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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The Personal Attributes of God

Don Stewart :: Why Is God Compared to Non-Living Things?

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Why Is God Compared to Non-Living Things?

The Personal Attributes of God – Question 20

The God of Scripture is compared to many things. Indeed, in the Bible we find Him compared to certain characteristics which human beings have as well as being compared to animals. These descriptions of God with hands, feet, ears, feathers, and wings are certainly not to be understood literally. Rather, they are given to us as analogies of things we can identify with so that we can have a better understanding of His character.

We also find that in a number of instances He is compared to non-living things. These descriptions also provide further insight into His character. We can cite the following examples.

1. The Sun and a Shield

The psalmist compares the Lord to the sun in the sky, and a shield. They give the idea of blessing and protection. We read,

For the LORD God is a sun and shield. The LORD gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. (Psalm 84:11 HCSB)

The Lord protects and blesses His own. Indeed, there is the promise that He will withhold nothing that is good for those who live with integrity. This is a promise we can claim if we fulfill the requirements; we must live a life which is characterized with uprightness and honesty.

2. The Morning Star

Jesus is also compared to the Morning Star. We read about this in the Book of Revelation where He Himself makes this comparison.

“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16 NRSV)

As the bright morning star He shines the light that directs our paths as to how we should live. It should be our desire that He light the way for us. Otherwise, we will walk in darkness. Jesus Himself said,

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.” (John 8:12 NIV)

If we follow Him, we will live in the light rather than in darkness. Jesus is the light of the world!

3. Light

We have another comparison to light. In fact, John the Apostle compared God to light itself. He wrote,

This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. (1 John 1:5 NLT)

There is no darkness in God’s character. Consequently, when we follow Him we will not walk in the darkness but rather in the light. This echoes what Jesus had said about Himself.

In the Gospel of John, the same writer made the comparison of light and darkness. He wrote the following.

“This, then, is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.” (John 3:19-21 HCSB)

Notice that those who live by the truth come to the light which those who practice wicked want to remain in the darkness. We can live in the light or in the darkness; it is our choice.

4. A Strong Tower

The Lord is also compared to a strong tower. He is a place where we can run to for safety. In Proverbs, it says,

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. (Proverbs 18:10 TNIV)

As a tower is strong and mighty, so is the Lord. There is safety when we put ourselves in a position of trust in Him.

5. A Fountain

He is also compared to a fountain that is one of life. The psalmist wrote,

For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. (Psalm 36:9 TNIV)

God is the fountain, or source of life. Furthermore, it is from the light of God which we see light. This means that we should view all things through His perspective.

6. A Fiery Cloud

After the Exodus from Egypt, God revealed Himself to the children of Israel through a fiery cloud. Although God led Israel by means of this cloud, He was never seen by the nation. Moses made this clear to the people. He said,

“Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire...” (Deuteronomy 4:15 NKJV)

This is another indication that God has no physical form. The cloud was given as an analogy of who God is as well as what He does for His people.

In sum, these comparisons help us better understand the character and actions of the God of Scripture. Indeed, we can take much comfort in what they teach us.

Summary – Question 20
Why Is God Compared to Non-Living Things?

In Scripture, we find that God is compared to a number of things both living and non-living. Many human characteristics are attributed to Him. He is also compared to the traits of certain animals.

In addition, we find the Lord compared to a number of non-living things. For example, the Lord is compared to the sun in the sky. As the sun provides the things necessary for us to experience physical life the Lord provides those things which are necessary for spiritual life.

He is also our Protector. Thus, we find Him compared to a shield which protects. Scripture emphasizes this aspect of God’s character. He looks after those who are His.

Jesus compared Himself to the morning star. He is the “bright light” for each of us. During His earthly ministry Jesus said that if we follow Him, we will not walk in darkness.

This fits what the Bible records elsewhere. God Himself said that He is light. Again, there is the emphasis that He will light our way.

The Lord is also compared to strong tower. This is another illustration of the protection He provides to His people. He is our strength for we have none on our own.

In the psalms we find that the Lord is portrayed as a “fountain of life.” All life flows from Him. This passage also says that we see light in His light. This being the case, we should always attempt to get God’s perspective on all matters. This will guarantee that we will be in “the light.”

The Lord lit the way for the people of Israel who were leaving Egypt. He was a “fiery cloud” that led them on the proper path.

Each of these illustrates something of the character of God as well as teaching us many valuable lessons. The Lord is our strength, our protection, who wants to lead us into the light. Therefore, we should allow Him to lead us in the “paths of righteousness.”

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