Studies on the Ten Commandments
True versus False Worship
I once visited a beautifully ornate temple in northern India. People were filing past the lingam, paying homage with gifts of money and flowers. Two Indians in Western dress who were engineers spoke to me about the beauty of the place. “Yes,” I said, “but it all centers around the worship of a piece of rock.” They said, “Yes, but people need something visible to represent god.”
1. Is the God of the Bible any different? Isaiah 40:18
“To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to?”
2. Why is there nothing in the universe to compare God with? Isaiah 40:25, 26
“‘To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?’ says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
God is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. He made “the sun, the moon and the stars” (Deuteronomy 4:19). This is why the second commandment forbids the worship of idols or anything created (Exodus 20:4–6).
3. When King Solomon dedicated the temple, what did he pray about God? 2 Chronicles 6:18
“Will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”
4. What is idolatry? Romans 1:23, 25
“[Exchanging] the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.” “[Exchanging] the truth of God for a lie . . . [serving] created things rather than the Creator.”
5. What do people trust in when they make an idol? Habakkuk 2:18
“Of what value is an idol, since a man has carved it? Or an image that teaches lies? For he who makes it trusts in his own creation; he makes idols that cannot speak.”
Isaiah speaks of the ignorance of those “who pray to gods that cannot save” (Isaiah 45:20). Idols “cannot see or hear or eat or smell” (Deuteronomy 4:28).
6. What can God do that false gods and idols cannot do? Isaiah 44:7
“Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. . . . Yes, let him foretell what will come.”
7. Is idolatry just the worship of an idol? Ephesians 5:5
“For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.”
8. What will idolaters not inherit? 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10
“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
9. What last message is given to the world, and who are we called to worship? Revelation 14:6-7
“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’”
The world will be divided over true versus false worship! “Idolatry in its larger meaning is properly understood as any substitution of what is created for the Creator. A man can place anyone or anything at the top of his pyramid of values, and that is ultimately what he serves” (Hebert Schlossberg, Idols for Destruction, 6).
Who or what has your best affections? True worship is to put the living God, the Creator, first in your life. False worship is to put anyone or anything else first.
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Bible Discovery by Errol Webster. Reprinted with permission by SIGNS. Biblebay