Monday, January 11, 2016

About That Secret Place....

© Copyright Marion Phillips and licensed for reuse 
under the Creative Commons License
We've been discussing the ins and outs of Micah 6:8 (NKJV), "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?".  More specifically, putting that into action.  Or not.  And it's based on having a relationship with God and trusting Him.

Some have all that down pat.  Others aren't even close to either.  Most are somewhere in between.  Unless we're in that first group, we could use an assist in that.  And who better to do that than God Himself?  We've said before that God doesn't make it difficult to get close to Him.  He gave us a whole Bible to learn from.  But, today, let's look at one specific part.  And look at hiding out with God, in plain sight.

Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)  He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."

That secret place is with God.  Protected by the closeness of His presence ("the shadow of the Almighty").  When we're connected to Him, God is our source of protection, the one who we can trust.  And the reason it's a secret place is described in the second epistle to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 3:14 (NKJV)  But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.

Without Christ, the secret place is hidden, even though it's not really hidden.  It's not a place where we're removed from society like in that cave in our illustration.  We are in plain sight, but there's a part of us that's unreachable except by others who have a relationship with Christ.  And, of course, there's more.

Psalm 91:3-4 (NKJV)  Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.  He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

When we're snared by sin, God can deliver us.  Indeed, if we've accepted Christ's gift of salvation, we're already delivered.  That doesn't mean we avoid all immediate consequences for our thoughts and actions, but we don't have to live in the sin or the consequences.  That "perilous pestilence" is a long term variation -- a plague of wickedness.  We're delivered from that, too. We're covered and can take refuge in God's protection.  And, besides that, God arms us with His truth.  That acts as both a shield from the fiery darts of the enemy and as a sword for us to fight back with the strength and power He's given us.

Psalm 91:5-8 (NKJV)  You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.  Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.

The Bible tells us not to fear, with enough references to cover every day of the year.  Here, God tells us that the deliverance by salvation also removes fear of spiritual destruction.  And we may see thousands fall, but we're protected if we are God's people.

Psalm 91:9-13 (NKJV)  Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.  In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.  You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

Because we are His, not only do we have truth as our armor, but we have His angels protecting us, as well.  And those that would tear you down are trampled underfoot.  And remember we said earlier that it's the closeness of God's presence that allows all this?  Look at verse 9!  As saved believers, we are so close that it tells us He is our secret place!  We are in Him!  So, through all our turmoils, He does the heavy lifting.

Psalm 91:14-16 (NKJV)  "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.  He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation."

The Psalmist quotes God.  And God basically promises everything we've discussed.  And then some.  Then, we get to the ending!  Every English translation says "My salvation".  But the Hebrew is so much more!  The Hebrew word is Yeshua.  In the Old Testament, it's the name Joshua.  In the New Testament, Yeshua is translated Jesus!  In both cases, saviors of God's people.  Are you getting excited, yet?  God not only promises what He'll do, but also the part of Him that does it!  Jesus didn't just go through 33 years of earthly events, rise to validate them, then go back to heaven to watch the goings on.  This tells us that, if we let Him, Jesus will be active in our lives.  Today!  This very moment!

Which brings us back to Micah 6:8, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?".  Think about What Jesus went through.  He grew up learning carpentry, taking on that trade till it was time to minister full time.  He didn't complain about His meager circumstances, nor did He sit around waiting for the government to supply a handout.  Then as an adult, He was mocked for His spirituality.  "A friend of sinners".  From there, it got worse, as we know from the Bible authors' descriptions of Jesus' life, death, and burial.  Far worse than most of us will ever experience, no matter what we complain about.  

He did it with only one complaint.  At prayer, in the garden at Gethsemane, Jesus in His humanity was unsure He could handle the demonic onslaught trying to keep Him from getting to the Cross to take on our sins.  And He wanted to fulfill the Father's plan for salvation.  He prayed in Mark 14:36, "And He said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.'"  Jesus wasn't looking to get out of the Cross, but rather to lessen what He feared His humanity might not handle it to get Him there.  Remember, the torment was great enough for Him as a man to sweat blood, a potentially lethal condition that could kill Him before He got to the Cross.

What Jesus experienced in life all led to our salvation at His expense.  When we take specific instances in Jesus life and try to tell ourselves or others that is what we should be like, we're shortchanging everyone.  Those moments are good, but we need to keep them in the context of who He was overall.  

Jesus was the living example of walking humbly.  He loved mercy enough to sacrifice Himself for us.  And God's justice has one result that's mediated by Christ going to the Cross.  Being Christ-like involves more than healing the infirm and feeding thousands.  It seems we are to become far more sacrificial in our own lives.  Attacking the views of others becomes limited to the views, not the people.  Mutual discussion to reach agreement trumps finger pointing.  The importance of seeking solutions overarcs placing blame.  Are we ready to "do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God"?


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As you read this, I'm somewhere between home and San Jose, Costa Rica.  I have someone watching the house while I'm gone.  Please pray for traveling mercies, health, divine appointments, hearing from God whether this is to become a more permanent move, as part of the team planting and growing our church in San Jose.  Will San Jose become part of my secret place?

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