"For mine Angel shall go before thee,..." (Exodus 23:23)
The history of true religion is the history of separation of God's people from idolatrous people. From the beginning we see how God separated His people from idols. The first commandment says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me"; and the second, "Thou shalt not worship any idols." These are the first two commandments. The wisdom of God decided to give first place to these commandments. But man holds on to those forbidden things. Man lives in the lowest level of animals when he worships idols. Idols are everything we place as more important than God. In the creation of God man is the highest being. Man can experience God and can mirror His likeness. There is no other creation in this Universe that can share this relationship with God like this. So God gave man commandments which will ultimately bring him to that higher conscience that can live with angels and God. They bring him to the consciousness of God; We lost it in Adam. We belong to the highest being, God. The story of the Prodigal is the history of man. Where was he? Where was man? He was amongst swine and seeking to make himself abhorable there. The only way to change man is by new birth and not any other way like baptism etc. When he realizes, 'Oh, I am a sinner. I want salvation, I need a Savior,' then the Holy Spirit brings Christ in front of him. What is idolatry? It is something that deadens the need for a Savior. If you yourself can make an idol and ascribe everything to it, then where is the need for salvation? Only when you know there is no other way and you desperately need help to lift you, then only a Savior is needed. No country with idolatry prospers. You see it in the Bible. Idolatry destroys character. The human conscience can never be roused by an idol. When a man worships an idol his understanding is darkened. He imagines he has worshipped God. His conscience is not stirred a bit. No sin consciousness enters him and the cry, 'I am a sinner and need a Savior' never rises out of his heart. Never can idols lead you to eternal life. So God in the beginning of the history of His people gave these two as the first and second of ten commandments. When Moses was in the mountain, the devil knew that commandment forbidding idolatry, and quietly worked in the hearts of Israel to revive idolatry and lead them into confusion and destruction.