Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about [surround me] with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Trouble Can Make You Hide
Sometimes we hide from trouble. Verse 7 says “Thou art my hiding place.” Sometimes we just can’t take it any more and we hide from trouble.
Hiding in a Prison Cell
The image above shows a man sitting in a prison cell. He is sitting with his head down, with his forehead on his knees. There is a shaft of sunlight coming through the bars in the window, but the man’s face is pointed down and inward, turning away from the light.
The man is naked and exposed, alone in a prison cell. That’s many of us feel when we are in hiding: Alone, exposed, and depressed.
Where Do You Hide?
We all hide sometimes. All too often, our hiding place is self-destructive:
- Alcohol: You may hide in the bottom of a glass. You just love the way the wine sparkles.
- Drugs You may hide in a fog of drugs because you just want to forget.
- Anger: You may hide behind hostility. You hit them first, before they can hit you.
- Self-pity: You may hide in your depression. You just keep reminding yourself of all the negatives. “I’m broke, busted, and disgusted.” Maybe you even compete with your cynical friends to see who wins the Misery Olympics.
- Mindless distractions: You may hide in TV, movies, video games, and all kinds of Internet nonsense. You may feel like Otis Redding who sang “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay back in 1967. Otis Redding was just “watching the tide roll away,” feeling he had all the time in the world. Otis Redding died in a plane crash a few days after he recorded that song. He was 26 years old.
- Bitterness: You may hide in resentment, which has taken root in your heart. We talked about the root of bitterness back on May 8. We learned how this weed spreads above ground and below ground, and the cure is forgiveness.
Maybe you change hiding places, depending on your mood. No one can figure you out, and nobody wants to. You’re just a porcupine that keeps everybody at a safe distance. If you’re acting like a porcupine, just remember that there is a cost to getting close. Intimacy will hurt a little sometimes, but we all need the warmth of human contact.
Maybe your hiding place is not self-destructive
- You hide in books, looking for the wisdom of the past.
- You hide in music, letting it wash over your pain.
- You hide in exercise, focusing on the movement and the activity.
- You hide in nature, admiring God’s creation.
That is OK for a while. But you’re still hiding…
We All Hide Sometimes
We’ve all walked a few miles on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams. Things just didn’t pan out the way you thought they would. Maybe your dreams are deferred, as Langston Hughes wrote in 1951.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
We’ve all spent a few nights in a Town Called Malice. Sometimes it feels like the forces of this world are set against you. (News flash: The world is set against you, since this is a fallen world and the Devil walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
We’ve all had our Glory Days, and it’s easy to lose ourselves in memories of the past.
Hide in the Lord
If you’re going to hide, hide in the Lord. Hide your soul, heart, and spirit.
It sounds corny. It sounds boring. It sounds old-fashioned. Here are a few reasons why hiding in the Lord is better than any other hiding place.
- Hiding in the Lord is always possible.
- Hiding in the Lord never hurts you.
- Hiding in the Lord always helps you.
- Hiding in the Lord helps the people around you.
Compare this to hiding in the things of this world:
- Hiding in drugs and alcohol will always waste your money and will eventually waste away your body and mind.
- Hiding in your emotions will eat you up from the inside. When we are in hiding we may feel fear, anger, and resentment. There are 1,000 other emotions you may feel when you’re in hiding, and none of them will preserve your soul or your spirit.
The Lord Preserves Your Soul
Thou shalt preserve me from trouble…
The Lord preserves every single person that has put their trust in His Son Jesus. The Lord has preserved your eternal life, and no one can take that away. Your future is 100% secure, and there is no force on earth that can take you out of the palm of God’s hand.
Last week we studied John 10, where Jesus is described as the Good Shepherd. The sheep know His voice…
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
The Lord Delivers You
“Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance…” (Psalm 32:7) The Lord shall surround you with songs of deliverance.
Think about that: The Lord isn’t just going to deliver you, but He is going to SURROUND you with songs of deliverance. This means that other people will encourage you with the songs on their lips and melodies in their hearts.
You Are Not Alone!
It also reminds us that we are not alone! There are saints all around you. You are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…
We are not alone–there is a great cloud of witnesses around us, and God will surround us with songs of deliverance.
