My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the hiding places on the mountainside,
show me your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely. — Song of Songs 2:14
In Hebrew, the word for love is ahava, which comes from the root word, hav, “to give.” In Judaism, to love is to give. Giving to others forms the connection that enables us to love one another. Join us this month, as we offer a devotional series exploring the Jewish perspective on love.
If you’ve ever been to Jerusalem, you may have noticed that almost all the city gates are L-shaped. What you might not have noticed is that each also has a hole in the ceiling. It was common back in the 16th century to construct the city gates that way. The hole was used to pour boiling oil down on invading horsemen, and the L-shape was used to slow them down.
The design was ingenious. If the horse paused to make the sharp turn, then the horse and its rider would be scalded by the hot oil. If it galloped too fast to avoid the boiling liquid, it would collide with the stone wall. The horse was forced into a no-win situation. It was trapped and defeated.
I can’t help but empathize with the pitiful horse. There have been times in my life that I have found myself feeling very similar!
In the Song of Songs, the author described a place that we’ve all been — trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place: “My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places of the mountainside . . .” Jewish sages explain that this verse is a reference to the children of Israel just moments before the parting of the Red Sea. Behind them, the Egyptians were closing in. Before them was the sea. Neither option was appealing. Like the horse in the L-shaped gate, they had nowhere to turn.
What do we do when we find ourselves forced to choose between a bad option and a worse one? We do the only thing that we can do: we pray: “Show me your face, let me hear your voice for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.”
God encourages us to look to Him and ask Him for help, just as the Israelites did when they had nowhere else to turn. And this invitation from God is so much more than “feel free to call on Me if you need a helping hand.”
In the tender and loving tone unique to the Song of Songs, it’s more like God says “Please, my love, my beautiful dove. Please let me help you out. I want so much to be a part of your life!” God wants to do miracles for us. We just need to ask.
With God by our side, there are always options. There is always a way out, always possibilities. We just need to turn to Him and ask.
Download our complimentary Bible study, “The Life of Ruth,” to learn more about this courageous young foreigner, whose love and devotion to the God of Israel led to unexpected blessings.