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Leading Question: In the Bible, God is depicted in a variety of ways, with imagery from kingship, priesthood, motherhood, and many more arenas. What messages about God and God’s relationship with humanity are communicated by the metaphor “God is king”?

Scripture Focus: Psalm 93, Psalm 8

The Big Idea: The Bible is replete with metaphors for God and how God engages with humans and the earth. Recognizing that each metaphor is both significant and partial allows us to mine the depths of that metaphor without emphasizing its messages so much that it eclipses other depictions of God in the Bible.

For Discussion:

Order and predictability are important elements of human life and experience. Indeed, humans are actually quite uncomfortable with uncertainty (some studies even show people prefer a certain (known) negative consequence over uncertainty). And some people go so far as to describe certainty as our number one basic need as humans. Our brains automatically look for patterns and adjust our behavior accordingly. And the fact that we don’t have to consciously initiate every action throughout our day frees up our limited attention for new or complex situations.

Discussion question: What roles do you see order and predictability playing in human life and flourishing? And in what ways might the various portrayals of God as king touch into the human need for order and predictability?

We think in pictures. And the parts of our brains that process sensory-motor experience are crucial to our understanding of abstract concepts. For example, because we have grapsed an object, we can understand more easily what it means to “grasp” a concept. Because we have had things taken from us, we can understand more easily what it means to say that “time is a thief.” The Bible is filled with metaphors for God, for what it means to be human, and for various aspects of divine-human relationship. I like to think of the plethora of metaphors as a mosaic, each providing a tile, shedding light on a facet of a much larger “picture”. Consider the variety of imagery used in Psalms 8 and 93.

Psalm 8:

1 LORD, our Lord,
  how majestic is your name in all the earth!
  You have set your glory in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
  you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
  to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
  the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
  human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
  and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
  you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
  and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
  and the fish in the sea,
  all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 LORD, our Lord,
  how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 93:

1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty;
  the LORD is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
  indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
  you are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, LORD,
  the seas have lifted up their voice;
  the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
  mightier than the breakers of the sea—
  the LORD on high is mighty.
5 Your statutes, LORD, stand firm;
  holiness adorns your house
  for endless days.

Discussion Question: What image or picture-driven language catches your attention in these poems? What do you think makes is stand out to you? And what points are being made?

Discussion question: In what ways does this imagery complement the image of God as king? In what ways does this imagery reveal the limitations of the God is king metaphor?

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