This Sunday’s message will deal with the 2nd commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Make a Graven Image.” (Exodus 20:4-6) Obviously, it’s a “no-brainer” to most Christians that we should not make any statues that we bow down to and worship. This brand of idolatry was fairly common in Biblical times….and is still common in many parts of the world today. But the commandment is not simply against making images of “false gods”….it also includes making images of the REAL God, since part of the commandment forbids us to make “any likeness of what is in heaven above.” (Exodus 20:4)
GOD is all powerful, all knowing, supremely sovereign….and UNSEEN. He is invisible to our physical eyes, because He has chosen to be that way. Indeed, God has ordained that it is only with “spiritual eyes of faith” that we are allowed to “see” Him in anyway.
I think many people in our society struggle with this because we put such a premium on appearance. Living in the technology age as we do, we expect someone to look a certain way, if we are to give them our praise or support. Politicians spend a fortune hiring consultants who will help them project the right image. They concern themselves with the right suit, the right hair style, the right voice inflection….all so they can appear to be fearless leaders, when in fact they may not be. Richard Nixon lost the 1960 Presidential election to John Kennedy in large part because Kennedy looked so much more polished in their television debate, which was the first such debate ever televised nationwide. Ironically, a man like Abraham Lincoln, who many consider our greatest President, would have no chance of being elected in our day and age. He was tall, gangly, bearded, and ugly. We wouldn’t like his “appearance.” And the fact is, we might not like God’s appearance either. Let me explain.
God cannot be seen by man….unless God chooses to manifest Himself to man, which is exactly what He did. In fact, God BECAME a man and “dwelt among us” in the person of Jesus Christ. And we were so impressed with His appearance that we killed Him. But Jesus did not come to dazzle us with His Physical appearance….He came to dazzle us with the GLORY OF GOD. By His own choice, He came humbly and unimpressive in appearance.
So what did Jesus look like? Well, He certainly wasn’t a blond haired, blue eyed Anglo-Saxon in a 3-piece suit. He was born as a Middle Eastern Jew, who worked as a carpenter. The closest thing we have to a physical description comes from Isaiah. “He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:2-3 NASB) Incidentally, the only other physical characteristic we know of Him is that he had a beard (Isaiah 50:6), which will be a disappointment to the obsessive “clean cut” crowd among us. Make no mistake; if you are impressed by physical appearance, then you would have been disappointed in Jesus. BUT, if you’re impressed by DIVINE POWER…..then you would have worshipped Him for the God that He was and is.
We don’t really know what GOD looks like…..yet. But one day we will. The day is approaching in which He will be “coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him.” Revelation 1:7 (NASB) On that day we will ALL see Him….but we won’t all be happy to see Him. Some will see Him as their Savior, and they will rejoice to behold the Lord in all of His Majestic Glory. He will take us unto Himself and welcome us into His Perfect Pardise. Others will see Him as the Divine Judge, who has come to shell out the final, eternal reckoning. They rejected Him on Earth….and they shall suffer forever in Eternity.
So, what does God look like? You had better seek the answer with “spiritual eyes” rather than “physical eyes.” God is Holy, Perfect, Righteous and Just. But we are woefully sinful creatures. Yet, God in His Infinite Holiness, is also Gracious and Merciful; inviting us to His table and promising our adoption if we will but repent and place our faith in Christ Jesus as Lord. You cannot SEE Him…but you CAN have Him as your eternal King and Savior. We will see Him soon enough, for the day is coming when His people will worship Him, bowing before His throne, at His very feet. Then we shall see Him…..and our imaginations will be forever satisfied in Him Alone.