So on the face of it, this title does seem rather crude and somewhat inappropriate. ‘Intercourse’ and ‘God’ – not exactly two words you’d expect to see in the same sentence. Nevertheless this antiquated synonym for ‘conversation’ is very appropriate for this particular blog.
Depth of Intercourse
Psalm 91:14b says: ‘I will set him on high, because he has known My name.’ Take a moment to reflect on your personal relationship with God. Do you really know Him? And what does knowing His ‘name’ in particular even refer to? Without being judgemental, I’m going to make the assumption that no matter how much, or how well, you think you know God, you probably don’t know Him as well as He wants you to. A bit of a bold statement to make, but a fair one I believe (hopefully you’ll think so too when you’ve read to the end).
You see the Hebrew word for known in this verse is yada. Although this word occurs over 870 times in different contexts throughout the Bible, in a broad sense it refers to an individual being able to “ascertain by seeing.” Interestingly, this same word is used to describe the first ever record of sexual intercourse between a male and a female in Genesis 4:1, “Adam knew (yada) his wife Eve.”
As you can imagine, I was slightly perplexed as to why God is ‘setting on high’ those who know Him in a similar way that a husband ‘knows’ a wife through sexual intercourse.
But in that moment, not for the first time, I suddenly realised how wonderful God is. For those of you that are still scratching your heads, allow me to break it down.
Significance of Intercourse
In Hebrew, the phrase “set him on high” refers to exaltation; the Oxford dictionary defines exalt as ‘”thinking or speaking very highly of someone.” In other words, God speaks very highly of people who know Him. Why does this ‘knowing’ have to be akin to sexual intercourse? Well in short, I don’t think it does in a literal sense. However, if one ponders on the fact that sex is only permitted through marriage (a sacred union between a man and a woman who enter into a covenant between themselves and God), then the answer becomes clearer.
Guys generally don’t propose after the first date, and people generally don’t marry complete strangers. For the Christian, courtship is a process of getting to know each other before the couple decides they are ready for marriage. Therefore, when a couple marries they have sufficient information about their significant other to know that they are ready to commit until “death do us part.”
The person you make love to on your wedding night is somebody you have already had intercourse with on several occasions, but sexual intercourse is now an additional way for you to communicate.
Impact of Intercourse
Back to Psalm 91:14…. God can only speak highly of you if you’ve had a conversation. Not just the basic pleasantries to maintain civility, but the same depth you devote to your significant other. Your relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend wouldn’t thrive with the odd ‘hello’ every now and then. Moreover, they wouldn’t be able to exalt you amongst their friends because they simply wouldn’t know enough about you to speak highly of you.
I’ve come to the realisation that perhaps yada is used in both Genesis 4:1 and Psalm 91:14 because God expects that same level of intimacy with Him, that we have in our romantic relationships.
I hope this is making sense so far, but one last point. Psalm 91:14 says “I will set him on high, because he has known My name”, notice how it doesn’t say I will set him on high, because ‘I [God] have known his name.’ The difference between the two variations is so subtle one might argue it’s insignificant. Au contraire, my friend! God knew you before you were formed (Jeremiah 1:5), but for Him the real moment of joy is when you know Him. Intimately. So yes, I urge you to have frequent intercourse with God. Furthermore, the quality of your romantic relationship is directly linked to the quality of your spiritual relationship. The time you spend with God should be just as real, and meaningful, as is your time with your partner. Only then will your relationship thrive.
I hope you got the gist of the point I was trying to convey. It’s worth noting that in instances of rape (e.g. Genesis 19:32; 2 Samuel 13:14) the Hebrew word in these cases of sexual intercourse is shakab. Which simply means to “lie down with,” rather than “to know” or “ascertain by seeing” like yada. This reiterates my point in a different sense because you can’t know God via a one night stand, hence why shakab isn’t the word used in Psalm 91:14. However, by having a real relationship with Him, much like your romantic relationships, then you’ll truly get to know who He is.