How long will You hide Your face from me? (13:2)
What happens when God hides God’s face from the individual or from the world? Deuteronomy 31:17 suggests that when God’s face is hidden, we lose God’s protection from the evils and troubles that surround us in the world. When God’s face is hidden, we are vulnerable. In a contrasting image, the Priestly blessing, Birkat Kohanim, promises that God’s face will “shine upon us and be gracious to us” and God will “Lift up God’s face to us and grant us Shalom, peace, wholeness.” (Numbers 6:25-26). The Priestly blessing suggests that when God’s face is given to us, we have protection.
There are so many different ways that we can be killed or injured … If I were to start thinking about all of the random ways that I could get hurt or killed while driving a car down the highway I would become paralyzed and unable to drive. If I were to start thinking about how easy it would be for a driver to become distracted and drift over a couple feet onto the shoulder of Michigan street when I am walking home from shul, I would be afraid to walk. At any given moment a tree could fall down, a piece of concrete could fall from a bridge, a gas line could leak and explode, or a heretofore unknown flaw in my biological or genetic makeup could reach a critical point and strike me with a fatal condition.
I live my life consciously unaware of all of these things, certain that I will be protected from them (until I am not). I am grateful for my ability to be naive and unaware and see God’s face surrounding me and protecting me.