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Friday, December 16, 2011

Psalm 32: You Are My Hiding Place

     “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” (Ps. 32:7, NIV)

     This Scripture verse was used for the familiar chorus, “You are my Hiding Place. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance whenever I am afraid. I will trust in You.” It is one of my favorites.
     While Emma Mae’s “Special place” was, indeed, a hiding place to keep her candy away from her brothers, the other two anecdotes were more in line with the “shelter or refuge” definition of hiding place.
     I knew that the chorus had been taken from one of the psalms but had to google it to find just which psalm it was. Then, I decided to put the verse in context to see what it was that David had in mind when he wrote this line in his song. I was thinking something like a praise song, focusing on the intimacy of God in relationship to His children. Kind of like comforting a child who is frightened during a thunderstorm. Unpacking the message was a surprise for me so I wanted to share it with you. Let’s take it from the top, as the saying goes.

1 “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”

     Who can argue with that, eh? It is truly a blessing to know that our sins are forgiven and, even more than that, God does not hold it against us! Once we have asked for forgiveness, it is given and God will never bring it up again!

 3 “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

     That is exactly how it feels when we have done something wrong and God is pursuing us. He so wants us to stay on the path of righteousness that He is not about to let us off the hook and just go our own way. Why does He care? Because he loves us. We cannot have fellowship with Him if we choose the way of sin because God cannot look upon sin. There is no fellowship between the light and the darkness. If we continue to just do whatever we want to do, regardless of what the Bible says God desires of us, our hearts will get hard and we won’t care about the ugly feeling that comes to assail us over the sin. We will just turn away from caring what God thinks about anything we are doing in our lives.
     It doesn’t have to be a huge deal either, like murder or robbing a bank. It can be anything that is against what God wants us to be doing. I recall, clearly, a dear friend who had been sharing something negative about another person with a third party. It was a true statement but just did not need to be passed along so it was gossiping. My friend was in a particular time in her life where she was pleading with God to grant her the deepest possible relationship with Him and God took her at her word. As soon as she left the third party, she began to feel badly. She continued to feel badly about having shared the piece of information. In fact, by the time she got home she was eager to find the phone and call the third party! There were no cell phones in those days or she probably would not have put the key in the ignition before she called; she felt so badly. She asked the friend forgiveness for having shared the information with her and pleaded with her to not pass it along. The lady did not really know what to do with her request and wanted to just let her off the hook with, “Oh, it’s okay. It was a true statement anyway so it doesn’t matter.” But, of course, it did matter to my friend because it mattered to God. If she was to have the deepest possible relationship with God, she needed to let herself be sensitive to His Holy Spirit so that she learned to restrain herself from those carnal urges and keep her heart pure.
    Most of us can relate to how zapped we feel on those super hot days, right? It gets so hot here in the heat of the dry season that it is difficult to even breathe. David is saying that this is how it feels to have God pursuing him to make things right!

5 “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”-- and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”

     Yes, how sweet is the forgiveness of the Lord! When, at last, we humble ourselves, confess what we have done and ask God to forgive us, He quickly forgives us and our spirit just soars. What freeing relief when we are out from under that burden of guilt!

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