Intro: Ill. Trip to the White House and signs forbidding
photography. This is supposedly or reasons of national security, but we all
know its so they can sell more postcards in the gift shop. Ill. The
Biltmore House is this way also. They, too, have their reasons. These verses
make it pretty clear that God doesnt want His picture taken either.
Nor, does He want a statue made, or a any other type of an image. (Ill. Mine
disaster in Cokesville, PA. The young reporter was sending in his wire about
the story and as his editor listened, these were the words that came in, "Cokesville,
Pa. No. 300. Tonight, God sits in the hills around Cokesville." The editor
stopped the transmission and said, "Forget the story. Interview God,
and get picture." But God doesnt want His picture made!
Ill. Many have misunderstood this commandment. They have
taken it to mean that God is condemning any type of photography or pictures.
(Ill. Many Jehovahs Witnesses are this way.) Some feel that any art,
statues, dolls, stuffed animals, etc, are forbidden. That view, however, is
simply adding to the Word of God. This Commandment was given for the sole
reason of preventing men from inventing objects to be used in worship.
Tonight, I would like to help you understand this passage.
It may be hard for us, people who have never been exposed to true idol worship,
to comprehend exactly what God is saying. However, there are truths given
in these verses that we all need to learn. So, tonight, as the Lord helps,
I am going to preach on this thought, "No Pictures Allowed."
I. THE RESTRICTION OF DEITY
A. A Command To Follow God says, in no uncertain terms,
that producing an image intended to receive worship is forbidden!
B. A Custom To Flee Ill. Since the early days of mans
civilization, he has invented for himself idols, and representations of
his concept of God, to worship. (Ill. Idolatry always seemed to be Israels
weakness. This first manifested itself in Exodus 32:1-14, with thew incident
concerning the Golden Calf. Israels idolatry was rooted in the fact
that their hearts were turned away from the Lord. This violates the first
Commandment. They also seemed to manifest an over dependence on Moses and
had elevated him to the place of a little god. Then, they tried to spiritualize
their error by equating the worship of the calf with worship of Jehovah
God. (Ill. When a person needs some image or representation of God to assist
in worship, it is a sure indicator of a lack in the spiritual life of that
C. A Change To Fix Our Hearts On - Ill. Idolaters genuinely
believe that their idols are truly god. This is proven by their bowing to
it, praying to it, sacrificing to it, giving to it, etc. (Ill. Many even
hold installation ceremonies where the deity is invited into the idol to
take up residence.) You and I should resolve that we will allow no image
to take the place of God in our hearts!
D. Man is forbidden from this foolish and vain activity.
II. THE REASON FOR THE DEMAND
A. Their Inferior Nature No matter how hard man tries,
he can never properly represent God. After all, God is a Spirit John
4:24. Man, in his zeal to worship and honor God, has sought to flatter Him
by producing images of Him. However, the Almighty cannot be limited to stone,
wood, plastic or some paint on canvas. As hard as man might try, he can
never properly depict God. No matter what form that image might take, it
will always be inferior to the True and Living God (Ill. Psa. 115:5-8;
Jer. 10:1-7; Rom. 1:23.) (Ill. How does little man portray a big God?) (Ill.
The parable about Abraham) (Ill. Men usually become like the thing they
B. Their Insidious Nature (Ill. Insidious is a fifty
cent word that means "crafty.") Gods desire for man is that
every man enters into a living, personal relationship with Himself. He doesnt
want us giving our devotion to a false god. He wants us to be intimate with
Him. You see, we do not need some image to aid us in our worship of God.
We have a person on the inside who will guide us in our worship of God
John 14:16; 16:13. (Ill. God is also well aware of the fact that behind
any idol there is a very real devil who is looking for souls to claim for
C. Their Invading Nature According to verse 5, God
is a jealous God. The Israelites were Gods people and He would tolerate
no interlopers in that relationship. (Ill. Imagine a man flirting with another
woman in the presence of his wife!) God will have no idol, no image, no
person or thing taking His rightful place on the throne of our hearts. (Ill.
Isa. 45:5) We must search our hearts and lives to see if we have removed
every thing that would insert itself ahead of God in our lives.
III. THE RESULTS OF DISOBEDIENCE
A. The Burden Of Gods Judgment When we elevate
any thing, or anyone to the place of Godhood, we will find out too late
that neither it, nor they, will be able to protect us from the awesome wrath
of God Psa. 59:8. (Ill. The Philistine god Dagon in the presence
of the Ark of the Covenant 1 Sam. 5:1-5) Judgment will always stalk
B. The Blight On Succeeding Generations (IL. The Contest.)
God is not saying that he will punish the children for the parents
sins, Deut. 24:16; Eze. 18:19-32. He is saying that sin leaves its
mark on our children! Children tend to resemble the environment they are
exposed to. (Ill. Patterns of abuse, walk, talk, etc.) Often, it takes generations
to break the cycle established by the parent. (Ill. The contrast between
judgment and mercy verse 6! Ill. Rom. 5:20!)
Conc: In truth, we are all guilty to some degree of manufacturing
little gods for ourselves. We may not have a statue or an image to which we
bow down, but we do have habits, traditions, activities, people and possessions
that we place ahead of God. This is idolatry and this is sin. No one, or no
thing deserves your worship more than God Himself. Is He receiving it as he
should? Is God Almighty your One and True God tonight?