by Tim Hall
There is only one way to obtain an accurate view of God.
How people yearn to have some visible object to venerate! Most religions feature statues and images to which worshipers offer food, drink and precious objects. Shrines dot the landscape of nations across the globe and pilgrims make long treks to bow before these “sacred” relics.
The true God, however, commanded his people not to engage in such behavior. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4, NKJV).
Though idols were often erected in Israel, God consistently viewed them as abominations.
Why would God forbid what seems to be such a natural human impulse? Consider some of the erroneous views people have had of their “deities” and you’ll see the wisdom of God’s orders.
Isaiah challenged the people of his time who ignored the prohibition on idols. He mocked the man who used the same tree for different purposes:
“And no one considers in his heart, nor is there knowledge nor understanding to say, ‘I have burned half of it in the fire, Yes, I have also baked bread on its coals; I have roasted meat and eaten it; and shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?'” (Isaiah 44:19).
Can God be fashioned by the artisans of our time? Whose representation of the Lord will resemble him most? Will any of their representations resemble the true God?
Another failed attempt to represent God is found in Daniel 2:11. Nebuchadnezzar’s magicians could not reveal the king’s dreams. “It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
These men were partly correct: Only God can reveal dreams, a truth to which Daniel quickly agreed (Daniel 2:27,28). In saying that God does not dwell with people, however, they were mistaken. Jesus would disprove that false view (Philippians 2:5-8).
The wise man will conclude that he can know nothing about God except what God reveals to him. God made that very point in Isaiah 55:8,9. Instead of creating an image of God that we desire, let us learn the lesson of Habakkuk 2:20: “But the Lord is in his holy temple. Let all the earth keep silent before him.”
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).