Much of the Scriptures tells Truth through visual stories. Sometimes that imagery is disconcerting. It can also be mind-altering.
Many of us struggle with some of that imagery. Being the bride of Christ can seem odd. Or there is the thought of being the clay pot.
Most of us are very familiar with God as Father (in particular, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit). So, when it comes to this passage in Isaiah it could be jarring. If you read this passage in the NIV, it won’t seem so, but most of the other translations have God being pregnant.
Yes, God is pregnant. Of course, it is an image. Yet, it is an important one.
One of the great mysteries (and, as a guy, great honors) that women have is the ability to bear children (definitely not saying pregnancy is easy). With God as Creator, perhaps we should be surprised that God isn’t identified more often this way.
The imagery in the context of this passage is critical. The comparison is between God (life-bearer) and idols (no life in them).
God addresses the reality that the Israelites have “treasured” their idols, and that they put so much value upon them. They put their hope to escape the surrounding powers. Instead, they are hauling their idols with them to exile. As the idols were often covered or made of precious metals and gems, the likelihood is that idols would be destroyed as part of the exile.
The idols that the Israelites made and worshiped so that they could maintain the lives they had…did nothing. The God they had abandoned promised to remain with them and to rescue them.
While carrying their empty, lifeless idols into captivity…God reached out. God said—in effect—I am here to carry you…and give you life.
- What other symbols (i.e., pregnancy) can you associate with the life-giving aspect of God?
- What modern idols do people believe “give life”? How do they mimic life?
God, thank you for your life-giving nature. May we embrace all that it means. Amen.