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CHRIST OUR HIDING PLACE

October 22, 2013

Mountain-Valley
CHRIST OUR HIDING PLACE
 – The Bible frequently uses images (metaphors, figures of speech) such as “HIDING PLACE” (Ps 32:7
notePs 119:114noteIsa 32:2KJV-sermon) to communicate truths about God, because images are generally easier to remember than abstract precepts and are easier to pass on to others. Images also appeal to our emotions as well as our mind. Words may inform us, but word pictures more often move and stir our passions (e.g., compare the image “Lamb of God” versus the abstract truth of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice). The image of Christ as our HIDING PLACE is one of the more comforting metaphors in Scripture, and as we meditate on this image our Teacher, the Holy Spirit (1Cor 2:11-13note), illuminates a number of glorious truths which enable us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Pe 3:18note) And so as our HIDING PLACE, He provides shelter by hiding us “in the secret place (Heb = Hiding Place) of His presence,” which provides protection and security in times of danger or distress (Ps 31:20note). As we humbly seek to hide in Christ (cp Zeph 2:3), we experience intimacy, fellowship and communion with Him, which in turn serves to encourage and revive our heart (Ps 69:32note) When we were children, we played hide and seek, but now that we are grown we should put away childish things (1Cor 13:11), and daily seek to hide in the shadow of His wings. (Ps 17:8note). Indeed, a SHADOW is the safest place in the world to hide if it is the “shadow of Shaddai,” for “He who dwells in the shelter (Hebrew = “HIDING PLACE“) of the Most High (El Elyon) will abide in the SHADOW of the Almighty (Shaddai).” (Ps 91:1note) “There is a place of quiet rest…There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God. A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God.” (After receiving the tragic news that his two beloved nieces had just died from diphtheria, Cleland McAfee ran to his HIDING PLACE and though still in great grief was enabled to pen his hymn “Near to the Heart of God,” the words of which have brought comfort to many grieving saints over the years.)

PlayYou Are My Hiding Place

I have chosen to capitalize HIDING PLACE, because Scriptures such as Ps 32:7note and Ps 119:114note equate the Place with the Person (and presence) of Jehovah. Even as David and other OT saints found their safe HIDING PLACE in God, so too do New Testament believers dwell eternally secure IN CHRIST (in Christ Jesus, in Him, in the Lord, etc), a phrase used over 80 times to describe our “unblameable and unreproveable” position as new creatures in Christ (Col 1:22KJVnote2Cor 5:17note1Cor 1:30note). Indeed, Paul affirms that we “have died (we have been crucified with Christ – Gal 2:20noteCol 2:20note,Ro 6:6note) and our life is HIDDEN (perfect tense = forever, permanently hidden!) WITH CHRIST IN GOD.” (Col 3:3note) In the day of His judgment, every man will either hide FROM Him (Rev 6:16note) or be found hiding IN Him (Ro 8:1note). Indeed, the only way to hide FROM His Presence then is to be IN His Presence now (Jude 24-25)! “None other Lamb, none other Name, None other Hope in heaven or earth or sea, None other HIDING PLACE from guilt and shame, None beside Thee.” (Christina Rosetti)

While every believer positionally is in Christ and thus in their HIDING PLACE, our goal should be to daily learn to live more experientially in our HIDING PLACE, so that our position becomes our practice, our orthodoxy, our orthopraxy (Greek “orthopraxis” = correct action)! David learned how to live in his HIDING PLACE by walking through various trials. Pain has a way of promoting pursuit of the Person of Christ! And so we too must endure various trials so “that the proof of our faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Pe 1:6-7note) And so as we go through our own set of trials, we learn to RUN by faith not sight (2Cor 5:7noteHeb 12:2note) into the great NAME of the LORD, our HIDING PLACE. Solomon reminds us that this Name of the LORD is a Strong Tower and when the righteous RUN into it, they are safe (Hebrew literally = lifted up) (Pr 18:10note). Indeed, our trial may continue unabated, and yet we are “lifted up” and enabled by the Spirit to supernaturally experience the security and safety of our ever available, all powerful, all sufficient HIDING PLACE, Christ Jesus. So remember that true security and safety is not the absence of danger, but the presence of Christ in us and us in Him, regardless of the danger (cf Paul’s experience – 2Ti 4:16-18note). May God’s Spirit grant that in and through the inevitable times of testing, we may learn the secret “of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need,” so that we may confidently testify with Paul “I can do all things through Christ, Who continually strengthens me” and preserves me safe “in the SECRET PLACE (Heb = HIDING PLACE) of His presence” “in the day of trouble.” (Php 4:11-13notePs 31:20notePs 27:5note)

