Deuteronomy 4:15–16: “You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape” (NIV).
Observation: Moses reminded the Hebrews that although they had seen what God could do, He remained invisible. They had experienced His presence from a mountain blazing with fire and had heard His voice without seeing Him. He warned them not to become corrupt and then defined corruption as making a physical representation of Him.
Application: At some level, Moses understood what John would write generations later, quoting Jesus: “God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). The God of the New Testament is not somehow different from the God of the Old; He “is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). In Isaiah 31:3 God would denigrate Egypt’s projection of power through horses and chariots, things of a fleshy, physical realm.
Why is this distinction so important to God? Why has He from His earliest dealings with us emphasized invisible power and character attributes over those that can be seen? Part of the answer comes a few moments later in Moses’s discourse when he counsels how to return to God when future disobedience would find them scattered as a nation. He writes in Deuteronomy 4:29, “But if. . . you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
The realm of God’s most profound conquest has always been the human heart. In my fallenness I look first for easy, outward expressions of power, and if God doesn’t perform upon my cue, I am only too eager to produce the desired result myself. I tend to look for a God who will blow things up and break things, one who will hurt perceived enemies and conquer people who get in my way.
It has always been my heart God is after. The God of the universe is a romantic. He is the passionate one who wants just one thing from me: that I would be so smitten by Him nothing else would matter as much as He. So He thinks about the colors and fragrances I like, and He gives me gifts that appeal to my human senses. Like a lover wooing His beloved, He communicates in a language of intimacy, not in the language of physical conquest. He has sufficient power to take or do anything He wants, but He is wise enough to know that He has not won till He has captured my heart.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me today a fresh glimpse of You, one that would remind me of the wisdom of living by Your precepts. O God, You have awakened my heart to caring about only one thing. It’s You, Lord. It’s You.