its desire is for you, but you must master it Genesis 4:7
Desire – The Hebrew word teshuqa is used only three times in the Bible; twice in Genesis and once in the Song of Solomon. In this occurrence, we recognize the darker side of the word. Sin desires Cain. It desires to control and rule over him, to bend his will to its purposes and to remove the proper authority of a relationship with God. We all know the story. Cain succumbs to the impetus of anger and sin gains the upper hand. The desire is fulfilled. Cain is lost.
This story gives us important insight into the two other occurrences of the word. It is an insight that we desperately need because it helps us correct a stifling heresy. The first occurrence of teshuqa is in Genesis 3:16. In the judgment of Eve, God says that she will desire her husband but he will rule over her. We often consider this to be a curse related to physical desire. Cain corrects us. Eve will desire to rule over her husband but now, in a fallen world, he will hold the upper hand. The pact of mutual responsibility and harmony is broken. Now there is a battle for control. In spite of her longing to take charge, she will be under his command. Her life will be frustrated in fulfillment of both purposes for which she was created: to bring new life into this world and to act as the protector and provider for her mate.
Then there is the Song of Songs, the best of all songs, the picture of the redemption and healing of this broken unity. In Song of Solomon 7:10, we find a startling use of the word. The imagery is the same; a longing for authority and control. But the roles are reversed and the context dramatically altered. The man’s desire is for the woman. Does this mean that the woman in the Song wrests control from the hand of the dominant male through sexual power. Not at all. The verse says quite clearly, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.” The Song redeems what has been lost – voluntary submission under the banner of intimacy, resulting in the reversal of the curse. The woman in the Song once again recaptures the role God intended – protector, provider, initiator, symbolic representation of God’s relationship to each of us. How she does this is discovered in the contextual shift. She wins back her lost purpose through complete submission. She establishes ownership by giving up her natural agenda. The dark side of teshuqa is overcome, not through a display of power – even of sexual power – but through a celebration of self-sacrificial love. She is God in a dress.
Think about that!