In Psalm 32 when David confessed his sin, he exchanged hiding his sins for a HIDING PLACE in the Sin Coverer (Ps 32:1notePs 85:2noteRo 4:7note), Who always provides a place of protection for the penitent. David declared “You are my HIDING PLACE (Hebrew = cether = secret place; Lxx = refuge, way of escape). You preserve (guard, watch like a watchman over) me from trouble (affliction, distress, crushing external circumstances); You surround (encircle, encompass) me  with songs of deliverance (of rescue and redemption). Selah (A call for us to pause and ponder David’s gracious words!)” Note that David did not say “A” Hiding place, but  “MY” Hiding place. Spurgeon observes that “Personal claims upon our God are the joy of spiritual life. To lay our hand upon the Lord with the clasp of a personal ‘MY’ is delight at its full.” As discussed above, while God does not always spare us FROM trouble, we are succored (relieved) IN the midst of the trouble when we run INTO our HIDING PLACE. Note also that David says that Jehovah Himself is his HIDING PLACE and that confession of sin affords entrance into His “secret place.” Indeed, Spurgeon adds “that the same man who in Ps 32:4 was oppressed by the presence of God, here finds a shelter in Him. See what honest confession and full forgiveness will do! His Gospel of substitution makes Jehovah to be the God of our Refuge (Ps 142:5note) Who otherwise would have been our Judge (2Ti 4:1noteJn 5:2227).” Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me HIDE myself in Thee.”

And so we are much more likely to experience Jesus as our HIDING PLACE when we are in need than when we think we have no need! God often has to put us on our backs in order to make us look up. Spurgeon says that “God will not let us, who are His songbirds, build our nests here. He will send a rough wind through the forest which will make the limb on which we try to build, rock to and fro in the storm till we are obliged to take to our wings again, for there is no resting place for us upon any of the trees in this world!” This truth helps us understand how we can “consider it all joy when we encounter various trials” (Jas 1:2note), knowing that the trials drive us to take shelter in our HIDING PLACE, Christ Jesus Who has promised “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” so that we may confidently say “The Lord is our Helper, we will not be afraid. What shall man do to us?” (Heb 13:5-6note, cp Ro 8:35-39note)

He is our Hiding Place in this life and the life to come! (Col 3:3-4note)
He is our Hiding Place when we sin and confess (1Jn 1:79
note1Jn 2:1Pr 28:13note)
He is our Hiding Place when temptations threaten to overwhelm us. (Heb 2:18
note)
He is our Hiding Place in the day of mourning, loss and sorrow. (Isa 53:435:1051:11)
He is our Hiding Place “in the day of the LORD’s anger.” (Zeph 2:31Th 1:10
note)

O Lord, “From the snare of sinful pleasure, HIDE Thou me! Thou, my soul’s eternal Treasure, HIDE Thou me! When the world its power is wielding, And my heart is almost yielding, HIDE me, O Thou Rock of Ages, safe in Thee!” Amen. (Play “Hide Thou Me” by Fanny Crosby – Vocal Version)

Run to Him. Hide in Him. Take shelter in the Everlasting Arms of the Great I Am, Jehovah Jesus, the eternal God, our never changing Hiding Place (Mal 3:6note). As Spurgeon says “A man who is beset by foes does not stand still, and say, “Yes, I can see there is a hiding place there,” but he runs to it. Beloved, run to your Hiding Place this morning, each one of you who can have a claim and interest in Christ; run to Him now and say: “Thou shalt preserve me from trouble.” David had come up out of groaning times and into singing times. While his sin was unconfessed all the day long he groaned, but now that sins are confessed all the day long he sings! Now David hears songs everywhere, living in a circle of music.” As someone has said if you’re in tune with heaven, you’ll have a song in your heart. May the words of Frances Havergal’s hymn be our blessed experience the next time “the fiery trials” (and darts Eph 6:16KJVnote) come upon us unexpectedly for our testing (1Pe 4:12note). “HIDDEN in the hollow of His blessed hand, Never foe can follow, never traitor stand; Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, Not a blast of hurry, touch the spirit there. Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, Finding as He promised perfect peace and rest.

