Shark: swindler; crook; double-dealer; con artist; loan shark; a ruthless greedy person; a carnivorous fish with a long body, two dorsal fins, sharp teeth, a cartilaginous skeleton, and thick, rough skin. ~Encarta Dictionary
Shark - To see a shark in your dream, represents a person whom you see as greedy and unscrupulous. This person goes after what he or she wants with no regards to the well-being and sensitivity of others. The shark may also be an aspect of your own personality that exhibits these qualities. Alternatively, you may be going through a difficult, painful or unpleasant emotional period. The shark symbolizes feelings of anger, hostility and fierceness. ~Dream Dictionary
When we hear about the shark encounters people have at the beach this time of year, we must grieve with those who have been injured and pray for the families of those who might have lost their lives. Sharks in the ocean have always been a danger to people, and we must exercise caution when dealing with them.
It got me to thinking about sharks in the Bible. After a careful search, even though us pastors should know without looking, I did not find a single mention of the literal word shark in the Bible. But there are plenty of people who fit at least one of the definitions above.
We can begin with Cain, son of Adam, in Genesis. Cain was jealous of his brother, Abel, because God seemed to favor him a little more in the sacrifice department. So Cain asked Abel to go out into the field and killed him.
When God asked where the brother was, Cain said, “I don’t know! Am I my brother’s keeper?”
Of course Cain knew, and so did God.
Indeed, we must not be sharks like Cain and wish or do anybody harm. We are our brother’s keeper and must do unto them good things, golden rule kinds of things.
Then there was Queen Jezebel. She murdered prophets of the Lord and sacrificed children to her god of stone, Baal. Jezebel was determined to do everything she could to convert the nation of Israel to worship pagan Gods. She threatened the life of the prophet Elijah. But eventually she was killed and did not get her way.
Some would lift up Jezebel as the greatest shark of the Bible. She did more harm than any hundred people together to the country. But God was preeminent, the prophets of God won out, and the nation was saved.
We must look out that we are not causing harm to our nation by trying to tell people things that are not true. We must be people who help and heal, and never be the shark.
There are many sharks in the Bible -- double dealers, ruthless greedy people and more. I’m sure you can think of many.
Perhaps one of the worst was King Herod, who killed all the Jewish boys under the age of 2 because he was trying to prevent the Messiah Jesus from being born. He murdered his own family because he did not want them to take his throne. And, he tried to trick the wise men who had come to see the baby Jesus into letting him know where Jesus was so he could kill Him, but they found him out.
We don’t have to be a queen or king to be a shark. We can be an ordinary person in a small town or big city and be a swindler or con artist or loan shark.
The Bible tells us not to lie, cheat, steal or hurt others. In other words, we are to swim as fast as we can away from shark tendencies.
Judas, now there was a shark. He gave up Jesus to the authorities. Betrayed him in the garden.
But was he? Did he not have to fulfill the prophecy that Jesus would be betrayed and then die for your sins and mine. Some think he had noble motives, but he sure looks like a shark to me.
The closest marine animal I can think of in the Bible is the great fish that swallowed Jonah when he was running away from God. At least in three days he spat Jonah back out on land, and Jonah was then able to obey God and preach the gospel.
The point about all this is that we must not be a shark in any sense of the word as God’s people. We must practice love, grace and forgiveness. We must love our God with all our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves. We must do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Pray that God will rid us all of anger, hostility and the tendency to do harm to others. Don’t be a shark. And stay away from them. They will bite.