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Genie in a bottle

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“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all thingsWhat does this mean?” Acts 17:24-25 (KJV)

The second commandment tells us we should not make idols. Because we love and worship God, we should not make our own pretend gods.

Do you know what a genie in a bottle is? If so, do you know how it works? If not, this is the gist of it: A magical genie supposedly lives in a bottle, and if you find this bottle, you can rub it and the genie will come out. When it does, you’ll be granted a wish, because the genie has the power to give you whatever you wish for. Kind of cool, right?

Part of the reason why God doesn’t want us to make images of him is that we might be tempted to use those images like a genie in a bottle. If we were to make a statue of God and carry it around with us to remind us that God is with us, we might be tempted to think that God somehow lives inside that statue and that we can control him.

But that’s not right: God is not supposed to grant all our wishes. He is not obligated to do anything he doesn’t want to do. We are obligated to follow him alone. God is not like a genie in a bottle, and we can’t assume that he is.


Acts 17:24–25 (KJV)

  • Who is it that provides all that you need?
  • What does this text tell you about God?
  • What does this text tell you about the kind of people we are?
  • Does God have needs?


Father, thank you that you promise to provide for our needs and that you have no weaknesses in you that can be filled by us. We gladly submit to your rule and reign. Forgive us when we fail. We know that you do because of Jesus. In his name we pray. Amen.

10 commandments study guide

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