Sunday, October 08, 2006

Bob, the fish

Purex laundry detergent has a commercial in which a businessman is actually a fish. He's wearing human clothes, but he has a great big fish head. Two co-workers, a man and a woman are talking in the cafeteria line, and the man says to the woman with a concerned look, "I think Bob is a fish." The woman leans over to Bob, smells his clothes, and replies with disdain, "If he were a fish, don't you think his clothes would smell like fish?" The commercial goes on to laud the value of the laundry detergent that completely removes the fish smell from Bob the fish's clothes. We laugh at the commercial, because we know that clean clothes cannot change the real person – or fish, in this case. When I read the Bible, I find that I am like Bob the fish.

Read the rest of "Bob the fish" in the first comment below.

7 comments:

Brother Bob said...

Yes, I, Bob Rogers, am Bob the fish. Because I stink. I give off the stench of sin, because I am a sinner. But I have good news! God can give me new clothes! Zechariah chapter 3 reports that the prophet saw a vision of the high priest, Joshua, standing before the heavenly council. Satan was standing there to accuse Joshua of sin, just as Satan accuses all of us before God. But something surprising happens. God rebukes Satan! God does not dispute what Satan says, because it is true that Joshua (and you and I) have sinned. But God rebukes Satan anyway. Why? He says He has chosen Jerusalem. He says ‘Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" This is a reference to the Jerusalem's rescue from exile. Amos 4:11 says, "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire..." What God is saying, is that by his grace, God has chosen to do something that we do not deserve. Then verse 3 explains, "Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel." The Hebrew word for "filthy" is similar to the word for human excrement and vomit. It is a pungent and powerful word. The filthy clothes of Joshua represent mankind's sin. Isaiah 64:6, NASB says, "All our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment." We are disgusting to a holy God because of our sin. God is perfect, right and good, and he does not allow sin into heaven. Yet God loves us and wants us to be able to stand in His presence in heaven. So how can this happen when all of us have sinned and are filthy?What God does next shows His grace. He has His angel take off his filthy clothes. Then he says to Joshua, "See I have taken away your sin." The taking off the clothes represents grace. This is the undeserved forgiveness, kindness and mercy of God. There was nothing Joshua could have done to clean his clothes, but God removed them. Likewise, God removes our sin by grace. Ephesians 2:8-9 says it is by grace that you are saved through faith, not of works, lest anyone should boast.But God does not leave Joshua naked. He puts "rich garments" (NIV) on him. This is translated "splendid robes" or "pure garments" in other translations. The rich garments represent obedience. They stand for a changed lifestyle. Colossians 3:12-14 says that God's people should "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other, and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Literally, the Hebrew verb translated in the future tense, "I will put rich garments on you," is literally, "I have put rich garments on you." It is a done deal. The NIV and other translations put it in future tense because v. 5 then describes the action of putting new clothes on him. But what God is saying is that it is assured already, even before it happens. God has prepared good works for you to do, Ephesians 2:10 says. He already has that purpose in mind for you. He saves you by His grace, and then it is He who gives you the ability to be like Christ and live in obedience. Next, the vision explains in v. 8 that this is "symbolic of things to come," and he begins to explain God's plan for our salvation. He talks about "my servant, the Branch." This is a reference to the Messiah. Isaiah 53 refers to the Messiah as the suffering servant. Again in Zechariah 6:12, he mentions the Branch. Isaiah 11:1 refers to the Messiah as a branch of the family tree of Jesse and king David.He is also called a "stone" in v. 9. This is the Messiah, also known as the cornerstone. Isaiah 28:16 refers to the Messiah as the cornerstone, which is quoted in Ephesians 2:20. And what will this Branch, this Messiah, do? Look at verse 9b.Look at this wonderful verse: "I will remove the sin of this land in a single day." Joshua the high priest knew about the Day of Atonement, the one day a year when the high priest went into the temple and made atonement for the sin of Israel. But this verse is talking about something far greater. It is what Hebrews 10:11-13 is talking about when it says that the priests offered sacrifices, only to have to do it over again, but Christ was sacrificed once for all time! This the "single day" in Zechariah 3:9 can only mean one day in history: Good Friday, the day Jesus Christ was crucified. For it was on that day that our sin was removed for all time. So even though I may look like a fish, God has supernaturally changed me into a child of God. As the apostle Paul says, "Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God." (2 Corinthians 2:15, NLT) This is only possible by the miraculous exchange of God's grace, through faith in Christ. Have you allowed Him to remove your filthy rags and clothe you with a clean clothing of righteousness?

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

I don't think I will ever understand this thing with guilt and lowliness. I agree that forgiveness and compassion are beautiful (when reasonable and deserved), but I don't think I understand this creature who is supposed to be so incredible yet not only puts up with, but demands, the worship of creatures acknowledged to be so inferior to him. I'm so confused with this entire thing.

Brother Bob said...

Trudy,
It's not necessary to fully understand God to have a relationship with Him. I don't fully understand my wife!
If I could understand God, I would BE God. He is greater than I, so it is reasonable that I am not able to fully understand Him.
Yet He has made a great effort to reveal enough of Himself to me and you that we may have a relationship with Him, because He loves us. This is the key to at least understanding part of His nature. It is His love for mere inferior human creatures that explains why he puts up with us and desires our worship. One of my favorite Bible verses puts it this way:
"God proved how much He loved us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

I think you took me wrong. I just don't understand what good it would be. But then I don't understand a lot of things.

Bloodiest of Ladies said...

Let me try that again. :) (It should tell me something that I can't speak reasonably, shouldn't it?)

I think theives (among other, large and varied groups) are disgusting. So if someone who'd chosen such behavior worshiped me I'd actually probably be offended, because that would mean they see something in me that's like them.

Jesse said...

If I may, Trudy, I'd like to offer that you didn't create the theives. If one of the theives were my son or daughter, I would feel differently (and that's just a loose analogy for the Creator/created relationship).

Jesse said...

Also, I believe that the "worship" that God wants is nothing more than acknowledgment that he is our Creator (it's not like he needs us to massage his ego or anything).