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Metaphors ...

Thank you, Lord, for the metaphors you give us to understand your high thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8-11) articulated in your Word.


As Elohim, God knows just what will help us to comprehend the messages He gives us in His Word. That means over the course of our lives, God shapes our schema in varied and unique ways to help us understand/perceive/comprehend/understand the truth of Scripture. God is so awesome because He has done this over and over again for many, many nations, people groups, ethnicities, cultures, communities, and families since the beginning of time across the vast multitude of generations that existed to the present day and counting. And all this is from the same God-breathed Word, which has been and is being translated into many languages and delivered through many God-sent messengers. His Word is indeed alive and active (Hebrews 4:12).

Just think from the time we enter the world, God builds our schema, our ability to understand His Word. Actually, it begins before we are even thought about, as we come into this world as students, learning from others who have come before us. The miracle is that He has done this for those who have lived in the past, He does this for those who are currently living, and He will do it for those who are yet to be born.

God wastes nothing, as our schemas are shaped by all of the instruction, the events, and the episodes of our lives, good, bad, and ugly (Romans 8:28). God is too amazing! Too awesome! In this, He demonstrates how much He really loves us. No matter our background or circumstances or our intellectual capacity, God meets us in the power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) to convey His love in a way that we can understand. He uses an array of tools to help us understand His statutes, precepts, and commands that emanate His love for us – illustrations, examples, parables, and figures of speech like metaphors, similes, analogies, personifications, idioms, and so on.

Regarding metaphors, words like light, salt, bread, and vine should trigger thoughts of Jesus Christ (See the I AM statements of Jesus. [1]). Think about how God instructs us about His Kingdom (Matthew 13), being like a farmer/sower, a mustard seed, like yeast, like hidden treasure, and a (fishing) net. No matter the figure of speech we encounter in God’s Word, the Scripture continues to teach us over and over again, each time enriching our understanding of His precepts and His truth because of the uniqueness of how our schemas expand as we experience the nuances of life.

Just think of this verse: John 8:12 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”[2] Look at how your mind works when you read that Jesus is the light. You might think of light and the sources of light. You might think of how you use light and why you need light. You might remember a time when you needed light because the power was out or when you were trying to find something that was in a dark place. As you reflect on what has been stored up in your brain, you begin to translate that into what it means when Jesus says He is the light of the world. As the light, Jesus dispels darkness, where evil, sin, and calamity exist. When we follow Him, we can see where we are and where we are going as we live our lives day by day.

God is indeed omniscient, and His message to us in His Word exemplifies this the more we study it and live by it. Praise erupts in my heart and my mind as I realize just how remarkably amazing His Word is according to Psalm 119; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; and Hebrews 4:12, and how extraordinary it is that He enables us to comprehend it through the Holy Spirit using metaphors, well, really, no matter the figure of speech or how plainly He states it. Every time we turn on a light or need a light and are searching for a light, we think of Jesus and as believers, how thankful we are to be blessed with His light (and there is so much more in this word) for our lives.

[1] John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7-9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1-5.

[2] The New International Version (Jn 8:12). (2011). Zondervan.

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