“You shall not make for yourself an idol 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 fathers 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.”
The first commandment dealt with having no other gods before the Lord. The second commandment deals directly with idols. If you search for the word worship in the Bible, you’ll find that it is more often in connection with idol worship than worship of God.
We don’t often think of God as being jealous because it has a negative connotation. We are created in the image of God and our emotions are modeled after God’s. The difference is that we use our emotions in sinful ways. God gets angry just as we do. But there is a righteous anger -anger over things that anger God, and selfish anger – anger because we were offended or hurt.
God gets jealous when we give attention that belongs to Him to other things instead. It is not petty jealousy that is over someone having something better than you.
God’s promises of punishment and blessing are not meaningless. Our righteousness or wickedness is often passed on to the following generation. Righteous parents often have righteous children while wicked parents have wicked children. This isn’t a guarantee but it is often the way that things happen.
Those who show God respect and honor will be blessed and they are likely to raise children who honor the Lord. Those who reject God will usually have children who reject God as well and they will reap the consequences of their decision.