Hebrew Highlights 115 – Hiding Place
Let’s look at a short little Hebrew word, “seter”, or “hiding place”.
I’m going to mention three scriptures using this word one at a time, out of context. Why not? Everyone else does it. But don’t worry. I’ll put them back into context, and our small Hebrew word will became a rather large idea.
PSA 32:7 Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah.
A number of songs have been written using this verse, some of them containing the context. Let’s read it again, adding the verses before and after.
PSA 32:6-8, “Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to Thee in a time when Thou mayest be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they shall not reach him. Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble; Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
For now, let’s just notice two things. First of all, the hiding and preserving from trouble come after seeking God. Secondly, in that hiding place, God teaches us.
Now let’s read PSA 81:7, "You called in trouble, and I rescued you; I answered you in the hiding place of thunder; I proved you at the waters of Meribah. Selah.
Again, this passage starts with seeking, or in the words here, “calling” on God. Lets read verses 8-14, "Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me! "Let there be no strange god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god. "I, the Lord, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. "But My people did not listen to My voice; And Israel did not obey Me. "So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, To walk in their own devices. "Oh that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways! "I would quickly subdue their enemies, And turn My hand against their adversaries.”
Here, after being rescued by God, we are strongly admonished to obey His voice and walk in His ways. We can easily read into this passage both the Father’s reminder of His willingness to save us in time of trouble, and His frustration at our stubborn return to our old ways.
As an earthly father, I can understand this. Sometimes my children get into some kind of trouble. They get wounded, either in the flesh, or in the spirit, and come crying to me for help and soothing. I hold them in my arms, and nurse their wounds, gently teaching them about the error which landed them in their hurtful situation. I can’t count the number of times when they go out the next day and make the same mistake, coming back again with a scratch on the same knee, or a pain in the same room of their heart. Sometimes I make a painful decision to leave them to their own devices, until they learn the lesson the hard way. As with the children of Israel, my own kids eventually return to my arms, admitting that I was right after all. Mission accomplished.
PSA 119:114, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Thy word.” Again, we see the correlation between the safe place, protection, and the teaching, or God’s word.
Let’s read it again, and add the next two verses. PSA 119:114-117, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Thy word. Depart from me, evildoers, That I may observe the commandments of my God. Sustain me according to Thy word, that I may live; And do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Uphold me that I may be safe, That I may have regard for Thy statutes continually.”
Again, the phrase, “That I may have regard for Thy statutes continually,’ speaks of continuing obedience.”
Who are we hiding from in the first place? Well, all three of these passages make it clear that we usually run to God to hide from our enemies. These could be various oppressors, our own sins, or the devil himself.
There is of course a basic principal in the Bible that part of Yeshua’s work of salvation in our lives is to cover us from sin. And it is true that when we make a mistake, our Heavenly Father is ready to protect us from condemnation while we lick our wounds.
However, we have to be careful not to take God’s grace for granted by continually sneaking out from under the covers, running out to indulge our flesh, and then crawling back to God.
He has provided us a hiding place in order for us to have a haven in which to learn obedience to His Word. We need not make the same mistakes over and over again. If we persist in doing this, God will let us fall, or be burnt, or be injured in our hearts, until we get the point.
I have a suggestion to help us learn about God’s hiding place. Next time we come home in stormy and rainy weather, let’s get on some dry clothes, make a warm drink, snuggle up under a blanket in a cozy chair, and read our bibles.
The Father will be more than happy to wrap us in His arms and teach us something.
Maybe the next time, we’ll stay in our hiding place, instead of going out and standing in the rain and thunder, daring the lightening to hit us.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem