When things get rough, often a person wants to escape from troubles. Many attempt to hide by using drugs and alcohol, but this only manages to amplify the problems, making things worse. A person who is shy or who has a low self-worth may become a clown so that others will not see his or her lack of confidence. A young person who feels alone will sometimes become promiscuous to hide the feeling of being unloved. Most of us wear masks of some kind in order to hide our feelings so others will not know how we really feel about certain things.
As a shepherd boy, as a hunted refugee, and as a ruler, David of the Old Testament learned that when he felt the need to hide, he would run to the One who knows all things and has all power. He learned to run straight to the arms of a loving Heavenly Father, the creator of all things. He had experienced the unconditional love of God early in his life, and realized that there is no place to hide except in God when he was overwhelmed by troubles.
He learned the value of running to God instead of running away from God. He knew that God had provided a shelter in his love which provided a hiding place where nothing could get to him. In Psalms 27:5, David states, “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock.” And again in Psalms 17:8, he implores God to “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings.”
As a shepherd, David had relied on the love and the power of his God to help him do his job of protecting the sheep. Through the power of the Most High he had killed a lion and a bear. He recalled this as he faced the giant Goliath in the battle with the Philistines, and with God’s help, he slew the giant in a great victory for Israel. Refusing to hide under the great armor of King Saul, he instead covered himself with his trust in the ability of God. Even with his sling, David acknowledged that it was God that helped him win the victory over his enemies. He later trusted in the power and love of God when he was attacked and pursued by a jealous crazed King Saul who wanted to take his life. (1 Samuel)
Time after time, David put his confidence in God as he ruled God’s chosen nation as King. In a time of weakness, King David sinned a great sin, and once again, ran to the arms of a loving, forgiving God. In Psalms 51:9-11 he pleads to God, “Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.” In a similar situation, a modern day person might very well run to a world’s system of counseling at best, or drugs and alcohol, or suicide at worst. In fact, some would just hide their heads in the sand and continue sinning, refusing to believe that they will eventually suffer the consequences of their sin. Consequences will surely come, and a person will eventually find that it would have been much better to have run to the sheltering arms of a loving Father and receive forgiveness.
David knew that he was better off facing the present judgment of God and find forgiveness than the future anger of God and be judged for his sin. The consequences of his sin would be much easier to bear when he walked in the love and forgiveness of his God. He acclaimed his confidence in God time after time in the most loved book of the Bible as he worshipped his God. Sometimes David called upon God to send judgment upon his enemies, but in the end, he declared the magnitude of the love of God and His power on behalf of those who put their trust in Him. At other times, he writes of overwhelming feelings of abandonment, as he implores God for help.
While he may have suffered feelings of injustice, times of loneliness and downright anger, David states emphatically that it is in the Lord he always found his help and in the Lord he longed to be hidden. The words of Psalm 143:9, “I flee unto thee to hide me” are translated “hide me with thee” in the Hebrew language. Repeatedly, David uses such phrases as strong tower, a shield, a refuge, my fortress, my deliverer, my strength, my buckler, and my high tower to describe his relationship with God.
David also recognized the value of the commandments and the word of God, realizing that God and his word work together as one. Therefore, to hide the word of God in one’s heart, David knew, is to be hidden together with God. He continually covered himself with the word, declaring, praying, and believing it, careful lest he slip or a presumptuous sin cause him to be exposed to the curse of sin.
So how does one run to a God who is a spirit and cannot be physically touched? The Psalmist explains it in 91:1-2: “Happy is he whose resting-place is in the secret of the Lord, and under the shade of the wings of the Most High; who says of the Lord, He is my safe place and my tower of strength: he is my God, in whom is my hope.” Then what is the secret place? Again we learn from the Psalmist: “The secret of the Lord is with them who fear him, and he will show them his covenant.” In the story of David, it is obvious that he had a great reverential fear of the Lord. He says that the one who will abide in the tabernacle of the Lord is the one who “walks upright, works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart.”
No wonder David was considered “a man after God’s own heart”! (Acts 13:22). He truly relied on God in every aspect of his life. What trust and what knowledge of the ways of God! As we, like David, learn to run and hide in the presence of an Almighty God, we too can be a man or woman after God’s own heart. And we can rest assured that in God we can always find a hiding place.