God is described doing many things in the Bible in this way. Many of them are human attributes and actions to help describe him better. During the Exodus, the Lord is described as carrying Israel “as a father carries his son” (Deut. 1:31, NIV). Immediately the readers can picture a gentle dad carrying his little boy to bed. Another metaphor is in Genesis 2:2, when God rested from his work, thus creating the Sabbath.
These descriptions are woven through the Bible, and there’s a unique comparison that’s only used once. In Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son, the young man asks for his inheritance and leaves. But when he comes back, his father sees him and runs to meet him. With God as the father, this is only place in the Bible where God is shown running.
According to Jack Wellman, this idea of the Father running to the wayward son would have been shocking because “the Jews considered this highly undignified in their culture. The patriarch never ran or never made the first move in such a situation.”
The fact that God let himself be depicted in this unorthodox show of love is deeply moving. Not only will he welcome you back, he’ll run to you, arms open wide.
Copyright 2013 by Molly Anderson. Use by permission only.