“And God spoke all these words: ...“You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:1–6)
What does this mean?
Answer: We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.
Are there other gods beside the God of the Bible?
Answer: No. The One True God has revealed in His word that He and He alone is the one true God who made the heavens and the earth. God says that all the other gods of the nations of the earth are worthless idols.
Where does God say these things?
Psalms 96:1–6 “Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary”
“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:10–11)
Isaiah 44:6 - “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.”
Isaiah 44:24 - “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,”
Jeremiah 10:10–15 - “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure his indignation.
Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.”
Jeremiah 51:14–18 - “The LORD of hosts has sworn by himself: Surely I will fill you with men, as many as locusts, and they shall raise the shout of victory over you.
“It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. When he utters his voice there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.”
Acts 17:29–31 - “Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.””
Will God count worship to other gods in other religions as worship to Him?
Answer: Absolutely not. God has revealed in his Holy Word that the worship of other gods and idols breaks the first commandment and that God will not share His glory with false gods and idols. Instead, God calls mankind to abandon the worship of idols and all other religions, which are false, repent of their idolatry and sins, be forgiven and trust in, worship and serve the One True God alone.
Where does God say these things?
Isaiah 42:8 -“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”
Isaiah 48:11 - “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.”
Psalms 97:7 - “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols”
Isaiah 42:17 - “They are turned back and utterly put to shame, who trust in carved idols, who say to metal images, “You are our gods.””
1 Corinthians 8:4–6 - “we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.” For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.”
Aside from the false gods of other religions, are there other things that people make into to gods or idols?
Answer: Yes. An idol is anything that your fear, love and trust in above the One True God.
Put more plainly, your god is that which you love, trust and fear most in my life. You expect your comfort, good and delight from your god. Here are some questions for self-reflection in order to help you identify and repent of your sins of idolatry.
• Do I look to God my heavenly Father, for all love, good and joy?
• Is everything measured for me by what pleases me?
• In all things am I self-centered and selfish?
• Do I see my worry and fretting as sin against trusting God?
• Do I complain about the troubles, people, work and suffering God lays on me?
• Do I love the things God gives me more than I love Him? And do I cling to what God takes away, even though He gives me Himself?
As you have reflected on your life and the idols that you have erected and trusted in, know that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins of idolatry. In coming to understand your idolatries as sin the Holy Spirt has begun working repentance and contrition in you. Hear now the comforting words of forgiveness of those sins from God's Word which states:
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8–9)
“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalms 32:1–5)
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4–6)