Exodus 20:4-5a (Commandment Two) Meditation
Text (Ex 20:4-5a, NIV):
"You shall not make for yourself an image 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."
"Don't supplant Me with a person, material possession, or life-endeavor to which you devote your life above your devotion to Me; or by fashioning a phantom image in your mind of a material or even spiritual(1) ideal to which you aspire to rise some day; or by erecting in your mind's eye a hedonistically idolatrous craving to be like a creature or machine you are not (and were never meant to be). The monetarily rich, the beautiful, the famous, the esteemed—don't idolize them; or their ways; or their seeming power; or their smooth speech; or their temporal sway with the masses; or their outward, self-aggrandizing "societal correctness;" or their fabricated jovialities—for they are, in certain effect, none of the above machinations. They are the poster-children for the unregenerate, and there is nothing good to be found there. Don't copy their ways. Don't set them up as the paragons of perfect somethingness about which you dream of emulating some day. Why? Because you just might get what you think you want now only to discover far too late just how much it's not at all what you want or what you thought it would be. As I've said, "It is of no profit whatsoever to gain the whole world and yet lose both Me and you in the pursuit(2).'
"Do you not know you become like that on which you focus intently? Like that to which you devote your life? Like that which you desire or esteem greatly? I created you to respond to Me in such ways, but not to anyone or anything other than Me(3).
"I'm so very zealous for you, O beloved-of-My-Heart, for My romantically protective love knows no bounds(4); there are no lengths to which I will not go to win and keep your heart and hide you in My fold(5). Worshipping anything but Me will destroy you. Why? Because anything you worship that's not Me is not, and can never be, your source. Devoting yourself to that which cannot spark, sustain, or revive your life will steal what life you do have. Don't let it happen! Listen to me, O prone-to-wandering one—listen carefully! I, and I alone, am your Source; and I, and I alone, give you life(6); because I AM Life. Turn from that which is not Me, that which is non-life, and turn toward Me. Come, taste of Me and My goodness(7). Drink of Me, because I alone am good(8). Really good! Brilliantly so!"
Forgive me for erecting carnal images in my mind of how I wish to be that aren't of You (or of me, for that matter). In this moment, I turn my eyes toward You, and I cast down anything I've been focusing on that's not You. You are the One for me. Above all other loves, devotions, affections, and resolutions, You are and will be forever my First and Dearest Love(9).
In the Name of Jesus, I ask and declare these things…
Our "ideal," of course, is Christ. But, in our pursuits of Christlikeness, we need to be very careful. Yes, our sanctification is a partnership between God and us: we have a role to play; and, of course, so does God. God's role, however, is far greater than ours. He's the One who changes us as we focus on Him; let Him love us; and, like clay on a potter's wheel (see Is 29:16 and Je 18:6), surrender to His work. Dear friends, fix your entire being on God (see Is 26:3 and He 12:2), meditate on His Words (Ps 1:2 and 19:14), yield to His unfailing and everlasting love (see Je 31:3 and Jn 3:16), abide in the righteousness of Christ that's already in you (see 2Co 5:21), and surrender to His masterful work in your life (see 1Th 5:23). Put away any vain imaginations of some "super spiritual condition" you aspire to rise to someday. Such imaginations, I'm sad to write, are not of God; they are mistaken, idolatrous images you've engraved into the fabric of your soul. They're not for you; and they need to be eradicated, not esteemed or even "prayed into." Sorry.
See Mk 8:36.
See 2Co 3:18 and He 12:2.
See Ho 2 (the entire chapter).
See Ps 23 and 91 and Lk 15:1-7.
See ac 17:28.
See Ps 34:8, Is 55:1-3, and Mt 11:28-30.
See Mk 10:18.
See Re 2:1-7.
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