What a blessing that, instead of having to run from God, now we can run to God, our HIDING PLACE, and know that we are safe! The story is told of a wagon train crossing the prairie, which came over a hill and was terrified to see a prairie fire racing their direction. It seemed as if they would surely be engulfed by the flames. But the leader quickly rode to the rear of the caravan and set fire to the dry grass behind them. The same winds blowing the fierce fire toward them now fanned this fire away from them. Within minutes they moved to the burned-off area. As the heat and smoke became more intense, a little girl cried out, “Are you sure we’re safe?” “Oh, yes,” said the wagon master, “we’re safe because we’re standing where the fire has already been!” Christ has taken the fire of God’s judgment, and we too are forever safe if we “take refuge in Him” (Ps 37:40note). Remember they are always WELL KEPT whom God KEEPS. “Should storms of sevenfold thunder roll, And shake the globe from pole to pole; No flaming bolt could daunt my face, For Jesus is my HIDING PLACE.” (J Brewer)

David had experienced God as his Hiding Place and could testify that ‘in the day of trouble He will conceal (hide by covering) me in His tabernacle. In the secret place (HIDING PLACE) of His tent He will hide me. He will lift me up on a rock. (Ps 27:5note) Chuck Swindoll tells the story of the Malinta Tunnel located on Corregidor Island in Manila Bay. This tunnel served as weapons arsenal before WWII, but when the Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1941, Malinta Tunnel became an army hospital and headquarters of General MacArthur. Later as Japanese warplanes bombed Corregidor, the tunnel provided protection for the Allied soldiers. Malinta Tunnel remains a mute witness of the protection it offered soldiers through deadly bombardment.  While we may never experience literal bombing by warplanes, as God’s people we often experience hostilities of an evil and unbelieving world. David reminds us that “in the day of trouble,” in the face of spiritual attack, believers have a sure HIDING PLACE in Christ, Who has overcome the world (Jn 16:33). The only requirement for those seeking entrance into God’s HIDING PLACE is an attitude of repentance and faith. God is a HIDING PLACE where His people can find safety and refuge in times of danger. He is the One we can go to when no one else knows or understands what we are going through. As our HIDING PLACE He can provide protection when people’s assurances fail.”

The psalmist testifies from personal experience “You (Jehovah) are my HIDING PLACE and my Shield. I have put my HOPE in (and confidently rest on) Your WORD.” (Ps 119:114) We see again the psalmist’s possession (“MY”) of God as His personal Protector. Notice also the association of the WORD of God with the presence of God as his HIDING PLACE. As we feast on His trustworthy WORD and eat His sure promises, His WORD permeates our inner being, transforming us by renewing our mind (Ro 12:2note), and reviving our HOPE (not a “hope so,” but a “hope sure!”) and our confidence in our HIDING PLACE when all seems hopeless from a natural, human perspective. Spurgeon affirms that “It is easy to exercise HOPE where we have experienced HELP. Sometimes when gloomy thoughts afflict us, the only thing we can do is to hope, and happily the WORD of God always sets before us objects of hope and reasons for hope, so that it becomes the very sphere and support of HOPE, and thus tiresome thoughts are overcome. Amid our fretting  and worry a hope of heaven is an effectual balm,” a HIDING PLACE to soothe our weary, storm tossed soul. Matthew Henry agrees that “Those who depend on God’s promises (“hope in His Word) shall have the benefit of His power and be taken under His special protection (His HIDING PLACE).” “Now unto Christ haste thou away, Make Him thy HOPE, thy Rock, thy Stay, Plead but His mercies and His grace, Make Him thy Strength, thy HIDING PLACE.”

May God by His Spirit grant us His grace, so that when we encounter various trials, we may be supernaturally enabled to flee “for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us, a hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner on our behalf.” (Heb 6:18-20note) “Jesus, Lover of my soul, Let me to Thy bosom fly, While the nearer waters roll, While the tempest still is high. HIDE ME, O my Savior HIDE, Till the Storm of Life is Past, Safe into the haven (harbor) guide, O receive my soul at last.” Amen (Charles Wesley)

Click here for More In Depth Discussion of Christ Our Hiding Place

Hide Me in Your Holiness

From → The Names of God

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