You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath…
I. HOW MUST OUR LOVE TO GOD BE QUALIFIED?
1. Love to God must be pure and genuine; He must be loved chiefly for Himself. We must love God, not only for His benefits, but for those intrinsic excellencies wherewith He is crowned; we must love God not only for the good which flows from Him, but the good which is in Him.
2. Love to God must be with all the heart, "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." We must not love God a little, — give God a drop or two of our love, — but the main stream of our love must run after Him; the mind must think of God, the will choose Him, the affections pant after Him.
3. Love to God must be flaming; to love coldly is all one as not to love.
II. HOW MAY WE KNOW WHETHER WE LOVE GOD?
1. He that loves God desires His sweet presence; lovers cannot be long asunder, they have their fainting fits, they want a sight of the object of their love. A soul deeply in love with God desires the enjoyment of Him in His ordinances, in word, prayer, sacraments.
2. He who loves God doth not love sin; "ye that love the Lord hate evil." The love of God and the love of sin can no more mix together than iron and clay; every sin loved strikes at the being of God, but he who loves God hath an antipathy against sin.
3. He who loves God is not much in love with anything else; his love is very cool to worldly things; his love to God moves as the sun in the firmament, swiftly; his love to the world moves as the sun on the dial, very slow.
4. He who loves God cannot live without Him.
5. He who loves God will be at any pains to get Him. Doth he love his friend that will not make a journey to see him?
6. He that loves God prefers Him before estate and life. Before estate: "For whom I have suffered the loss of all things." Who that loves a rich jewel would not part with a flower for it? Before life: "They loved not their lives to the death." Love to God carries the soul above the love of life and the fear of death.
7. He who loves God loves His favourites, namely, the saints (1 John 5:1).
8. If we love God, as we cannot but be fearful of dishonouring Him (the more a child loves his father, the more he is afraid to displease him), so we weep and mourn when we have offended Him.
III. WHAT ARE THE INCENTIVES TO PROVOKE AND INFLAME OUR LOVE TO GOD?
1. God's benefits bestowed on us. Great is the love that is excited by love. Kindness works on a brute; the ox knows his owner.
2. Love to God would make duties of religion facile and pleasant.
3. It is advantageous (1 Corinthians 2:9).
4. By our loving God we may know that He loves us (1 John 4:19). If the ice melts, it is because the sun has shined upon it; if the frozen heart melts in love, it is because the Sun of Righteousness hath shined upon it.
IV. WHAT MEANS MAY BE USED TO EXCITE OUR LOVE TO GOD?
1. Labour to know God aright.
2. Make the Scriptures familiar to you.
3. Meditate much of God, and this will be a means to love Him; "while I was musing, the fire burned." Meditation is the bellows of the affections. Who can meditate on God's love? who can tread on these hot coals, and his heart not burn in love to God?
( T. Watson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: