The Encyclopedia Britannica describes Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BC) as “Rome’s greatest scholar.” He wrote more than 600 books on many subjects. Among his writings is this statement: “They who first introduced images of the gods removed fear and added error.”

This profound statement helps us understand why Moses reminded Israel at Sinai, “You saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire” (Dt. 4:15). It also underscores the reason behind God’s command prohibiting any physical representations of Him.

We cannot love and serve the Lord in an acceptable manner unless we have an accurate understanding of His character. Any physical portrayal, however, whether with pictures, icons, or statues, distorts our perception of His true character and lessens a healthy respect for His awesome holiness and power.

If Rome’s greatest secular scholar, guided only by the light of nature and reason, could see the dangers of misrepresenting deity, how much more should we who have special revelation carefully attend to every word God has spoken.

Let’s ask the Lord to instill in us a healthy respect of Him and help us grow in our knowledge of His character.