I love feminine metaphors in the Bible. For example, God compares Himself to the mother of a nursing baby (Isaiah 49:15). Can a mother forget her nursing child? Yes, as hard as it is to comprehend, some may forget, but God will not forget you and me. I am comforted and delighted to know that God is not a God of men only. It’s not that a man doesn’t know intellectually that it is difficult for a mother to ignore her baby who is crying to be fed; but he doesn’t know the emotion. He doesn’t feel the truth of God’s metaphor as I do. We don’t need to change pronouns to make God “relevant” for women. God communicates to a woman as well as a man.
Today I found a new metaphor from Isaiah. The King of Assyria is threatening God’s people, and good King Hezekiah is badly outnumbered.
And they said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah: ‘This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’” Isaiah 37:3-4
Hezekiah recognized he was unable in his own strength to meet his powerful enemy. He compares his inability to a woman who has labored and is depleted of strength, before her baby has been born. Happily, Hezekiah didn’t stop at bemoaning his insufficiency. He says “It may be that the Lord your God will hear…. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” Hezekiah calls on the Lord, and God miraculously intervenes.
I’ve felt tired, too. I’ve felt overwhelmed with accomplishing the tasks that God has set before me, and I’ve recognized I was insufficient to meet something in my own strength. The image of a woman in labor, with no more strength, is powerful. I cannot live life without God. May I live this week with a more vivid realization of my need for Him.
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