The commandment was given, “you shall have no other gods before me.” Did that mean you could have other gods after Him?
There is a word that appears from time to time in scripture that is often translated as idols or household gods. Rachel was sitting on them when Laban caught up to them after the fledgling nation of Israel fled from his domination. She had stolen them and they were important enough to cause the death of whoever had stolen them. We see them again being used to disguise the bed after David ran away from the Saul’s murderous intent. The Hebrews were called on to put away their gods during times of revival.
All these godly people with idols in their homes? What were they thinking?
At least one explanation seems to be that these were carved images of the God, Yahweh, Jehovah. People want a symbol to go with their beliefs. They want something they can hold in their hands, press against their chests. We need something we can see to talk to, to trust in.
A.W. Tozer said that heresy becomes worse the closer it comes to the reality of God. And there is nothing that defines us more, that guides us more, than our beliefs about God. We are to be warned that holding on to an image, even of God, that is not God will only destroy us.
It shocks me that the man after God’s own heart, David, would allow an idol in his home. It appalls me that I have done the same thing. I allow images of God in my heart, in my mind, that are not God. They are images of a God that is softer, friendlier than the true God of heaven. This one ignores my rebellious heart, glosses over the black places inside of me. And at the same time, I carve out an image of a God who hates me, wants to hurt me, is pleased when I fall on my face and my life is in ruins.
I live to know You, my King. I exist to bring You glory and honor.
But it must be You. I can not build up some image of a god who is less than You. My finite mind can not contain the whole of who You are and so must refrain from the arrogance of claiming to know much of anything. Teach me, guide me knowing that without Your touch I would also create an image of myself to worship, an image of my heart, not Yours.