Songs of Deliverance
Here’s an example from my life: I need quiet when I work, and my environment can be noisy. So this week I put on the stereo to drown out the noise. I put on some hymns and praise music, and I set it up to play all day.
Please understand that I did this for selfish reasons. I put on the music so that I could stay in “my hiding place.” But the Lord used this situation for His glory. The Lord surrounded me with songs of deliverance despite my selfish motives. My spirit was weak and my attitude was bad. But the Lord found a way to “compass me about with songs of deliverance.”
- The Lord can reach you no matter where you are.
- The Lord can reach you despite your state of mind.
- The Lord can reach you despite your sins and selfishness.
- The Lord can reach you in order to inspire the people around you.
It ain’t about you!
The Lord Sends You Out
After the Lord delivers you, the Lord will send you.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
The Story of John André
History offers us a remarkable story of a man who found a hiding place in the Lord, and who touched many lives with a poem he wrote just before he died.
You’ve probably heard of Benedict Arnold. He was an American general during the Revolutionary War and he became infamous for treason. The phrase “Benedict Arnold” is another way of saying “traitor.”
But have you heard of John André?
The British offered Benedict Arnold 20,000 pounds to surrender West Point, a strategic military base of the American Revolutionary forces. Major John André was the British spy who met with Benedict Arnold.
The plot was discovered and Benedict Arnold fled to England, where he lived out the rest of his days. John André was caught, and he was sentenced to death by hanging. John André was 29 years old.
They say that two days before he died, André became a Christian. The following poem was found in his pocket after the execution. It is nine verses long, and it is called “My Hiding Place.”
MY HIDING PLACE By John André Hail, sovereign love, which first began The scheme to rescue fallen man! Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace, That gave my soul a Hiding Place! Against the God who built the sky, I fought with hands uplifted high, Despised the mention of His grace, Too proud to seek a Hiding Place. Enwrapt in thick Egyptian night, And fond of darkness more than light, Madly I ran the sinful race, 'Secure' without a Hiding Place. But thus the eternal counsel ran: "Almighty love, arrest that man!" I felt the arrows of distress, And found I had no hiding place. Indignant Justice stood aview. To Sinai's fiery mount I flew; But Justice cried, with frowning face: "This mountain is no hiding place." Ere long a heavenly voice I heard, And Mercy's angel soon appeared; He led me at a placid pace, To Jesus, as a Hiding Place. On Him almighty vengeance fell, Which must have sunk a world to hell. He bore it for a sinful race, And thus became their Hiding Place. Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll, And shake this globe from pole to pole, No thunderbolt shall daunt my face, For Jesus is my Hiding Place. A few more setting suns at most, Shall land me on fair Canaan's coast, Where I shall sing the song of grace, And see my glorious Hiding Place.
Is Jesus Your Hiding Place?
John André found his hiding place shortly before he died. Then the Lord sent him out, and inspired him to write a poem.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go…
The Lord will teach thee in the WAY which you shall go. John André faced his death with incredible calm, and with divine grace that moved people to tears. John André was mourned by the British as a faithful soldier, and he was respected by the Americans who executed him.
The manner that John André faced death showed that he had found his hiding place in Jesus. His final testimony shows the grace of God, who hid him, preserved him, and showed him the way to go.
Your Final Day
I pray that God gives me the same grace when it is my time to go. We must all go home to the Lord someday. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after.
- You may be hiding out today, but you are going home someday. Is Jesus your hiding place?
- You may be stressed out today, you may be burned out, and you may be cast out. Is Jesus your hiding place?
- Whatever you are going through, I ask you: Is Jesus your hiding place?
Let us pray:
Lord, we thank you for this day. We thank you for providing us a hiding place in Jesus. We thank you for preserving us through the tests and trials of this day. And we thank you for being with us when you send us out, wherever the day takes us.
Someday we shall return home to you. In the meantime we ask for your grace, your mercy, and your strength on this tedious journey.
We love you, we praise you, and we pray this in Jesus name. Amen.
British Major, John André
Self-Portrait on October 1, 1780, One Day Before His Execution