The metaphors of God’s mercy and love for us are endless.
Metaphors are figures of speech (word pictures) in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is NOT literally applicable – and the Bible has an abundance of them! It’s safe to say we all are familiar with the most famous metaphor of all: “The Lord is my SHEPHERD…”
The Bible teaches God is a spirit (John 4:24 “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth,”but the use of metaphors can turn difficult ideas into simpler concepts. Starting in Genesis, God has ‘eyes’ since He saw all that He had made and ‘it was very good’; He has a ‘mouth’ talking with Adam, Enoch, Noah,Abraham; His ‘hands’ formed Adam from the dust of the ground; His ‘outstretched arm’ brought Israel out of Egypt. We learn of the holiness of God and His ‘loving heart’, making provision for the sin of man. When our first parents, Adam and Eve rejected God, because of His holiness, a separation was required – God is unable to tolerate sin. Habakkuk 1:13 “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrong.” The use of so many different metaphors for God is a reminder we cannot wholly explain God within any one image.
The language found in Genesis 6:5-8 should stop us all in our tracks. In verse 5, we first see what the Lord SAW: “how great the wickedness of the human race had become and that EVERY inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” In verse 6 we read what the Lord FELT: “The LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled”. The strong, emphatic language is an attempt to show the extent of depravity and the all-encompassing description of mankind and how far we have fallen from God.
This is what the Lord saw then and what He still sees today – nothing has changed. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (Proverbs15:3) There is nothing ‘new under the sun’; there remains a universal collective cry from all of mankind: Romans 7:24 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Just as when time began, God still hears and has a response to OUR sin, showing His heart of love:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he isa new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. As ‘new creatures’ in Christ, our lives are no longer worldly; they are now spiritual. The metaphors of God’s mercy and love for us are endless. May we find strength in the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and forever.
We are the clay – He is the Potter.
We are the vine – He is the Branch.
We are the sheep – He is the Shepherd.
We are the bride – He is the Bridegroom.