We finished up the book of Exodus this week. In chapter 33 Moses has a striking conversation with the Divine. At the beginning of the chapter, the Lord tells Moses that he and the Israelites will have to finish their journey alone because the people were too “stubborn” (verse 3). Moses then pleads with God, saying “If you won’t go with us, then just leave us here.” (verse 15). The Lord relents, and agrees to go with them. But, what really spoke to me, was the Lord telling Moses “I’ll do exactly what you’ve asked because you have my special approval, and I know you by name.” That just took my breath away. Right after this, Moses asks the Lord to show him the “glorious presence” of the Divine, and that's where we read the account of how the Divine Presence passes by Moses, who is sheltered in a cleft of a rock. Moses isn’t allowed to see the front of the Divine, who covers Moses with a hand until the Divine passes by, and then Moses is allowed to see the back of the Divine.
What an amazing experience! From this passage comes the inspiration for the chorus to the Fanny Crosby hymn “He Hideth My Soul.” The chorus goes:
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.
As I contemplated this story and this old hymn, the following Haiku emerged:
My name, voiced by the Divine
Beloved and known
Thoughts for meditation:
Try to imagine yourself in this scene. What do you experience?
Contemplate the image above, the cleft in the rock at Bryce Canyon. Think about where your safe place is, where the Divine protects you, your “cleft in the rock.”
Imagine what it might sound like to hear the Divine say your name. What do you hear? Is it thunderous or a small whisper or something else?
Think of the times when you have bargained with the Divine. How did that turn out for you? Re-read this chapter. What might you learn about how to speak with the Divine?