SBS Sermon Notes

SBS     Sermon Notes     Note 06/05

The Law of Yahweh (Jehovah)

Reading: Exodus 20

1. Introduction

Hebrew - Elohim = an object of worship
English - God = the Creator and ruler of the universe. A superhuman being regarded and worshipped as having power over nature and human affairs. Elohim is not God's name. It is the Hebrew word for an object of worship. Our heavenly Father's name is Yahweh (Jehovah).

The first two of the ten commandments as recorded in Exodus 20 read as follows:

1: And God spake all these words, saying,
2: I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

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:
5: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6: And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Let us briefly consider these two divine commandments.

2. Objects of Worship

People worship many things over the centuries. Some still physically bow down to hand-made images and idols, just as our pagan ancestors did in days gone by. Others pay mental homage to manmade objects of worship (religious and erotic images, paintings, carved statues of the saints and a multitude of objects and ideologies). Others worship themselves: their appearance, their abilities and their position in society. False gods abound in every land and they fall into several categories. We will briefly consider two this morning, each at its basic and higher level. The Work of Men's Hands
Basic: The physical idols of wood, metal or stone which pagans worship.
Higher: Modern inventions such as technical gadgetry, innovation, screen images, robot-controlled machines, sophisticated modes of transport and military hardware. The Heavenly Host
Basic: The literal stars and planets in the heavens: and their supposed influence on human life.
Higher: The Spirit beings (angelic host), human philosophy in its endless attempt to cure man's ills. The worship of all these objects and concepts are strictly forbidden in scripture.

3. The Work of Men's Hands

No one will dispute the fact that mankind has made amazing advances in the past few decades. ... even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. This enormous advance in human understanding and knowledge, and the unprecedented increase in world travel was predicted long ago in the Bible (Daniel 12:4). Yes, in virtually every department of human endeavour new and exciting inventions appear every year. But be warned against worshipping human ingenuity. In the prophecy of Isaiah 44:9-20 we read of the dangers of worshipping "the work of our own hands." It also tells of the dangers of putting our trust in the products and philosophies of mankind. To be sure the passage - at its basic level - is referring to metal, stone or wooden idols; but its higher modern counterparts are included. These are the technological inventions and philosophical products of the human mind! In other words: In themselves all of these are as incapable of saving the human race from impending destruction as were the wooden, stone or metal images our ignorant ancestors worshipped centuries ago.

In short, worshipping human ingenuity is in the long run a futile waste of time!
Isaiah 2:6-8 ... Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.

4. The Heavenly Host

The ancients literally worshipped the sun, moon and stars. Many thought the sun was God Almighty, the moon his wife and all the stars were their children. Ancient Israel repeatedly ignored divine warnings concerning sun worship and went ahead and sinned grievously.
Deuteronomy 17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,
3: And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;
4: And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:
5: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

2 Kings 17:29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.
30: And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima,
31: And the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.
32: So they feared the LORD, and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.
33: They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
34: Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the LORD, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel;
35: With whom the LORD had made a covenant, and charged them saying, Ye shall not fear other gods, nor bow yourselves to them, nor serve them, nor sacrifice to them:
36: But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.
37: And the statutes, and the ordinances, and the law, and the commandment, which he wrote for you, ye shall observe to do for evermore; and ye shall not fear other gods.
38: And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods.

39: But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.
40: Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.
41: So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children's children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

Ezekiel 8:15 Then said he unto me, Hast thou seen this, O son of man? turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations than these.
16: And he brought me into the inner court of the LORD's house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.

Of course 20th century man no longer believes that the sun is a person: but multiplied millions still believe that the sun, moon and stars influence their lives. Daily they study their horoscopes in the popular press. You may be sure that the reading of a horoscope is forbidden by the command: "Thou shalt have no other Gods but me."

Reading a horoscope is the modern manifestation of an ancient superstition that the stars influence one's life. The practice is forbidden in the Scriptures.
Deut:4:19: And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

5. The Philosophies of Man

The worshipping of physical manmade objects was one of the earliest errors the human race made. But by far the greater error is the one modern man is making: he thinks he knows better than God: that he can, by the sheer process of innovation, experimentation and human brain power figure out a more effective way to live than that which Yahweh has detailed in His Word. The dictionary defines 'philosophy' in this way: Philosophy:
Philosophy is big business these days and thousands earn their living teaching it. As mankind's troubles grow, so does the apparent list of available solutions. New philosophical ideologies, isms and concepts are constantly spawned. People publish them, study them and practice them with zeal: only to discover decades later that they don't work; that they were an expensive, pointless and dangerous waste of time.

