Present-day Western ‘idolatry’ is the worship of a god invented by us, or of earthly objects and goals which we substitute for God. Here are the massive differences between the true and living God and all substitutes.
‘Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.’
And my title now is the living God. By contrast with all human idols, ancient and modern. Now idol worship is condemned, as you know, in the Book of God, and it is particularly condemned by the second of the Ten Commandments. And yet gods always have been manufactured. Physical gods which can be seen and touched, or modern gods, possessions, careers, various other things which are taken and worshipped as if they were gods, and solace and comfort and happiness is drawn from them as an alternative from drawing blessing and comfort and happiness and meaning from God. Now, of course, the commandment against making idols has also in mind the fact that the true God, the living God cannot possibly be depicted. Of course not, because he is infinite and he is infinite in all his attributes.
I don’t have to tell you the God who is revealed in the Bible is infinite in his knowledge. You cannot illustrate that. You cannot find any way of doing justice to that. The infinite knowledge of God, his infinite power. How could that possibly be depicted or illustrated or fashioned by sculpture? It’s impossible. All the attributes of God are infinite and eternal, so he cannot be illustrated.
The very attempt to do it, to make some likeness of God, is going to shrink him and belittle him and insult him and mislead the person who views that object. Because it won’t be God. And people all around the world (more in ancient times than now, but even now) will seek to depict a god with an animal, a small scarab beetle or something of that kind. And that, of course, does no justice to the true and living God and is completely misleading. It’s banned, it’s offensive to God. But I’d like to talk about human idols just a little, because it helps us to understand, by contrast, the immensity and the wonder and the plan and purpose of the true God.
‘Flee from idolatry’ says the scripture. Because it will take your soul to hell. It’ll keep you from God lifelong, and eternally so. Modern gods, ancient gods. Anything invented by the brain of man or made by the hand of man is a substitute for the true God.
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