You shall fear the Lord your God and you shall serve him, and you shall keep close to him and you shall swear by his name. Deuteronomy 10:20 (Craigie)
Keep Close – Moses instructs the people to keep close to HaShem. How close? Inquiring minds want to know. Once you see the Hebrew word here, the picture becomes clear. The word is davaq. You will find it in Genesis 2:24. How close does God want you to be to Him? As close as a husband is to his wife. God wants you to cling to him as tightly as if you were married.
In case you haven’t already considered the imagery, the biblical view of our relationship to God is frequently cast in terms of marriage. Why? Marriage is the divinely ordained pinnacle of human relationship. It is the deliberate decision to turn myself over to another, to reveal my deepest sense of identity and purpose to someone who accepts the responsibility of person-care. It is the practice field for understanding and experiencing my divine relationship with God.
Of course, that means that God uses marriage to prune me. He establishes the covenant of marriage as a means of confronting me with my self in order that I may become myself. My mate is my perfect enemy, the one who will not let me escape into denial, run away to fantasy, refuse to confront failure or lash out in anger. In God’s plan, my mate is me in another form. If the two of us are to become one, I will have to look pretty hard at myself in order to bond with another. There is a hard edge to marriage that I can’t avoid. That’s why it’s supposed to be a life-long commitment. It will probably take that long for me to get my rough edges smoothed.
Fortunately, by divine decree and heavenly engineering, there is the other side of this arrangement. There is joy, peace and companionship. There is discovering who I am in the love of another. That is also a picture of clinging to God.
The difference between marriage and my relationship to God is only this: God manages His side of the relationship perfectly. He provides perfect peace, unrelenting love and eternal faithfulness. He also never enables, never stops reminding me of the faults I must confront and never forgets to push me toward conformity to His Son. My relationship to my spouse may sometimes falter, sometimes be side-tracked, sometimes hit a wall, because we are both sinners. But my relationship with God never collapses because of Him. The more that I cling to Him, the more He will lead me toward myself. The more I become what He designed me to be, the more my life will reflect Who He is. God is glorified in me when I am stuck on Him. The more I want companionship, peace and joy, the more I have to let my spouse (and God!) tear me apart. In marriage, both aspects come together.
Moses tells the people, “Keep close to Him.” He uses marriage imagery on purpose. If you thought of God as your spouse, how might that change you? If you don’t think of God as your spouse, what does that say about how you behave toward Him?
Topical Index: Marriage