We studied about the Ten Commandments Sunday night. That particular night was focused on Exodus 20:4-6. Sitting there reading the verses while everyone was discussing the idols we make and worship, I was drawn to the portion that is usually left out of the Ten Commandments Exodus 20:5-6. Here are the KJV and NIV versions.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee 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:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy 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;
6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. KJV
4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. NIV
The biggest problem facing the church today is the lack of true Biblical faith. Our churches have made an idol of God – the God that they like, as opposed to the God revealed in the Bible. Years ago the God that people believed in was mostly the jealous and judgmental God of the “fire and brimstone” preachers. But today the God that most churches worship is the Loving God. The slogan verse for these churches is 1 John 4:16 “God is love.” Which God is. But when you ignore everything else His Word reveals about His character, then you have created an idol.
When you focus on one portion of the character of God to the exclusion of all others than you have something different than the whole. It would be similar to describing me to another person and only using the adjective female. That would be accurate but would fall far short of the truth of who I am.
I found it very interesting that the Lord pointed out two specific characteristics of His in the commandment to not create and worship idols. He was clear that He was a jealous God who will punish those who sin. He was also clear that He is a merciful God to those who love him and keep His commandments.
Unless the God you worship is both Jealous, Merciful (Loving) and all other characteristics described in the Bible then you have created an idol to worship.