By: Ely Lagajino

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Exodus 20:4 (NKJV)

I had a left ankle injury from playing tennis while my cousin Teofilo had an injury, too, for accidentally falling into a manhole. He arrived from Bicol to look for the famously recommended manghihilot or a local therapist.

When we reached the place, a long line of patients waited for their turn. Upon entering, we saw sculptured images and candle lights around the house. We observed that he murmured a prayer at the back of every patient’s head. Then he told them to return for follow up.  However, when he held my cousin’s foot, the manghihilot suddenly stood, blew all the candles, and he didn’t say a word.  When my turn came, the therapist shook his head, and after a few massages, he said, “Okay, finished, and you don’t need to come back.” The famous manghihilot must have lost his powers when facing worshipers of the true God. My sprained ankle remained the same.

People invent other gods because they couldn’t believe that one God could take care of everything. The second commandment (Exodus 20:4-6) prohibits worship substitution using images or any symbol. It would degrade our knowledge about God no matter how beautifully we adorn them with gold, candles, or flowers. God declares this kind of worship as sin.

God relates this to marriage. Idol worship denotes spiritual adultery.  The discontentment of God against it is called jealousy.  

Punishing children for the sin of the fathers up to the fourth generation is not a form of revenge by an angry God. Children are not punished for the parents’ guilt unless they participate in their sins—usually children are influenced by their parents’ beliefs and behaviour.

Today fame and pleasure become idols when we focus and dedicate too much time and attention on them for personal gain. The practice is a form of idol worship since it controls our thoughts and energies.  

There is no substitute for God and His loving-kindness on thousands of those who love Him and keep His commandments.    

Exodus 20: 4-6; PP p.322-323.                                                                                                                                     The Ten Commandments pp.32, 33

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