Once, when the Israelites were in the desert and thirsty, God told Moses to speak to a rock and water would pour forth. Instead, out of anger towards the people, Moses hit the rock with his walking stick. Water still gushed out, but God was displeased over Moses’ lack of following directions.
Moses’ punishment was that God would not let him go into the territory he promised to give the nation. After forty years of faithful service, one mistake cost Moses dearly.
When it came time for Israel to take the land – without Moses – Moses blamed the people for God’s anger with him and punishment.
Moses, however, wasn’t the first to play the blame game. Back in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate fruit from the one tree God told them not to. Adam blamed Eve; Eve blamed the serpent. Even so, they still received punishment for their disobedience: God kicked them out of the garden.
It may be human nature for us to blame others for our mistakes. While doing so may deflect our faults onto others, it doesn’t remove the consequences. Just ask Moses, Adam, and Eve.
[Numbers 20:7-12, Deuteronomy 4:21-22, Deuteronomy 32:48-52, Genesis 3:12-13, Genesis 3:23-24]
In the Song of Songs, the girl reveals something personal. She is self-conscious about the dark tones of her skin (from spending too much time in the sun, she says). She doesn’t want others to stare.
Yet the friends in this story want to do just that. They admire her uniqueness and ask to gaze upon her. This is ironic; the exact thing that makes her uncomfortable, others admire.
More significantly, is that her lover desires to do the same. He says, “Show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” His love for her is revealed through his desire.
While this human love story between a man and a woman is wonderful and inviting, the underlying analogy is of the love story between God and us. By extension, God wants to look at us; he wants to hear our voice!
If this seems strange, know that there is precedent.
You may recall that after Adam and Eve hid from God, that God sought them out, calling “Where are you?”*
I hear the same call to us today.
*Their location was not a mystery to God; he merely wanted them to come to him on their own accord — as he does of us.
[read the passages referenced above]