The Devotion To Graven Images The Second Commandment

Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday evening, April 13, 2003, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia. 


By Michael D. O’Neal              Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church              Albany, Georgia

Scripture Reading: Exodus 20:4-6

Text: Exodus 20:4

Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Introduction: As we come to the second of the ten commandments, one thing that is noteworthy to me is that both of them are NEGATIVE. In a day when there is such an emphasis on being POSITIVE in preaching, POSITIVE in thinking, and POSITIVE in witnessing, it might do us well to remember that the only commandment given to the couple in the garden of Eden was NEGATIVE. God said to NOT do something, and they did it anyway!

This is the second of four commandments that deal with man’s relationship to God. The last six deal with man’s relationship to man. The first commandment was to put God first in your life. I called it THE DEMAND OF GOD’S WORSHIP.

The second is related to the first. The first commandment has to do with the PRIORITY of God’s worship. The second commandment has to do with the PATH of God’s worship.

I want us to consider four thoughts tonight about this second commandment:


The word “images” is found in 63 verses, and the word “image” in 82 verses.

A. People shape their false gods

  • Psalms 115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. 5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: 6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: 7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. 8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.

B. People serve them

  • Daniel 3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

C. People stand them up

  • Jeremiah 10:1-5 – forerunner of the Christmas tree
  • Totem poles

D. People even steal them

  • Genesis 31:19 – Rachel had stolen her father’s images

E. People stare at them – Catholics

F. People seek blessings from them


Exodus 33:20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

A. No man is allowed to see the face of God

  • He doesn’t deserve the privilege
  • God is too high
  • God is too holy

B. No man is able to survive seeing the face of God

  • Saul beheld the light of God’s glory on the road to Damascus and was blind for three days.
  • Glorified eyes will be able – 1 Corinthians 13:12; Job 19:26


John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Jesus is the manifestation of God. Yet,

A. There is no revelation of the Savior’s face in scripture

  • The exception to that is that we have some description of the Lord’s person in GLORY in Revelation. For some strange reason, almost no one ever tries to draw or paint from that description.

B. There was no remembrance of the Savior’s face in scripture

  • The Lord is to be remembered in the Lord’s supper, but there is no mention of the Lord’s face or figure, only His work of redemption!


Exodus 20:6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

God doesn’t want you to have an image to look at as an aid to worship. He wants you to:

A. Love Him

  • “them that LOVE me”

B. Live by what He SAYS

  • “and keep my COMMANDMENTS.”
  • Luke 4:4
  • Deuteronomy. 13:1-3 (read)
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