One of the most unsettling feelings you can get in a relationship, romantic or not, is the sense that something is wrong.
Something is different. Something’s changed. Something is missing. There was some chemistry, some passion, some excitement that came along in the relationship that you can’t find anymore.
And the worst thing about this feeling is that by definition, it provides no answers. There’s only the haunting sense that there’s no book, no stroke of genius, no clever trick and no love song that will solve the problem in your relationship.
Except for, perhaps, the love song found in Deuteronomy 32.
It’s written and sung by Moses, which is surprising. We knew he was a writer, but a songwriter, too?
And he doesn’t do half bad! He sings a long, exciting, emotional song about a relationship. Specifically, the relationship between God and the Israelites. It’s like a condensed version of everything we’ve read in the Bible so far.
And it’s beautiful, but that’s not all. What can Moses’s song teach us about our relationships with God, especially ones that are in rocky waters?
Communication is key
I think we tell ourselves too often that we have to be extremely formal with God. And it doesn’t just come through in “thees” and “thous” and flowery language.
That formality shows up when we only talk to God in the morning or at night, kneeling, hands folded, eyes closed.
That over-formality shows up when we only talk to God about “safe” things like the church or the country or someone who is sick.
But in this chapter, Moses kicks all of that to the curb by being fully honest with God.
Moses talks about his and the Israelites’ failings. He talks about their past, their sins, their fights with God.
He doesn’t wince when he describes the punishments that God had to give them.
He’s honest about the good things, too – like how blessed and prosperous their nation was in the times when they obeyed God.
God wants the exact same thing from us.
Because, look, if it happened to you or involved you in any way, God was there, too. He already knows your embarrassing moments and deep, dark secrets. He could tell you every detail about each thought and feeling you have – before you think it or feel it.
God knows everything about us. So why do we try to be prim and proper in front of Him? If we’re mad at Him, we should tell Him. If we’re tempted to sin, we should talk about it with Him! If we’re confused or jealous or scared or overjoyed or disappointed or excited or whatever, we should feel comfortable pouring it out in front of Him.
Because guess what? Those are the things He wants to hear from us.
Look a little closer
I once heard someone say that we don’t look at people enough. And no, not just because of quarantine.
They were talking about studying people. Gazing at them. Really seeing them and their quirks and their unique beauty.
I thought of that the other night when I was on FaceTime with a friend. I started studying her a little closer. The way she rested her face in her chin. The way her voice went up and down. And I felt closer to her, more appreciative of her.
The same thing will happen if we take the time to really look at God.
Moses does that in His song. He goes on and on about God – He’s a Rock, His works are perfect, He is just, He’s faithful and upright, He does no wrong, He’s our Father, the One who formed us, He is in charge of all the nations, He shields and protects His people, He acts alone, He nourishes us, He disciplines us…
All of the characteristics and qualities Moses carefully notes are things we already knew about God. There’s no huge revelation. No, the goal of Moses’s words is not to teach us something about God but to pull our thoughts to Him.
If we want to brighten up our relationship with God, we should daydream about Him.
Meditate on Him.
Think about all the things we like about Him.
Try to count all the things He’s doing for us right this second.
Retell ourselves a story from the Bible.
Remind ourselves of what He’s done in our very own lives!
We’ll feel closer to Him. We’ll be more appreciative of Him.
We will fall in love with Him.
Once I saw this TikTok of this girl putting makeup on her boyfriend. Instead of thrashing around and fighting her, he let her do it. She actually did a really good job! When she was done, he hammed it up for the camera.
The caption on the video was “play with your girl to keep her happy”.
It’s weird, but that TikTok made me think about my relationship with God.
Because the point of that TikTok was not “men should wear makeup” (calm down), but that when you love someone, you spend time with them doing the things that they love to do.
God wants to do that with us.
I used to think that I shouldn’t spend too much devotional time listening to music because that’s not really devotional time. And to this day, if I spend some devotional time doing anything but studying the Bible, I feel bad and have to work hard to justify it.
But that’s not the way it should be.
We all have different hobbies. We all have different talents. Thus, we all have different ways of connecting to God.
Do you dance? Choreograph a dance to a song that makes you think of God. Do you love to sing? Sing a worship song to yourself and God. Do you like movies or TV? Watch a show or movie about God (may I suggest The Chosen?) and journal your thoughts.
Sermons, audio Bibles, art, nature walks – it’s all fair game. The point is spending time with God. The point is enjoying being in His presence.
And the result is a closer connection to Him.
“Our love is a two-way street.”
Why do all this? Why put in all this effort to reenergize a relationship with God, especially if you’ve been doing this Christian thing for a long time? Is it to enhance our image? To check more things off of our “Good Person” checklist?
I think there’s no better reason than the fact that God is real and as we get closer to Him, He will draw even closer to us.
We’ll feel His presence. We’ll know the sound of His voice. And God will talk back to us.
We see Him do it before our very eyes in Moses’s song. Like some of Moses’s other songs in Psalms, the POV of this song drifts back and forth from Moses to God. One verse Moses is speaking of God in the third person. The next he uses first person, as if God Himself penned the words.
And the truth is, He did. God spoke to Moses as intimately as He will speak to you and me, if only we get close enough to hear Him.
Maybe you’ve felt that something is wrong, something is missing in your relationship with God. You don’t have to try to ignore it anymore.
Be honest with God, take a closer look at God, and spend time with God in your own way.
And watch your relationship brighten, grow, and change your life.
What do you think? How do you keep your relationship with God strong?