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. (Exodus 20:4)
This tags along with the first one in that God forbade his people (During the Exodus and in present day) to make images and worship them. The idols they would make could not save them. It is interesting that this is the first commandment that Israel breaks just as Moses is coming down from Mount Siani where God gave him the Ten Commandments. The first thing he sees upon returning to his people is a Golden Calf which they are dancing around and worshiping. They got tired of waiting to hear from God, so they made their own god.
Unfortunately, that same thing happens with many people today as they put their faith in anything and everything. This will not save them, but God is willing and completely able.
If you read further into Exodus you will find an interesting account where Moses is on the mountain talking to God (over a period of 40 days straight…must have been nice). Moses asks God if He will let Moses see His face. God won’t let him do that because for Moses to see Him would mean that Moses would have to die. God does let him see His back though, and Moses comes down the mountain glowing…literally. It’s in Exodus 33 if you want to look it up.
God wouldn’t even let Moses see Himself face to face. Other than the fact that He would be too much for a mere human to take in, it is possible that if Moses were to have seen Him and then described him to the Israelites, they may have started to put limitations on what God can and can’t do based on their perceived physical description of him. They would put God in a box…and you can’t really do that.
God would reveal His character through His son, Jesus Christ, later on when it came time for His earthly ministry. However, we will not know what God looks like until we get to heaven and see him in all of His Glory.
You may have one more question. “What about crosses?” you may ask. “People carry them around their necks all the time even though God said not to make an image of Him (or anything else for that matter) and worship it.”
The cross is simply a symbol (There is a difference between symbols and images or idols) that we belong to Jesus and identify with his death (on a cross) and resurrection for our sins, so that we may be justified to God through faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is not the cross that is being worshiped here but rather the one who died on it.
So as not to confuse you, Jesus is the Son of God but he also had equality with God. Jesus was God in human form. So when you worship Jesus, you are also worshiping God as well. Jesus and God are part of the Trinity (Three parts) along with the Holy Spirit. (I’ll try to explain Him to you in another series down the road.) For now, we are focused on The Ten Commandments though…and I’m rabbit trailing.