Passage: Exodus 20:4–20:6
Freed to be God’s people: a study of Exodus
Worship God as he reveals himself, not according to creation or imagination
1. The foundation for God’s commands for his people is that he delivered them from slavery, 20:1-2.
2. God’s people are to have no other gods before him, 20:3.
We may try to deny that the things we consider ultimate and most important in our lives are idols, or God substitutes. But we are hard-wired to desire God above all else. So if the true God doesn’t occupy that place, INEVITABLY A FALSE ONE WILL.
3. God’s people must represent him as he reveals himself not by creation or imagination, 20:4.
The first commandment is about worshiping the right God, the true God. The second commandment is about worshiping the right God rightly. It is about true worship of the true God. Why didn’t God think it was enough to just tell them not to make carved images, but had to list what not to make the images of (nothing in heaven, on earth, or in the water)?
Despite these clear commands, Israel perpetually worshiped other gods and made images of gods. In fact, they will soon make a golden calf and say this is the god who brought them out of Egypt! Why was Israel so addicted to making and worshiping images of false gods? And why are we so prone to “make images” of God or gods?
Discuss the ways we “make images” of God. Some of these include denying his sovereignty and self-sufficiency (Acts 17:22-26). Making him according to our imagination (Acts 17:28-29). Overemphasizing (or ignoring) one or more of his attributes. When we worship him according to human tradition. When we make him look more like our cultural values than he has revealed himself in his Word.
4. Worship God as he reveals himself for he punishes generations of those who hate him but shows love to thousands who love him and keep his commandments, 20:5-6.
Since Christ has fulfilled the Law, with its forms of worship, what is true worship of the true God now (John 4:23-24; 5:22-23; Colossians 1:15; Philippians 2:5-6)? What does God mean by saying he is a jealous God? How can this be fair, that God visits the iniquity, the sin, of the fathers on the children, even to the third and fourth generation? What does God mean? Does this contradict Deuteronomy 24:16? Why or why not? How can children move out from under their parent’s sins and move into God’s steadfast love? Which does God bestow more abundantly, judgment for hating him or steadfast love for loving him?
What does the way we worship God reveal about our hearts? How do we NOT make and worship images of God and instead worship him in truth by loving him? Why does our resisting and turning from image worship require regular gospel-centered habits?