Where did these ideas concerning human behaviour originate? And are they really new? Strange as it may seem, there are very few - if any - original moral ideas for living appearing on the scene these days. What we are witnessing are old ideas dressed up in new clothes. The ancients taught philosophy thousands of years ago. The subject is not new. The fact is, what is currently called the 'new morality' is really the newly packaged 'old immorality.' It has been around since time began. Many of the so-called 'new' guidelines for life were spawned thousands of years ago in the minds of the ancients - men and angels! Go to any country, examine any civilisation and you will be able to trace philosophical ideas about life which go back thousands of years. The most popular and destructive all have this in common: they directly clash with the commandments of the Almighty God: and the more they contradict His law, the more catastrophic are their results. Down through the ages Satan has challenged every commandment Yahweh has given. Satan vainly imagines that he has a better way, an easier way, a more enjoyable way to live: one that will benefit the whole human race. Millions fall victim to his deception every day. Why is Satan so active? What is his goal? What is it that drives him to deceive mankind? The scriptures give us the stunning answers.

6. Satan Wants to be Worshipped

Satan was created a mighty arch-angel, a 'covering cherub' to stand in Yahweh's presence. He is a being of amazing beauty, wisdom and power. But, as he went about his duties, pride entered his heart and he coveted the very throne of his Creator. The following prophecy tells of Satan's ambitions and his end.
Ezekiel 28:11-19 "Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more."

7. The Pride of Fallen Angels

Alas! the sin of Satan (pride and the desire to be worshipped) spread through the angelic host like a cancer. Millions of angels joined Satan in his rebellion against the Almighty. The Bible tells us that one third of the heavenly host joined Satan in his bid to overthrow God.
Revelation 12:3-9 "And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven ... And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

This rebellious host of evil angels is still around. They are the brains behind most - if not all - the vain ideologies the human race has implemented in the centuries past. They are the false gods we are commanded not to worship. They are the demons and evil spirits behind every bogus religion that has plagued mankind since the creation. Writing of these evil beings the apostle Paul warns:
Ephesians 6:10-12 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

Sad to say, idolatry is an international sin. Like the ancient city of Athens the whole world is now given over to idolatry. All nations are currently worshipping human products and human ideologies. Yahweh's laws are seldom considered. Moral standards have plummeted. Sin is rampant and society is paying the price. Rebellion has spread from the angelic host to the human heart. Comparatively few want to obey Yahweh and His law. Listed below are a few more texts concerning idolatry. Beware how you live: because failure to take warning will prove catastrophic!
1 Samuel 15:23 "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
Acts 17:16 "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry."
1 Corinthians 10:14 "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry."
Colossians 3:5-9 "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:
In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds."

1 Corinthians 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,"
1 Corinthians 10:7 "Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play."
Revelation 9:20 "And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:"
Revelation 21:8 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
Revelation 22:15 "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."

Sin is rampant these days. The commandments of the Most High are broken with impunity. They are treated with disdain; even by leading Christian churchmen. Millions worship the gods of their own choosing and the work of their own hands: illicit sex, money, food and drink and a host of forbidden things too numerous to mention. The Almighty is not unaware of what man is doing. He takes full account of every thought, word and deed. His day of reckoning is fast approaching. Never forget that fact! What about You?
How do you fare when you measure yourself against the passages of scripture you've just read? Are you blatantly sinning, disdainfully supposing that you are safe from the reach of these ancient scriptures? Or is your conscience telling you that you need to repent: and that in several areas you need to ask forgiveness of the Almighty?

At best Stewarton Bible School can only inform you of your danger. We can bring to your notice what the Almighty has said in His Word. But only His Spirit can convict you of sin. Bear in mind that the Saviour is anxious to save you from all your sins - however small or great they may be. No one is beyond redemption; especially those who know deep within themselves that all is not right in their lives. Salvation is possible for all souls through Jesus Christ. And salvation is free! That is the beauty of the Gospel. It is good news that salvation is free! The Almighty is offering you free pardon from all sin. He also offers you life eternal in the Kingdom of Heaven. You cannot afford to ignore His offer. No one on the face of this earth can afford to reject that offer. For further details about salvation see our articles:

8. Summary

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Placed on Internet July 1996 ... Updated August 1999