cultures and things that make us different. But to worship idols, that’s a “No”.

In Deuteronomy 4, Moses was speaking to the younger generation (as theit parents – the older generation who came out of Egypt have all died in the desert). So these people need to be taught all over again.

Hear Moses speak about idolatry again:

“But be very careful! You did not see the Lord ’s form on the day he spoke to you from the heart of the fire at Mount Sinai.

“So do not corrupt yourselves by making an idol in any form—whether of a man or a woman,

“an animal on the ground, a bird in the sky,

“a small animal that scurries along the ground, or a fish in the deepest sea.

“And when you look up into the sky and see the sun, moon, and stars—all the forces of heaven—don’t be seduced into worshiping them. The Lord your God gave them to all the peoples of the earth.”

Deuteronomy 4:15‭-‬19 (NLT)


We can interpret an idol in other terms such as “anything we exalt above God in our lives”. That is equally true.

But we must not forget that literal worship of an images is making its way back, and worshiping them is unacceptable. Ancestral worship is still very much around. Many are looking for tangible thing, something to relate to, etcetera. This is idolatry, and unacceptable.

Furthermore, we have never seen the Lord’s form at any time, nobody even knew how Jesus looked like; so, we must not worship any angels or any person or pictures being paraded as God.


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