“‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Deuteronomy 5:8–10 ESV).
God’s revelation to His people was audible, and therefore they should not create a physical image of the Almighty. He is not physical and nothing that we could craft would accurately represent His glory and majesty. He is eternal, infinite and almighty – nothing created can capture this. Carved images were common to represent other gods (especially in Egypt and Canaan). God is not limited or created, He is eternal and outside of the created order and is not only in one place at one time. God had dramatically demonstrated that He is so far above competing deities by the plagues in and deliverance from Egypt that the people would likely have recalled this. See Deuteronomy 4:12, 15–19, 23. Additionally, God is a jealous God, visiting iniquity to the 3rd and 4th generation. This is not God punishing, rather this is feeling the effects of our ancestors sins. But, God is so benevolent because He shows steadfast love to those who are His in heart and showers them with love, mercy and grace for thousands of generations!
How often do we look to created things instead of the Creator of all things? How often does the weight of our worship (think worth-ship) fall upon these created things. This seems to be one of the central battles of the human heart. To what are you looking to provide you with value, significance, worth, safety, security, meaning or love? What do you dream about happening that you think will make life work or that you can’t live without? That is the idol that you worship.