By Kristie Stoddard
I hate garage sales. I really do. It’s a lot of work, heat, more work, more heat … for little money. However, we have five children, four of whom are old enough and want to do summer activities. So, we’re having a garage sale.
The one good thing about garage sales is after all the work, there’s a lot of down time, just sitting (in the heat), waiting for customers. With five children, homeschooling, and community gardening, there’s not a lot of time for doing nothing, so I’m taking advantage of these two hot days — to read. And what I’m reading is really heavy stuff.
Do you want to know what I’ve just come across? I’ll tell you: the second commandment. I know, preschool stuff, right? Weeelll, not really.
The second commandment tells us, “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. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
This verse forbids the making and worshipping of idols. That seems like common sense. Did you notice the first part of the commandment? We are not to make for ourselves any images to worship. Not make. Make. Do you ever make an image to worship, or just make something to worship? We create little gods for ourselves in our everyday lives. Little gods that take the place and the relationship we are meant to have with the God.
It is so easy to worship things other than Him: our jobs, our children, our hobbies, ourselves … God knows us and our weaknesses. Perhaps it was because this human frailty of ours leads us to worship whatever is before us, to make idols out of anything or everything we see, especially the things we do that we enjoy. Sound familiar?
But God wants us to know Him, worship Him, without the distraction of images, idols. God is abstract, universal, and perhaps the habit of rendering things and people in the concrete somehow inhibits intimacy with the abstract.
So why do we break this law? Remember, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to abolish it, so how does that let us off the hook with idols? Well, I’m no theologian, this is just my guess, but I think when God became man, as John says, “when the word became flesh and dwelt among us,” He changed His method of communication with us. God is not abstract, in the form of Jesus. He is knowable as a man, and His Holy Spirit resides in those who follow Him, allowing us to know Him as a deity.
No longer is He this esoteric God who is unknowable, but rather a man who lived among us and imparted His Spirit to dwell in us.
This is remarkable!
This God we serve, became man for us, so that we might know Him and that we might not be so easily distracted by graven images, idols that take so many forms. He loves us that much! And so I give Him my glory. This is what I will teach to my children as we get up and lay down, as we walk and as we talk. What a God we serve, let’s give Him all the glory!
So, maybe this changes my perspective on garage sales, a little. Maybe it’s a nice way of stopping and smelling the roses, or the Bible. It certainly gives time to ponder … so, garage sale, anyone?
KRISTIE STODDARD is from a missionary and military family. She has learned well the art of organizing and multi-tasking through her years of homeschooling four children, fostering several, directing two home-educators programs, and being the helpmeet of her church-planting-pastor husband, Adam.