Thursday, May 5, 2011

Biblical Metaphors Describing our Relationship with God

John Eldredge in, "The Sacred Romance", writes that the Bible uses an ascending scale of metaphors to describe our relationship to God. It is a scale from low to high and shows us increasingly God's value of us.

1. We are the clay; He is the potter. Clay is an inanimate substance. However, in the potter's hand, it can be shaped and molded into whatever instrument the potter desires. God, our creator, also desires to be our shaper and molder. He longs for us to yield to Him to be molded and shaped into the person He knows we can be and desires for us to be.

2. We are the sheep; He is the shepherd. Sheep are a little smarter than clay; not much, but a little. I know this because I'm an agriculturist and have helped raise sheep before. But sheep need a shepherd, a guide if you will, to direct and lead them to safe paths and a good quality life. God desires even longs to lead us as the Good Shepherd.

3. We are the servants; He is the master. Servants are a bit higher than sheep. However, they are still regarded as a possession of the master of the household. God is a great master that is benevolently kind to his servants and is always looking out for their best interests.

4. We are His children; He is our heavenly Father. Children are even better than the previous three metaphors. They belong to the family. They are not objects or livestock to be owned, traded or sold. They are not hired hands or indentured service. They are children with full rights and full love in the Father's household.

5. We are His friend; He is the befriender. Not only has he adopted us into His family and called us His child, He has brazenly and dangerously now given us the privilege of being called His friend. Creator, Sustainer, All-Powerful and All-Knowing. He, the very One who made us and called us according to His purposes, gives us the honorific "friend" and invites us to stroll with Him in the cool of the day, talk, fellowship and enjoy His company as He enjoys ours.

6. We are the beloved; He is the lover. This is the highest level of intimacy and partnership which God beckons to us to enjoy. We are invited to be lovers! As Eldredge says, "The courtship that began with a honeymoon in the garden culminates in the wedding feast of the lamb."

The Apostle John writes in 1 John 4, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us..."

I don't know about you, but I would settle for being clay. However, amazingly, God sees so much more in me...


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