I was reading my Bible verse for the day I get each morning on my cell phone. It was from John 6:37 – All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
One word stood out- cast. The dictionary says it has many meanings, and some seem as opposites. One is to toss or throw, as the verse above implies. You can cast a mood over a situation or cast your glance to someone, throw a fishing line or net in the water, and the sun can cast a shadow. The actors on in a play are called the cast, because they project their voice and an image of the character they are playing onto the audience.
But the other is to carry ashore, as in a net. It can be to mold, or to cause something to appear. Your leg can be enveloped in a cast when it is broken. You can cast an image onto the wall like a shadow puppet. You cast your vote (well, some would argue that means throwing it away).
Cast – so, it can mean to take on or to toss away? That seems even more confusing.
Another verse that immediately came to me was 1Peter5:7 – cast all your anxieties on him [the LORD] because he cares for you. Ecclesiastes 11:1 tell us to – cast our bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days…. The disciples cast their nets, and Jesus cast out demons. The Baal worshipers cast bulls of iron into idols. All in all there are close to 800 times the word cast is used in the Bible. They don’t all use it in the same way.
I thought of a boomerang after reading the verse in Ecclesiastes. What goes around comes around? In nautical terms that would make sense. You cast a net and then cast it ashore filled with fish. But in a spiritual sense, how does that work?
Jesus says He will never cast us out, the way He casts out demons. We can cast all of our cares and worries onto Him. Yet, His love can encase us like a cast and heal us. He can cast or mold us into His image.
Maybe this molding and tossing are related. Each requires some transformation or change to occur. In both usages, things can’t remain status quo- they have to change. . .unless it is God. He is the only constant in our lives. At times we may need to cast off whatever is blocking us from His love and guidance. At other times, He may need to cast His Spirit around us to protect us like a cloak.
In either case, our LORD responds in the same way because He CASTs –