He saw people that looked like trees . . . and he was like a corpse.
Not the same guy, and not in the same day.
But get this. The one guy sees people and says, “They look like trees.” And about a chapter later, another guy is so suddenly stunned and still, everybody thinks he is dead.
What do these scenes have in common? A “like a” phrase that explodes with glorious illumination if we only stop and look. Check it out.
Like a storm.
I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Prov 2:26-27
Wisdom is mocking here, and only because she’s been shouting warnings for all to hear for pretty much forever. So, if you’re foolish enough to ignore her, she just about has the right to make fun of you when terror strikes and calamity comes, because you asked for it.
Thanks to Solomon, we get a two-for-one: like a storm / like a whirlwind.
What is it about a storm and a whirlwind that helps us understand how this terror and calamity are going to come? Suddenly? Harshly? Without a way of escape? Bringing massive waves of destruction? Capturing us so violently that we can’t get out?
If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures . . . Prov 2:4
Seek it like silver. In other words, search for it as you would for hidden treasures. So, how would you search for hidden treasures?
If a million dollars were hidden somewhere in your back yard, what would you do? Seek the words of God – his commandments, wisdom, insight, and the ability to understand it – like that.
Like a scroll.
All the hosts of heaven shall rot away, and the skies shall roll up like a scroll. Isa 34:4
You’ve sung it: “. . . the clouds be rolled back as a scroll . . .”
To the best of your scroll-rolling knowledge, what would it be like to see the skies open up like that?
Like a deer.
Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. Isa 35:6
You have seen a deer leap. Okay, seriously. Imagine a lame man leaping like that! It’s border-line hysterical.
But then, what is it like for a deer to search for green pasture and find none?
From the daughter of Zion all her majesty has departed. Her princes have become like deer that find no pasture; they fled without strength before the pursuer. Lam 1:6
I’m seeing a stately, prestigious prince giving up on life. Worn, exhausted, and famished, just waiting to waste away.
Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lam 2:19
Now, this one gets me. When I think, “pour out your heart,” I think all figurative-like: passion, emotion, abandon.
When I think, “pour out water,” I think smooth, rushing, flowing, free.
And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” Mark 8:24
This man hasn’t seen anything in awhile, but he knows what trees look like. And when his sight is restored by the hands and power of Jesus, he sees only vaguely at first. And the people look like walking trees.
Tall, scraggly things with lots of arms and bushy hair?
And now you have a peek into the blind-to-sight experience.
And then to watch a boy’s body go from out-of-control to corpse-like, such that he fools pretty much everyone but the coroner . . . until they all realize they just witnessed a resurrection, not a murder.
Like a corpse.
And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” Mark 9:26
Just when we think we don’t have much to go on in this mind-boggling thing called “the Bible,” a wondrous “like a” happens.
And they’re literally e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. Like a glorious galactic explosion in the sky. And all you have to do is look.
[image credit: unsplash.com]