Worshipping a mountain or a tree or a rock as your god is dealt with in the first commandment. In fact, one would think that the first commandment pretty much covers everything... (What part of "no other gods" is hard to understand?!?)
The second commandment deals with making images, it has to do with making your own gods. It's about creating a god that suits you. This is powerfully covered by Isaiah who talks about wealthy people using gold to make their idols and poor people using wood. They cast and carve them carefully so that they "do not topple" lest the kids bump "god" over when they're running around the house! (See Isaiah 40, pasted below)
The second commandment has to do with picking and choosing what you want your god to be like. It is about limiting God. When we make an idol we are trying the "concretise" God. Andrew Greeley suggests that idolatry is about "making an absolute of the relative." Making an idol means we are trying to get a "handle" on God.
While we don't have many physical idols today, there are many Christians today who are guilty of adapting their "picture" of God to suit themselves.
- Many have a "name it and claim it theology" turning God into a heavenly vending machine.
- Many have a "critical judge with a big stick" theology
- Many would like to put God in a box, confidently saying "God will never..." or "God will always..." when actually they are going beyond what is revealed in Scripture.
- This is particularly true in the area of "spiritual warfare" where many people have got caught up in "spiritual cowboys and crooks" and they have developed a complex set of "rules" and "prayers" (more like spells) that go beyond what Scripture actually teaches.
The second commandment is about God's sovereign freedom. He is bigger and greater and more complex than we can grasp and we should not limit Him. When people made idols they had the "measure" of their god - there was no room for mystery. When we deal with the one true God, there will always be mystery for we can never have the full measure of Him.
Isaiah 40:18 To whom, then, will you compare God?
What image will you compare him to?
19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A man too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot.
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not topple.
21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.