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.
The first commandment warns us: Don’t worship false gods. The second commandment warns us: Don’t worship the true God in a false way. Don’t worship God with idols or images.
The problem with images is simple. Any image of God inevitably reduces God to less than he really is. Any idol inevitably obscures the glory of God.
It is vital that we see God as he is, as the great, loving, infinite, sovereign and merciful God that he is. Because if we do not see God as he is, in all his glory, then we will not worship him or love him or trust him or enjoy him as we ought.
That’s why, in the opening sentence of his book The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer wrote: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
For years I struggled with my view of God. I tended to see God as great and big and holy and sovereign. But in my heart of hearts, I did not see him as kind and loving and forgiving and gentle. And this distorted view of God hurt me. How it hurt me! It strangled the life and joy out of my relationship with God. Of course I haven’t arrived in my view of God, but I am well on the journey, and today I see God more and more as he is, full of relentless affection and overflowing grace.
The second commandment, like all ten of the commandments, is for our good. It tells us that God has not given us tangible images to reveal who he is. Rather, he has given us his Word.
To see God as he really is, read God’s Word. Every day, open God’s Word and meet him there, in the pages of Scripture.
See God as he really is, in all of his resplendent glory and grace.