I became very interested in the topic of what God saw most important to communicate with the children of Israel once they had escaped Egypt. What was the first thing that God would say to these people. God when he spoke to the Israelites gave them 10 commandments to follow once they left the captivity of Egypt. When God spoke he saw fit to emphasize as the first commandment the central theme of the entire Bible. God said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) God was to be the only God for the children of Israel. They were to be the vehicle through which God’s glory was to be demonstrated to all peoples throughout the globe.
This became a central theme throughout the Bible. The Old Testament (OT) documents the history of the Israelites following God and also falling away from God. Later in the New Testament this became a theme for the gentiles that were grafted into kingdom through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.KJB research software to study some of word patterns that occur in the KJB.) (http://www.dewtronics.com/KingJamesPureBibleSearch/ ) The first term “gods” was found (244x) in the KJB. The second search term related to the first commandment is “graven”. It is found a total of (55x) in the KJB. The third phrase “graven image*” is found (46x) in the KJB. It is first found in Exodus 20:4. A fourth term researched which does not occur in the first commandment but is associated with the other search terms is the term “idols” which is found (101x) and all versions of “idol*” is found (131x). The term “idols” first occurs in the Bible in Leviticus 19:4 “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.” The term “idol” occurs (15x) and the first occurence is listed in 1Kings 15:13 “And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.” Two other interesting key phrases related to the first commandment are “that hate me” (13x), and “hate me” (19x). In researching all these terms you come to find a very clear message being communicated. The message is found in Exodus 20:5 that those who put other gods before Jehovah in fact demonstrate their hatred toward God. Yes, “hatred”. Idolatry is hatred of God! This really opens up a kettle of worms in many areas. Your mind starts to grasp the wide ranging implications of idolatry. Yes, you can easily see that organizations such as the Catholic Church which claim to be Christian and based on scripture is saturated with idol worship and therefore “hate God”. This is especially obvious in the deliberate removal of the next or second commandment which prohibits making graven images and bowing down to them. So, not only does the Roman Catholic Church hate God through idol worship, they are also cursed by God for violating Revelation 22:18-19 which warns that all who add or take away from the Book shall have the curses that are in the book (paraphrase). The broader application of the first commandment is illustrated in the book of Daniel by Nebuchadnezzar building his golden statue or image of himself (Dan 3). Here is the modern day impact of this Old Testament story. Nebuchadnezzar put himself or his image before God in God’s place. He then forced others to worship his image or die. We in the modern world are just as guilty of building self-inflated images of ourselves before our eyes and demand the worship from others in our lives. This in fact proves that we hate God. Is it any wonder that you need to be humble or humbled such as Nebuchadnezzar became to hear God and his message. When we in our own strength raise our own image or tower of Babel to elevate ourselves to godhood we hate God. This leads to our last visit on tracking down the constructing of images showing that we hate God. We find that in the last days that in Revelation 13:15, there is a final image made for all the world to worship. Noteworthy is the search terms, “image of the beast” occurs only (3x) all in this same verse. Here we have an image of the first beast created and life given unto the image so that all who do not worship it to be killed. Then the number of the beast is revealed as 666. So we come full circle in the Bible. We started with the law being given to Moses and the listing of the 10 commandments. The first commandment having no other gods before God and the second then ordering no creation of images or idols to worship. Of course this was short lived with Aaron and the people building the golden calve in the valley while Moses was receiving the law. Then the Bible concludes with the earth being forced to worship the image of the beast in the book of Revelation. All who worship the beast and take the number of the beast will perish and never enter the kingdom of heaven. So idol worship clearly represents a true hatred of God and we as Christians need to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal all the areas of our lives that we have erected idols to ourselves. May God in his graciousness through Jesus Christ open our eyes to see and our ears to hear his voice and humble ourselves before the Lord! Amen.