Sermon - Psalm 32:7-8
Our Teacher, Our Hiding Place
Our Teacher, Our Hiding Place
“You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:7-8)
Many years ago, I attended a church service in Southern California, where Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch former prisoner in World War II, was the speaker. Some years later I heard Nora Lam speak at a church in Tucson, Arizona, about her experience as a prisoner in China. Both of them were Christians, both had been imprisoned because of their faith, and both were miraculously and unexpectedly released from prison. It was a privilege to hear them and meet them in person.
Each of them had a God-sent friend in prison with them. In Corrie’s case it was her sister, Betsie, who heard from the Lord often and used His words to comfort Corrie. Nora Lam had a friend with her who was not her human sister, but she watched over Nora in a similar manner. The sister, Betsie, and Nora Lam’s friend both seemed to have an unusually close, personal walk with the Lord and each spent quite a bit of time prayerfully helping Corrie and Nora.
It’s interesting that when Betsie expressed what might be called a “prophesy” that the sisters would be released from prison before the New Year, Corrie was indeed released through a “clerical error” but Betsie died. It’s also interesting that when Nora was placed before a firing squad, a bright light blinded the shooters sufficiently to miss her, but when her friend went before a firing squad, there was no bright light and she was killed. Nora Lam was subsequently released from prison.
After the war, Corrie Ten Boom started orphanages to house some of the many European children who were orphaned as a result of World War II. She also began an effective speaking tour that lasted for many decades. Nora Lam put on crusades that led many to Christ. It’s extremely interesting that all four women were miraculously released from prison. Two walked out of the door into ministry and two left this earth. The latter two women were better off because they left the prison of this world, moving directly and permanently into the safe “dwelling places” that Jesus through Scripture promises each one who places his or her faith in the Lord (John 14:2).
He has a place that is prepared for you and me, and it is not in the temporary apartment-like abode called our “bodies” that we live in at this time, but instead it is a place of remarkable safety, beauty and love, where we will literally SEE that we are surrounded by “songs of deliverance.” The Lord is indeed our “hiding place” who has preserved us from trouble, far more often than we have ever imagined. And His viewpoint of what “safety” is all about is very different than ours.
There is a very interesting Scripture that I have been pondering for awhile. It’s Isaiah 57:1-2, where the Lord says through His prophet, “The righteous perishes, and no man takes it to heart, merciful men are taken away, while no one considers that the righteous is taken away from evil. He shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” We mourn those who have gone before us, and we should ponder each one, out of respect, out of love, and if nothing else, out of what was and what might have been. But note: They’ve been rescued!
I listened carefully to the accounts of Corrie Ten Boom and Nora Lam. The books written by Corrie are fascinating and these ladies have encouraged many to trust the Lord. But it was Corrie’s sister and Nora’s friend who seemed to be the “spiritual” ones. By comparison, Corrie and Nora seemed unsure, incapable of fully dealing with their prison situations. And again, it is so interesting that the Lord chose the ones who seemed weaker to remain on this earth and establish His work through them. The Lord has His own way of doing things, and if we trust Him, we will be led by Him.
As we age, certain problems begin to emerge. One of mine is a tendency toward an excessively rapid heartbeat that the doctors call “atrial fibrillation.” My mother experienced it and so do others in the family. It shows up in me as shortness of breath, dizziness, and related problems. The solution of the doctors was to insert a “stent” into an artery near my heart and give me certain medications, including one called “Metropol,” which slows the heartbeat.
Two things occur to me about that medication: First, it helps me to feel better and second, I oddly enough don’t particularly care why it does what it does; it simply works. I don’t know what’s in it, what it’s made from, who manufactures it or why it happens. It’s definitely needed and so I faithfully take one of those pills in the morning and one in the evening. I’m not as dizzy as I used to be, though some might argue with me on that point, and for the most part, my heart now works like it’s supposed to. I have come to have faith in the doctor and in the pills he prescribes.
I do not know why Nora and Corrie continued in this life while their companions went to be with the Lord. They just did. I don’t know why my medications work like they do; they just do. And for that matter, I don’t think any of us comprehend fully why Jesus had to die in the way that He did. He just did it and we are blessed. His death changes everything for the good for you and me.
In the Old Testament Temple, countless animals died so that the guilty in humanity could have freedom from guilt. Those who went to the Temple and benefitted from those sacrifices were declared to be clean and they were because God said so. And it was all a parable of the future when Jesus would die for our sins as a sacrifice acceptable to God. He died for sins of the present, sins in the past, and sins yet future. He died for the sins of the world. And how are we to fully understand what He did? Then and now we can be restored by merely accepting the Medicine that God the Great Physician has prescribed for us, trusting that we are forgiven, and so we are.
And He leads us – right now. As David the shepherd boy, musician and king amazingly understood thousands of years ago, God the Holy Spirit is saying to you right this minute: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:7-8). It’s good that He will “guide you with (His) eye” because all of us are blind, spiritually blind. The places where we are located, or any other places you and I might go, are full of His heavenly angels and we typically don’t see them. God is definitely here, but we don’t see Him either. We are blind but He can see.
He helps in a variety of ways, too numerous for us to even understand, but here’s how He has helped in my life and in the lives of others I have known: The Bible brought me to Christ, Who gave me His Spirit, Who helps me to understand the Bible, which helps me know more about Christ, and in Him, I receive even more of His Spirit… He does this in a never-ending circle of His love.
By reading the Book of John, Chapters 14-17, you can catch a glimpse of how God the Holy Spirit led David, led the Lord’s apostles, and how He will lead you and me: “…He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:17). “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that (Jesus) said to you” (14:26). “The Helper… from the Father, the Spirit of truth… will testify of (Jesus)” (15:26). “He will guide you into all truth… and tell you things to come” (16:13). There’s more, but God’s intended relationship with us is far deeper and more personal than we ever thought. When Scripture says in our verse for today, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye,” it’s utterly, deeply the truth for you and for me. And He is indeed our “Hiding Place” – we are safe in Him as we are being led by Almighty God.
Father, I am incomplete without You, and so I place my faith, my trust in the Lord, the Son of God. Fill me with Your Spirit and help me to understand Your Word. In Jesus Name. Amen.