Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Hiding Place

“Amidst the sorrows of the way, Lord Jesus, teach my soul to pray
Let me taste Thy special grace, And run to Christ, my hiding place

You know the vileness of my heart, So prone to act the rebel's part
And when You veil Your lovely face, How can I find a hiding place

Lord, guide my wandering feet, Draw me to Thy mercy seat
I've naught to trust but sovereign grace, Thou only art my hiding place

How unstable is my heart, Sometimes I take the tempter's part
And slight the tokens of Thy grace, And seem to want no hiding place

But when Thy spirit shines within, Makes me feel the plague of sin
And how I long to see Thy face, 'Tis then I want a hiding place"

Baptist pastor Daniel Herbert wrote this song in 1814. It was recently recorded by one of my favorite bands, Jars of Clay, on their CD titled “Redemption Songs”.

Psalms 19:7-12 tell us that we cannot hide from God. If we go to the depths of the sea, He is there. If we go to the height of the heavens, He is there. Darkness doesn’t veil us from Him. No matter where we may go, God is always with us, always watching over us (Proverbs 15:3).

While listening to this song one day God touched my heart through the words of this song. If God had given us all a place where we could go to hide from Him, would we go there? Think about it. Meditate upon it.

At first I thought, sure, I’d go there! It would probably be so crowded you’d have to get reservations to get in! There’d be so many people just waiting outside the gate to get in and do something behind God’s back.

Or, would they? There are many people today – even church goers – who seem to have no conscience – no sense of right and wrong. They don’t care who knows what they do, and they repeatedly “slight the tokens of Thy grace, And seem to want no hiding place”. Maybe it wouldn’t be so crowded after all. Or maybe it would be filled with hypocrites, murderers, child molesters, thieves, liars – and basically, the scum of the human race. Gee, that would be great company to be in, huh?

The more I thought about it, the less I wanted to be in that kind of place. Can you imagine what it would be like? Can you imagine the things that would go on in that kind of place? Think about it. Meditate upon it.

Then, when you had to leave there, imagine the guilt you’d have to feel when you came back into God’s view. Remember when you were little and you’d do something really wrong behind your parents backs, and even though they had no idea what you’d done, you still felt the guilt of knowing that it was wrong, and more than that, the separation of knowing you couldn’t share the truth with them. To feel that kind of remorse – to “feel the plague of sin” in our relationship with God could not be worth the temporary fleshly satisfaction of whatever sins we had committed.

Separation from God would be the essence of this hiding place. It would be empty of love, for God is love (1 John 4:8). It would be empty of light, for Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). It would be without hope, because Jesus is the hope of things to come (1 Peter 3:3-5). In fact, it would be pure evil (Psalms 5:4). How horrible this place would be – a place where you’d feel nothing but hatred, darkness, evil, and a complete lack of hope for things to ever get better. When you think of what this hiding place would be like, it is evident that this place does exist. It’s called Hell.

That’s not a place I even want to visit! And, none of us have to. For God has given us a “hiding place” from Hell!

“Lord Jesus, shine and then I can, Feel sweetness in salvation's plan
And as a sinner, plead for grace, Christ, the sinner's hiding place.
As a sinner, plead for grace, Christ, the sinner's hiding place”

Shine, Jesus, Shine! Lord Jesus, may we all hide in the sheltering light you provide, and accept the tokens of your Grace.

“You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.” - Psalms 119:114

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