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Jun 18, 2017

Second Commandment: No Idols

Second Commandment: No Idols

Passage: Exodus 20:1-17

Speaker: Jon McHenry

Series: Love God/Love Neighbor: The Ten Commandments

Category: Faith, Love

Keywords: idols, ten commandments, second commandment

An idol is any person, object or activity that becomes a higher priority in your life than your relationship with God.


You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 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 parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 (NIV)

Golden calf? No, not me. I'm good. Clearly I've never fallen victim to the Second Commandment! No golden worshipping of birds or animals or fish of any kind. Then again, my NIV study notes indicate that Exodus was written between 1446 and 1406 BC. That was 3,500 years before the iPod, DVR television, and even NFL football!  A lot fewer distractions than in the modern world. Indeed, an idol is any person, object or activity that becomes a higher priority in your life than your relationship with God. 

We have many "golden calves" that can distract us along our spiritual journey. God wanted to be so clear on this point, that the Second Commandment is an extension of the First Commandment: You shall have no other gods before me. The Second Commandment seems to say, "And I mean any!" 

Matthew explains why: "You cannot serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Paul provides his view: "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person - such a person is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." (Ephesians 5:5, NIV). 

The Second Commandment is an invitation to a relationship with God, above and beyond any other relationships in our lives.  


Heavenly, gracious, holy Lord. We thank You for Your great love, and for the invitation to love You. We pray that we put You in the center of our lives and that Your Spirit will be a lamp for our feet, a light on our path. In Jesus' holy name we pray.   Amen.

Written by Rich Krygiel. Rich leads one of our men’s ministry groups at Arcola Church. He is a devoted husband and father.