As Pastor Jeff Manion told us this past weekend, while appearing to be redundant, the second commandment is quite different. The first commandment is about trusting something other than God. The second commandment isn’t about replacing God but reducing him. God’s second command tells his people not to represent him with an image. Though we may be familiar with a Buddha statute or maybe the Hindu god Krishna, most of us do not worship them or offer them sacrifices. We probably don’t know many people who do. However, we still reduce God to an idol in other ways because we want to make God manageable.
Often we have a tendency to create radically incomplete views of God. These views take one aspect of God and make it the whole, making God manageable. It is true God is our friend but God isn’t just our friend. It is true God saves us from hell but that isn’t the onlything he does for us. Sometimes we grab onto just the aspect of God we need worshipping him only for what he can do for us. When we do this, we make God too small—reducing him to an idol.
As you begin your week, commit this second commandment to memory in addition to the first: You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them. Over the course of the summer, we’ll memorize all 10 together. May God’s word serve as a reminder to not reduce God.