Growing up in church, there were some infamous stories that became etched in Sunday school and bible study folklore: Jonah getting swallowed by the whale, David killing Goliath, Moses asking God if he could see His face.
The handful of times that last scene had crossed my mind, I casually assumed that Moses was just curious. He probably figured that any God who was powerful and majestic enough to turn rods into snakes, send disastrous plagues, and split a sea in two must really be a sight to behold in person.
The text seems to hint at a bit of bravado and precociousness. “Now show me your glory” (Exodus 33:20) isn’t a humble, coy request from a man testing the waters to see what he can get away with. It’s an instruction, is a brave and peculiar thing to give an all-powerful, sovereign God that could kill him (almost did so in Exodus 4:24-26 before his wife, Zipporah, circumcised their son and touched Moses’ feet with the foreskin).
To be honest, I’ve never taken the time to reflect on this story that much, not until it was brought to my attention a few weeks ago by a church auntie addressing a Women’s Prayer Breakfast. She highlighted a new perspective on it that helped me to see things from Moses eyes.
Moses and God had been on multiple adventures. He witnessed the awesome, terrifying power of God in each plague that ravaged Egypt and clung to God’s every word each time he approached Pharaoh. He had seen God rescue him and the Israelites from the dangers of wild animals and raiding tribes during their time in the wilderness.
God had kept Moses healthy and strong in a wasteland with no access to medicine or health care, and miraculously rained down manna from the heavens to spare him and his countrymen from starvation and death.
Over time, Moses had built up a rich history with God, and learned to know not just His acts, but His ways (Psalm 103:7). Moses is also one of the few Bible characters described as talking to God like a man would talk to his friend (Exodus 33:1).
After bonding with God through all of those experiences and receiving so many blessings from Him, it’s only natural that he would want to see the Person behind all these things. That’s how any of us would feel. As much as God said and did to and with Moses,
He always did it with a barrier in between them or from a certain distance, through a burning bush or a pillar of cloud. Moses wanted more, he wanted to be closer, he wanted to connect on a deeper level. Moses had his fill of wondrous acts and miracles. Now, he wanted God Himself.
Isn’t that what a wedding night should be like?
After months or years of dating, talking, doing activities together, learning together, going to pre-marital counselling, and sharing goals, dreams, challenges, struggles and jokes, anyone would desire more. Not just more time together, or more information about each other … just more of each other.
This is beyond libido and hormones. It’s being compelled by a beautiful curiosity, a sacred mystery, that draws you into deeper layers of the person you admire. This longing reveres the sanctity and honour of being entrusted with someone’s body, their most sensuous desires, the undulations of their voice in moments of ecstasy. It is one of the highest and most profound rewards to behold an image-bearer of God up close.
I believe it is with this awe that we should see sex, because it is a reflection of the awe with which we should see our sexual partner (our married spouse). To behold them is a tender, delicate treasure that is worth the patience of courtship and engagement.
Sex is glorious, because human beings made in the image and likeness of God are glorious. We should all dignify that glory by waiting until we have earned of the right through marriage to ask our wife or husband to see their glory. Indeed, if we viewed sex this way, as the marvelous satisfaction of the pursuit of a person instead of the pursuit of pleasure, perhaps it would once again regain the glorious esteem it has always deserved.
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet, speaker and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a USAID certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Trafficking in Persons conducted by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). In 2014 and 2018, she launched “Undone” and “Water Jar”, the first and only Christian poetry albums published in Jamaica so far and she performs original pieces of spoken word poetry to various audiences. As a founding member of the Love March Movement (since 2012) and #MarriageMattersJA (since 2018), she is a regular presenter on the science, politics and biblical worldviews on sex and sexuality. She hosts the new TV series “MTM News Magazine” which can be streamed live on www.mercyandtruth.tv.