Exodus 20:4–6 (NKJV) — 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
An idol is any substitute for God. It is not God. There is only 1 -one -true God.
Jealousy expresses God’s love for His people. God’s love is not self-centered. His love is focused upon us, His creation. He wants the very best for His children. God’s jealousy is His desire for us to have His best. Any substitution will never live up to what the one true God can give or do for us.
God desires and deserves exclusive love. He is God. He is the creator of all that is. When we choose to follow any false God we settle for far less than what God can give us. The fulfillment of following false gods leaves us empty and longing for more in life. Without the one true God at the center of our lives and our worship, we are pouring our lives into a sieve that can never be filled. How many ways do people try to fill the void in a life lived outside of God’s love?
The worst of this is the generation that comes after us. Our refusal to worship God is witnessed by those who follow us. If God is not important enough for us to put first in our lives how do our children and their children view God? The visiting the iniquity of the fathers to the third and fourth generations is not God initiating a curse upon the generations, it is the lack of instruction and witness of the present generation deserting God.
A nation falls not overnight. There is a slippery slope of moving more and more away from God. It is one generation leading another generation away from the one true God.
Exodus 34:14 “for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
1 John 5:21 “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”