Hide and Seek
I don’t know about you, but for me, waiting is tough! I hate to wait. Why is waiting so hard? Because waiting implies that we do not have control over our circumstances or the timing of events in our lives. We like to think that we own our destiny, yet if we are honest we would admit that we can barely see beyond today.
We might have plans and dreams, but really, today are we where we thought we would be five, 10, or 15 years ago? So who is to say where we will be in the future? Only God knows that. In my experience, He usually remains rather silent on the issue of disclosing what is to come. He allows us to walk day by day and sometimes those days seem to drag out. Whether there is something we really want to do, or even when we feel like we have no direction whatsoever, the times and seasons of our lives can become unbearable.
Can become unbearable, if we let them. Psalm 27 is a wonderful Psalm that can help us through those difficult, unexplainable times. In this passage, David is expressing angst over the adversaries in his life but he also lets the deep cry of his heart come out. It is a cry that is centered on his desire to simply be with God.
“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” Psalm 27:4 (NASB)
More than anything, David wanted to be with the Lord. Verses 8 and 9 continue the thought:
“When you said, ‘Seek my face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.’ Do not hide your face from me, Do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; Do not abandon me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation!” Psalm 27:8-9 (NASB)
The Lord had given David the challenge – “Seek my face.” David understood the challenge and knew that sometimes, seeking God’s face is easier said than done. Why? Because as was mentioned earlier, our plans and dreams don’t always turn out as we expected. Sometimes, it appears God plays a game of hide and seek. Finding Him is not as simple as it may seem. It takes work to find God.
David closes the Psalm with a great encouragement.
“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 (NASB)
There was a firmly rooted conviction in David’s heart – no matter how tough, bizarre, or long the days seemed, he knew he was going to see the goodness of God in his life. Holding fast to this truth allowed him to endure and, quite literally, changed the rules of the game from “hide and seek” to “wait and seek.” David goes on to say in Verse 14 (NASB),
“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”
If we believe that God has good things for us, we will be willing to wait for them. Courage will give us the strength to wait for God while we seek him. Sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Just like in the real game of hide and seek, everyone wants to be found. Those in the best hiding places will eventually reveal themselves if the seeker is patient. If by faith we seek God by waiting for Him, He will inevitably come to us.
Hiding From God
Scripture Reading — Genesis 3:6-10
Adam and Eve] hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
Genesis 3:8 —
When I was a teenager, I accidentally damaged the family car. Nothing too serious—a broken taillight—but I was so ashamed that I tried to hide what I had done wrong.
We all try to do that sometimes, don’t we?
From the beginning, God walked in the garden to have fellowship with Adam and Eve. Today’s passage tells us they hid from God. What was going on? Why did they want to hide from the Lord? The answer is simple: as we learned from yesterday’s reading, they had disobeyed God and were ashamed.
Sin is disobedience, and the result of sin is separation from God. Disobedience builds a wall between us and our Creator. Because of sin, we are afraid and hide ourselves from him. We inherited this tendency to disobey God from our first parents. Because of their sin, we are unable to live the way God wants us to.
Yet God still wants to have fellowship with us and to walk with us each day! He wants that walk so deeply that he went to extraordinary lengths to restore what we had broken. In his Son, Jesus Christ, the Father will go the extra grace-filled mile to bring us back to his side.
How’s it going in your walk with the Lord?
God, our first parents disobeyed you, and so do we—again and again. Seek us out by your grace and bring us back into fellowship with you. Help us to obey you always. In Jesus, Amen.
No Need To Hide
There is a striking example of our reaction to our weaknesses in John Ortberg’s book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted. He tells the story of how he and his wife once traded in their old Volkswagon Super Beetle for their first piece of new furniture: a mauve sofa. The man at the furniture store warned them not to get it when he found out they had small children. “You don’t want a mauve sofa,” he advised. “Get something the color of dirt.”
When a red jelly stain appeared on the sofa, John’s wife lined up the children to find the culprit. Mallory was the first to break. With trembling lips and tear-filled eyes, she said, “Laura did it.” Laura passionately denied it. Then there was silence, for the longest time. No one said a word. John Ortberg knew they wouldn’t, for they had never seen their mother so upset. He knew they wouldn’t because they knew that if they did they would spend eternity in the time-out chair. He knew they wouldn’t because he was the one who put the red jelly stain on the sofa, and he wasn’t saying anything!
There are several lessons in the fourth chapter of Hebrews. One is that we can’t hide who we are or what we’ve done from God. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:12-13).
Knowing myself as well as I do, I could read those words with fear and trepidation. Knowing that my behavior, and even my thoughts and attitudes, are exposed before God is a sobering thought. It means that there is no place to hide.
When God’s Word begins to probe surgically, we are uncomfortable. We discover our weaknesses as the word cuts into us, separating flesh from spirit. We have instinctive reactions. We may isolate ourselves from one another and become insecure and defensive. We may try, unsuccessfully of course, to hide from God. We don’t pray, we don’t want to read our Bibles and we stay away from other believers. Those are neither healthy nor necessary responses. Jesus is described by Hebrews as a High Priest (Hebrews 5:10, Hebrews 6:20) who sympathizes with us and invites us to come to Him with our failures.
John Foster’s daughter was listening to the radio in the 1930’s when the announcement came that Japanese tanks had invaded Canton, China. She was the only one in the room who wept. To the others Canton was a remote place. She had lived there and knew the friends and neighbors who would suffer at the hands of the Japanese. To her Canton meant a home, a nurse, a school and friends. To her it was a place she loved. The difference was that she had been there.
Jesus has been where we are, but without sin. He invites us to approach Him boldly in our weakness and failure. He is able to sympathize and heal us. His throne is a throne of grace, not condemnation. What a relief to stop hiding and covering up. What joy to find the grace that helps us in our time of need.
Streams in the Desert – July 20
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
Seeing then that we have a great high Priest… Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Our great Helper in prayer is the Lord Jesus Christ, our Advocate with the Father, our Great High Priest, whose chief ministry for us these centuries has been intercession and prayer. He it is who takes our imperfect petitions from our hands, cleanses them from their defects, corrects their faults, and then claims their answer from His Father on His own account and through His all-atoning merits and righteousness.
Brother, are you fainting in prayer? Look up. Your blessed Advocate has already claimed your answer, and you would grieve and disappoint Him if you were to give up the conflict in the very moment when victory is on its way to meet you. He has gone in for you into the inner chamber, and already holds up your name upon the palms of His hands; and the messenger, which is to bring you your blessing, is now on his way, and the Spirit is only waiting your trust to whisper in your heart the echo of the answer from the throne, “It is done.”
–A. B. Simpson
The Spirit has much to do with acceptable prayer, and His work in prayer is too much neglected. He enlightens the mind to see its wants, softens the heart to feel them, quickens our desires after suitable supplies, gives clear views of God’s power, wisdom, and grace to relieve us, and stirs up that confidence in His truth which excludes all wavering.
Prayer is, therefore, a wonderful thing. In every acceptable prayer the whole Trinity is concerned.
–J. Angell James