Ex 20:4-6: You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing 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 yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
This is the second command of the Ten Commandments. The command first forbids the making of any image of the Deity: God.
It has been a mystery to man how God looks like. Man has looked in the earth beneath, the heavens and in the sea to see the image of God but all in vain. The fact is that God has no image; He is a spirit? How then can you draw or engrave a spirit? In addition, God defines Himself as ‘I AM’ (Ex 3:14). How then do you draw ‘I AM’?
Making a graven image of the deity (God) does not only happen in art and design but images are first formed in our minds. Imagination makes images, so imagining how God looks like is forbidden.
Secondly, the command forbids making of any graven image to represent God or to be a god; an idol. Since time memorial man has been making graven images and lifting them up as her/his god. When the children of Israel saw that Moses had delayed to come down out of the mount, they hurriedly made for themselves a molten calf (Exodus 32).
Man is always looking for things s/he has made with her/his hands to lift them up as her/his God. Anything made with the hands of man (graven) may be of good use to man but still it may turn to be a god. Man has made money, cars, houses, molded, curved and engraved animals, trees and even reptiles but in the end they turn to be a god.
The big problem is that after man makes an image and sees that it is good, s/he bows down to worship it. Bowing down to worship does not mean you do it literary but means that the image occupies you more than God; it takes the center stage in your life and God comes second. Your life becomes depended on it and you cannot live without it. Anything that occupies you more than God is a god (an idol).
Men have made the image of God, the image of fellow-men, and you find them bowing down before these images worshiping them and when you ask they say the images represent God. God hates this and He does not want Himself to be represented by any image but only His begotten son; Jesus Christ.
Why does God forbid making of graven images? Because any image that man makes is inaccurate and inadequate and it cannot represent Him.
Satan is a deceiver and always fighting to lower the authority, dominion and name of God. He has deceived men even those calling themselves Christians and they have created and accepted the images of God in their life. Graven images of God are today found everywhere; in the houses hanged on walls, men carrying them day and night, inside the churches etc.
Man has also idolized fellow-man and worshiped him/her. From the so-called men of God, to presidents, world actors, musicians, leaders, footballers, etc are all today’s idols.
Images of the apostles, animals, and even Mary mother of Jesus have become idols. You find man bowing down before these images calling the name of ‘God’. I ask you, which god are you talking to? The true living God, ‘I AM’, is neither worshiped by or through images nor is He idolized; an image cannot represent Him. You will continue bowing to an image but it will never save you from troubles nor answer you but it will always be staring at you.
This command also forbids apostasy: - worshiping God in a false way. I have talked a bit about apostasy in this article: apostasy in the church today , but apostasy has gone beyond that. Men are worshiping all sorts of crazy things, images, claiming that they are not worshiping the image but it is only a representation of God.
All kinds of superstition are here forbidden, and the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God.
Let us stop idolatry.