By Justin Rossow

The Bible uses a wide range of images for who God is and what He has done for us. You don’t have to go far to run in to all kinds of variety!

Psalm 21 says God is “my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.” In Psalm 121, the LORD is “your shade at your right hand.”

The Old Testament prophet Micah says, “Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light” (Micah 7:8). And his contemporary, Isaiah, makes this promise from God: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).

Shade and light, rock and mother—biblical images for God are as diverse as they are plentiful!

Each of these images is like a snapshot of a beautiful landscape taken from very specific and very different perspectives: each one offers unique information about the whole, and each makes little sense on its own, apart from the whole.

In the same way, Biblical imagery for God gives us very different ways of looking at who God is for us: God is both “shade” and “light.”

And if these seem contradictory at the surface, placing each of them in the context of the big picture of who God is and what He has done for us helps us understand each of the different images of the Gospel. Each specific perspective also helps us better understand the vast, breathtaking beauty of God’s work for us in Jesus Christ. The whole helps us understand the parts; the parts help us understand the whole.

The whole helps us understand the parts; the parts help us understand the whole.

God is “shade” because He protects us in our need; God is “light” because He guides and guards us as we go. This protecting and guiding God is ours in the person and work of Jesus.

This week, take time to consider different images for God you find meaningful in your life. Does your life need more shade? Or more light? Will you pray to God this week as your fortress and rock? Or will you turn to God the way a child might seek comfort from a loving mother? Each of those experiences has power to bring Jesus into better focus as we seek to know and follow Him better.

8th-graders and parents at St. Luke—Ann Arbor: Please join Pastor Rossow for Sunday Morning Bible Study this Lent. We will be taking a look at more of these “snapshots of the Gospel” and how they shape our faith and life. It’s a special time for connecting as you walk toward confirmation this spring. 9:45 AM Sunday mornings starting March 9. Parents and students should come together. See you there!