Reminders of God
Rev. Rebecca Mihm
Scripture Uses Metaphors and Imagery
Scripture uses many metaphors and lots of imagery for God and our relationship with God. For instance, throughout Scripture, “family” is used to describe our relationship with God. The Church is called the Bride of Christ. Believers are called children of God. Jesus is called God’s firstborn son.
When Jesus was in Capernaum, a town by the Sea of Galilee known for its manufacturing of millstones, he said, “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck, and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). Both millstones and the sea were something at which the people would have been looking when Jesus spoke those words. Jesus used what was around him to illustrate points he was seeking to make.
When Jesus taught the Parable of the Sower, he and the crowds were in the farming area around the Sea of Galilee. Likely, Jesus was pointing at a farmer sowing seeds into his field when he told the parable.
There is so much commonplace imagery in Scripture pointing to God, our relationship with God, and spiritual truths, that a person could go through their day with constant reminders of God’s Word.
My Daily Imagery
Let me take you on an illustrative journey of a common Sunday for me. Early in the morning I wake up and turn on the lights. Immediately, I can think, “And God said, ‘let there be light’” (Genesis 1:3). I can also think of Jesus saying, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12) and, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
When I wake up my cat greets me seeking love and attention. Proverbs 12:10 says, “The righteous care for the needs of their animals.” Since it’s still early and I haven’t yet had my coffee to make me alert, I can also think about how I would be fulfilling the greater commandment to love if I stayed at home and loved my cat, then to go to work. Eventually, I get hungry and decide I need to get ready for the day.
In preparation for my day, I go to various sources of water (shower, bathroom sink, kitchen sink) that remind me of the many stories in Scripture with water.There are the waters at Creation, the Flood, the Red Sea parting, the bitter water being turned into sweet water, the Rock providing water, the Jordan River waters stopping, Jesus walking on water, Jesus providing the living water that wells up to eternal life, washing the disciples feet with water, and baptisms, to name a few.
When I go to my closet to get my clothes, I don’t have to worry about what I wear because as Jesus said, the body is more than clothes (Matthew 6:25). Also, the Book of Romans tells us that we should “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (13:14). We are also to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12). Also, “We groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling” (2 Corinthians 5:2). Finally, one day “the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53). So, in the short time I choose what I’m going to wear for the day, I go from being reminded not to worry, to being reminded what kind of attributes I should wear, to longing for heaven, to being comforted by the hope we have of eternal life. Of course, there is always the reminder of putting on the full spiritual armor of God (Ephesians 6).
When I go into my kitchen to get breakfast, I grab my coffee mug that I made at a pottery shop. Of course, I’m immediately reminded of how God is the Potter, and we are the clay (Jeremiah 18). I pour my coffee and remind myself that abundant life comes from Jesus who provides me with coffee. Then as I get something to eat, I am reminded that Jesus is the Bread of Heaven (John 6:41).
I finally leave my apartment and go into the beautiful city of Lakeland, passing a bunch of manicured yards and palm trees, and I am overwhelmed at God’s Creation. God created the world and did a very good job. I am reminded that God is the Creator, what God created is very good, and that I am God’s creation. I get into my Honda and remember the silly joke of how cars existed in Scripture, because “they were all in one Accord.”
On my way to work I see billboards and advertisements, and I am reminded that I am to be a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). Cities were built on hills because that was the least farmable area and farming was important. With cities being on hills, their gates and walls declared to the world who passed by what kind of God the city had. The gates might have writings on them about how God is powerful and just and righteous. The judges at the gates would declare that there is justice for people of the city. The fortified walls would say that the God of the city is a fortress protecting his people.
Our lives should also declare who God is to the world. I drive past an innumerable light poles. Again, I think about how Jesus is the light of the world and how we are called to be the light of the world. I drive by Walmart and a couple of Amazon trucks and think about how God has more resources than Walmart and Amazon combined. In Psalm 24:1, the writer says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” I see palm trees. I don’t know the difference between types of palm trees, but I immediately think of coconuts. Coconuts are fruit. Polk County is a place where citrus fruit is grown. We are to produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
I drive around Lake Hollingsworth and think again about all the stories of water in Scripture, including the amazing water that will flow from the throne of God and from the Lamb (Revelation 22:1). I look around in hopes that I’ll see an alligator, but end up seeing some geckos and ducks instead. Then I think of all the clean and unclean animals listed in Scripture (Leviticus 11). I once had a friend who laughed for a day thinking about the verse, “Thou shall not eat geckos.” I also think about how a heavenly voice said to Peter, “Do not call anything unclean what God has made clean” (Acts 10:15).
Finally, I make it to the church. I get to the door and think of how Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:7). Then I think of how Jesus said, “Knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). Then I think of how Jesus stands at the door and knocks. We are to open the door so Jesus can come in and eat with us, and we with him (Revelation 3:20).
I get to my office and I check my cell phone and turn on my computer and think how prayer has better connectivity than Verizon and AT&T combined. I grab my robe and think of how one day I’ll be putting on a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and consider what I’m wearing and remember what I thought just 30 minutes prior to now.
Then, little by little, I start to see people walking around. When I see believers gathering, I see the Body of Christ. I see the hands, feet, and voice of Christ. I am reminded that the word “Christian” means “little Christ.” When the name was first given, it was to be derogatory in nature, but the Christians owned the name. We are to be more and more like Christ every day. We are to be the reflection of Christ in this world.
All of these images and metaphors are reminders to me of God in the first hour of my day. How incredible it is that I can ever get worried, complain, or be shaken, because everywhere I turn, I am reminded of God. When Jesus said, “I am with you always,” (Matthew 28:20), he did not leave us without reminders at every turn.
I challenge you to take an hour and see how many metaphors and images you can name. Perhaps you can do this on a drive to Orlando or St. Petersburg. Try doing this as a family; it might help during the frustrations of driving on I-4. When you’re stuck in a middle seat in coach while flying, look around! Reminders of God are everywhere!