The Bible is filled with analogies of our relationship with God. See the most frequently used in this free printable.
OUR COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Since the beginning of time, man has been trying to figure out who God is and how he relates to us.
Is he angry on his throne? Or is he an old sweet grandpa?
Fortunately, we don’t have to go far to figure a little bit about who God is and the relationship he desires for us. The Bible is filled with metaphors, analogies and parables of God helping us grasp who he is and how much he loves us. While he truly can’t be defined, he is to be honored and revered over any earthly relationships.
In addition to being our Father, he is our all-powerful creator. Even our own mothers can’t possibly know the number of hairs on our head or our innermost thoughts at all times. He is uniquely God!
In his wisdom, he provides examples all throughout the Bible that not only translate to the people of his time, but to us as well! Here are a few Biblical analogies God uses to explain our relationship with him.
1. HUSBAND & WIFE
When I was younger, the concept of God as our husband quite frankly weirded me out. I never noticed that connection in the Bible (however I hadn’t really dug that deep to look for it), and my immaturity at the time only seemed to connect it to sex.
As a much wiser, married woman (17 years now!), I love this analogy because I understand the complexities and layers that go into making a marriage work and how no other relationship can compare to the joy you find together. The church is his bride–his love! Here’s what the Bible has to say about God’s relationship with us as husband and wife:
“In that day,” declares the Lord,HOSEA 2:16-20
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked.
In that day I will make a covenant for them
with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the creatures that move along the ground.
Bow and sword and battle
I will abolish from the land,
so that all may lie down in safety.
I will betroth you to me forever;
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice,
in love and compassion.
I will betroth you in faithfulness,
and you will acknowledge the Lord.”
“This is what the Lord says, ‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.’”JEREMIAH 2:2
2. FATHER & CHILD
I’ve heard this one since I was young, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until I became a mother myself. There’s an indescribable bond between a parent and their child. There are even verses in the Bible where God references himself to being both mother and father to us. While being a father is a different experience than being a mother (where you are literally attached to your child at conception), he understands both levels of intimacy.
“Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”DEUTERONOMY 1:29-31
“Is this the way you repay the Lord, you foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?…You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”DEUTERONOMY 32:6,18
3. SHEPHERD & SHEEP
This reference is often found in songs and memorized children’s verses like Psalm 23. But when I was researching this post, I noticed Isaiah 40:11 for the first time as a mother. Look how sweet he is to all, giving special attention and “gently leads those that have young”. As a mother, this makes my heart so happy to see how he notices us, and cares for our little ones alongside us. He not only is leading us, but is our helper as we try to navigate the world of parenting.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”ISAIAH 40:11
“Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”PSALM 100:3
4. GARDENER & PRODUCE
This time of year I am frequently watering my garden. I understand the attention and care required when your plants are outside in a 105 degree Texas summer! The Lord cares for us, pruning and watering to help us grow and “bear fruit” to nourish others too! I love this analogy of God as our gardener:
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”ISAIAH 58:11
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”JOHN 15:1-5
5. TEACHER & STUDENT
As a former teacher, I relate to these verses—just as I carefully chose my lesson plans and personalized the way to help each of my students learn, God knew that we would need a constant tutor. That’s why in addition to giving us his Word and the example of his Son, he also sent the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I forget about this amazing gift he has given us and am comforted by the reminder:
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”JOHN 14:26
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”JOHN 13:12-15
How good is our God that he calls us his friend?! Prayer is our gateway to grow in this relationship. Make sure you aren’t forgetting that prayer is not a practice, it is a privilege! Honor and nurture this friendship he has gifted you.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”JOHN 15:12-15
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness, and he was called God’s friend.”JAMES 2:23
7. CLAY & POTTER
As an artist, I can appreciate this example. If you have ever used a tool, paintbrush, instrument or thrown a pot on a wheel, you know that the tool is of no use without the artist. However, the artist can’t accomplish the artwork without the medium, so it takes both side of the relationship to create something beautiful.
Different from clay, God does not actually need us to create something beautiful, but he invites us to join him in this process. He asks us to trust him as he molds us into something even better than we can ever do on our own.
“I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, ‘Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?’ declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”JEREMIAH 18:3-6
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”ISAIAH 64:8
8. MASTER & SERVANT
Keeping the previous seven analogies in mind, this is an important one to remember. If you have chosen to follow Jesus, he calls us to “die” to our old selves. We are commissioned to follow him (aka serve him), and do his will instead of our own. I feel convicted to change and grow into a better version of myself (not always because I want to), because I love the one I serve and want to grow to please him.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”LUKE 16:13
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”COLOSSIANS 3:23-24
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