Exodus 34:10–28 is a representative restatement of the covenant, but it isn’t a random representative restatement. In light of their recent adultery with the golden calf, God lays down a do and a don’t. They are basically the two sides of the great commandment that sums up all others—love God with all.
Don’t: Worship Idols
Do: Worship Yahweh.
You’re not really obeying one of these commands if you’re not obeying the other. The only way to ensure that the land is empty of idols, is for it to be full of worship. Idols are like weeds. It won’t do to only spray weeds. If one has some fresh-tilled, vegetation-free soil, and they want it to keep it that way, the better attack is to cultivate a thick healthy lawn. Spray the weeds, yes, but plant, fertilize, and water the lawn. The only way to flee from idols it to pursue God, otherwise you’re only running from one idol to another.
Many Christian’s religion consists mostly of don’t with little genuine desire for do. But without the proper motivation for the don’t, you can’t do the do. You might obey the don’t because you want mom and dad to like you, or because obeying makes you look good, or because you think something bad will happen if you sin—but all these motivations are an idolization of self, not a worshipping of God.
Some think their diets are good simply because obesity is bad, but there are all kinds of unrighteous reasons to diet. It won’t do to simply not eat the world’s delicacies. There must be a hunger for God. If there is no hunger for God, you might go to the same table as the saints, but it is the cup of demons that you truly relish1 Corinthians 10:14–22).