By Martin Knapp
"Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor the likeness of any form that is inheaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt notbow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting theiniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them thathate Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me and keep My commandments." --Ex. xx, 4-6.
The First Commandment forbids all internal, or heart-Idolatry. The Second, all outwardIdolatry. One is treason against God in the heart; the other against hoisting the traitor's flag andproclaiming it.
God looks upon Idolatry as one of the vilest sins that can be committed against Him.
It is so awful in His sight that He commanded people who were found guilty o f it to bestoned to death, and in Rev. xxi, 8, He declares of all idolators:
"Their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the seconddeath."
You are guilty of this wickedness if you do the following things:
Make gods of stone or wood or clay or anything else, and bow down and worship them.
Dedicate temples to other than the true God.
Build costly churches to please human pride and ambition, instead of for the glory of God.
Offer prayers and sacrifices to other than the God of Heaven.
Worship images of Mary or of the saints.
The following are some of the reasons why all should avoid this crime:
God has expressly forbidden it.
It is saying publicly that you reject Jesus and accept sham religion.
It is degrading to you who are guilty of it, as one can not rise higher than the object of hisworship.
It strengthens you in your error. It dethrones the true God from His place of worship in yoursoul, and puts a base substitute in His stead.
It never satisfies the cravings of your immortal soul. It brings disappointment and chagrin,the displeasure of the true God, exclusion from Heaven, and eternal torment.
This Stream is one of the largest tributaries of the River of Death. Whole nations aredrifting upon its apparently placid bosom.
Your condition is the more deplorable because by this act of treason against the true God,who loves you, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who died for you, that you shut yourself out of pardon,help, and Heaven, and throw the doors of your soul wide open to all the follies and superstitionsand vices with which Satan delights to deceive you.
God commands His people to herald and proclaim to these darkened ones the "glad tidingsof great joy," that they may "turn from these idols to serve the living and true God, and wait for HisSon from heaven."
Would you not like to be one of the honored number who will go and tell them? If you willfully yield all to Him, possibly He will call you to this glorious work, and help you, among theheathen nations, to win multitudes to Jesus, and be among the number of whom He has said:
"They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many torighteousness as the stars for ever and ever." -- Dan. xii, 3.
People who are converted from Idolatry often become the very best of Christians.
I have heard of two little boys in China who had given up all their Idols and were fullyfollowing Jesus. They were bitterly persecuted, both by their teacher and by their playmates, whowere heathen. Finally the teacher commanded these two boys to stand up before the school, and allthe other pupils marched around the room, and every one of them spit on their faces. The littleheroes did not flinch nor complain, but broke out in a triumphant song:
Must Jesus bear the cross alone,
And all the world go free?
No, there 's a cross for every one,
And there's a cross for me.
The consecrated cross I'll bear,
Till death shall set me free,
And then go home my crown to wear;
For there 's a crown for me."
Do you believe that you would have been as brave? Surely you may, if, like them, yourtrust is in the living God.
Having read these two chapters, can you look right up into the face of God, and say,"Heavenly Father, I have renounced every Idol that was in my heart, and every Idol that wasoutside of it?"
Woe unto all who are' drifting on either of these fearful Streams toward the Falls of EternalDespair.
Happy are they who, through Jesus, have been rescued from their waters, and are nowrejoicing in the consciousness that Jesus saves.
"Little children, keep yourselves from Idols."