Moses is reminding the people of all the commandments of God. He touched on obedience and now he moves to imagery.
God tells His people not to make ANY image of Him what so ever. Let NOTHING be set up as a representation to Him that you bow down to. This doesn’t mean that we can’t have pictures designed to represent Him as reminders but that those items are nothing more than reminders of who He is. He is the Creator not the created.
Moses lists everything he can think of that the people might choose to fashion as a god. If he were living in our time I’m sure he would have included cars, money, and houses in that list. ANYTHING that we look to for our source of happiness, protection, or sense of being is an idol. It doesn’t have to be a statue or occupy a shrine.
This commandment from God transcends time. It is not simply for the Old Testament. It is as applicable to Adam as it is to the last person who will ever inhabit the earth. God created us with a “God shaped hole” that only He can fill. Anything else we try and put there won’t fit and will ultimately disappoint us.
Moses is sharing with the children of Israel that they had been singled out from all the other nations to show exactly how God fit that place of longing in man’s heart. They were not to try and fill His place with anything else. They were to stand as a beacon to others who were searching for fulfillment. Everything else man had endowed with god status was useless. No other would do. Only by remaining true to Him could they be a light for the world.
I used to wonder why God chose one man and then one nation for Himself first. Today I was reminded of a fire. When you make a fire you have to start small. You need twigs and bits of kindling. A spark ignites these insignificant pieces. You nourish that tiny flame with small bits of fuel. You protect it from strong gusts of wind that could put it out. You gently blow on it to encourage it to grow and truly consume the material provided. As it grows you can add slightly larger pieces of wood, always careful not to extinguish the small flame in the process. Finally your fire is strong and giving off warmth to those around. But the work isn’t finished.
The fire has to be tended. New wood has to be added from time to time. The embers have to be brought back to life if it is let burn too low. If this is a long burning fire, ashes have to be removed from time to time to keep it healthy. If you are not watchful you may even have to start from the beginning again but as long as there are embers there your fire still lives.
When the fire is high it draws attention to itself. It is a beacon of warmth to those who are cold. It provides light in the darkness. It is a place where people gather for relief. It also provides a point of sharing.
Those without fire can come and receive a portion, such as a lit torch, to take back to their own homes. Beyond the physical sharing of the flames there is a spiritual sharing as those who gather begin to share their lives and stories with one another.
Unlike our physical fire which we have to keep contained lest it become destructive, the spiritual component is meant to spread. The stories are supposed to go on. They are also supposed to teach others as they spread outward from their source. And one of the strongest stories that spreads is the power and strength of the fire experience itself.
I know I’m rambling but I see this fire as God’s drawing of the world to Himself. He is an all consuming fire but He gave us His love and direction in a small dose that He nurtured and grew. He had been calling to man since Adam but Abraham was His first laying of kindling. With that spark He would grow a nation that would draw the attention of those around them. He tended this fire over the long haul. He had to stir the ashes and embers back to life several times. He never let it go completely out. When the people realized they had no warmth they called out to Him and He fanned the flames again.
When Jesus came the fire was burning but it had been polluted with rotten wood. He carefully added good wood and sifted the fire. When He completed His work He charged His followers to take the purified fire and carry it to others in need. That one fire would ignite millions of millions of fires in the end.
God wasn’t being an elitist but establishing a healthy fire that could be used to ignite others and still survive. NO OTHER god was, is, or ever will be capable of doing such an all encompassing work. Only the Creator of the universe could reach out to the entire world. Not some carved block of wood or piece of stone. Not even the sun, moon or stars can perform that everlasting role. Look ONLY to Him for your source. All others will disappoint.
Holy Spirit, thank You for the fire analogy. I pray I communicated the concept You showed me clearly. I pray it is what You wanted to say today.
Father God, thank You for being my ONLY source. NOTHING on this earth compares to You! NOTHING holds Your importance. NOTHING else can sustain me, especially in the dark places. Thank You that You are my light.
Lord Jesus You TRULY are the light of the world. Thank You for Your light. Thank You for Your love that had You bring Your light to me personally. Thank You for Your forgiveness too when I look to other sources for a time. I pray I return immediately and wander fewer times with each passing day. NOTHING ELSE satisfies my soul like Your love and presence. Remind me of this again and Again and AGAIN. Help me pass Your spark onto those around me. I want to share Your light with those who are still looking.