“You shall not make for yourself a carved image or 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
Exactly one week ago today, Brooklyn-based apparel company MSCHF launched its limited-edition Nike Air Max 97 for $3,000 a pair. But the high price tag isn’t the most shocking feature of this story. Each pair comes with 60 ccs of water from the Jordan River injected into the sole.
Not only has the water been blessed by a priest, but the shoes are also lined with a red insole that mimics the red shoes worn by priests at the Vatican. The shoes come equipped with a crucifix on the laces and “Matthew 14:25,” which references Jesus walking on water, printed on the side.
Today’s Bible Quote comes from Moses’ listing of the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:4-6 explains that God does not want His people to create an image that will replace Him in their lives and in their worship of Him.
However, how far does this commandment extend? Can it be applied to prohibiting the use of Jesus’ name for profit? Or perhaps leveraging God’s name or anything associated with it in order to exploit others?
The term iconoclast is used to describe someone who believes that any religious image or icon is idolatrous and should be destroyed. The see items such as stained-glass windows, wooden crosses, depictions of Jesus, and other types of statues as a violation of the second commandment.
However, many Christians believe that it is the worship of such things rather than the mere existence of them that should be avoided. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness” is in reference to a physical idol.
There does appear to be a double application in that Christians today aren’t meant to view other people or priorities as holy images en lieu of worshipping the true God. God was using language that was immediately applicable to the current situation—creating images to bow down to.
But what does this verse mean for us today, and how does it apply to the latest Jesus Shoe craze? It’s not too presumptuous to think that some who purchased the Nike Air Max 97 did it for religious reasons. Several of the articles written about these shoes used the phrase “walk on water like Jesus.”
Anything that a Christian puts their faith in other than Jesus Christ is a violation of the second commandment even if the very thing they cling to is associated with Christ. This is how idolatry begins, and God absolutely knows this and warns us against it.
Whether you adhere to the literal interpretation of Exodus 20:4 like the iconoclasts do or if you don’t see the harm in marketing off of the name of Jesus, it’s important that you not make a decision lightly when it comes to interweaving the current culture with biblical truth.
Truly think about what you are saying to yourself, God, and others anytime you encounter decisions that wed culture and the Bible. Do not ignore your convictions and don’t judge others for theirs, unless it’s blatantly disobedient to the Scriptures.