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: 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; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6
We are not to make ourselves an image or likeness of anything and worship or honor it as if it were a god or could in some way help us.
While this clearly prohibits the making of idols of wood, silver and gold, it also forbids making a god after our own image. We are not to make our god to be like us by putting our values and our thoughts into our image and understanding of God (cf. Ex. 32; Isa. 55:8-9). Rather, we are to accept and honor the LORD God of the Bible, believing what He Himself tells us of Himself in His Word.
As our Maker and Redeemer, the LORD God has every right to be a jealous God. And, since He has made us, He also has every right to punish us when we turn away from Him and disobey His commandments. He created us to live for Him and to do His holy will. How it angers and disappoints the LORD when we are rebellious and sinful creatures!
Our God does not take sin lightly, as some suppose; nor can one escape His judgment. He visits and punishes the sins of the fathers upon the children even unto the third and fourth generations of those who hate Him. This means that, in addition to the eternal punishments of hell which all unbelievers will suffer, God will, during their earthly lives, punish the unbelieving children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren, for the sins of those who hate Him and turn aside from His holy commandments.
This is certainly a warning to us against giving in to the temptations of the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh! If we turn aside from the LORD God and live in sin, He will punish us also! Our claims to love the LORD God mean little if we are unwilling to live for Him and keep His commandments.
Rather, let us acknowledge our sins to the LORD and turn to Him for forgiveness and the needed strength to amend our lives and live for Him. For the sake of Christ’s innocent sufferings and death in our stead, God will be gracious and merciful to us. Cf. Psalm 32.
Dear LORD God, for the sake of Christ’s bitter sufferings and death and His glorious resurrection, forgive our sins and renew our hearts that we might live for You in obedience to Your holy commandments. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]