We have seen the unremitting vigilance of the enemy pursuing the man of God in his secret retirement with painful distraction. See how he runs to his hiding-place. Here is our main principle of safety—not our strivings or our watchfulness, but our faith. Flee instantly to Jesus. He is the sinner's hiding-place, "the man,"—that wondrous man, "in whom dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." Yes, Jesus exposed Himself to the fury of "the tempest," that He might become a hiding-place, for us. The broken law pursued with its relentless curse—'The sinner ought to die'—But You are my hiding-place, who has "redeemed me from the curse of the law, being made a curse for me." "The fiery darts" pour in on every side: but the recollection of past security awakens my song of acknowledgment, "You have been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of 'the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall." Our hiding-place covers us from the power of the world. "In Me"—says our Savior, "you shall have peace. Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world." Helpless to resist the great enemy, our Lord brings us to His wounded side, and hides us there. We "overcome him by the blood of the Lamb." To all accusations from every quarter, our challenge is ready, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" From the fear of death, our hiding-place still covers us. "Jesus through death has destroyed him that had the power of death." Against the sting of this last enemy, a song of thanksgiving is put into our mouth, "O death! where is your sting? O grave! where is your victory? Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Thus is "the smoking flax," which the malice of Satan strives to extinguish, not "quenched;" nor is "the bruised reed," which seems beyond the hope of restoration, "broken."
But the completeness of our security is graphically portrayed—You are my hiding-place, to cover from danger—my shield, also to protect me in it. Either I shall be kept from trouble, that it shall not come; or in trouble, that it shall not hurt me. The hiding-place alone would be imperfect security, as being limited to one place. But my shield is moveable, wherever be the point of danger or assault. I can "quench the dart" that is aimed at my soul.
But a hiding-place implies also secrecy. And truly the believer's is "a hidden life," beyond the comprehension of the world. He mixes with them in the common communion of life. But while seen of man, he is dwelling "in the secret of the Lord's tabernacle," safe in the midst of surrounding danger, guarded by invincible strength. Often, indeed, must the world be surprised at his constancy, amid all their varied efforts to shake his steadfastness. They know not "the secret of the Lord, which is with them that fear Him." And never could he have had a just conception of the all-sufficiency of his God, until he finds it above him, around him, underneath him, in all the fullness of everlasting love—his hiding-place, and his shield. Thus in the heart of the enemy's country "he dwells on high, and his place of defense is the munitions of rocks."
But are we acquainted with this hiding-place? How have we discovered it? Are we found in it, and careful to abide in it? Within its walls "that wicked one touches us not." Yet never shall we venture outside the walls unprotected, but his assault will give us some painful remembrance of our unwatchfulness. And then do we prize our shield, and run behind it for constant security. Remember, every other hiding-place "the waters will overflow." Every other shield is a powerless defense. Surely then the word which has discovered this security to us, is a firm warrant for our hope. And, therefore, every sinner, enclosed in the covert of love, will be ready to declare—I hope in Your word.
"You are my hiding place and my shield." God was his shelter and shield. To his God he ran for refuge from vain thoughts; there he hid himself away from their tormenting intrusion, and in solemn silence of the soul he found God to be his place of sanctuary. When moving about the world, if he could not be alone with God as in a hiding-place, the man of God could have the Lord with him as his shield, and by this means he could ward off the poisoned arrows of evil suggestion. This is an experimental verse, and it testifies to that which the writer knew of his own personal knowledge: he could not fight with his own thoughts, nor escape from them, until he flew to his God, and then he found deliverance. Observe that he does not speak of God's word as being his double defense, but he ascribes his safeguard to God himself: "You are my hiding place and my shield." When we are beset by subtle spiritual assaults, such as those which arise out of vain thoughts, we shall do well to fly direct to the real presence of our Lord, and cast ourselves upon his power and love. The true God truly realized is the death of falsehood. Happy is he who can truly say to the triune God, "You are my hiding place"! He has beheld God under that glorious covenant aspect which ensures to the beholder the strongest consolation.
"I hope in your word." As well he might, since he had tried and proved it. That which has been true in the past may be trusted for the future. The Psalmist looked for protection from all danger, and preservation from all temptation, to the Lord who had been the tower of his defense on former occasions. It is easy to exercise hope where we have experienced help. Sometimes, when gloomy thoughts afflict us, the only thing we can do is to hope; and, happily, the word of God always sets before us objects of hope, reasons for hope, and invitations to hope, in such abundance that it becomes the very sphere and support of hope, and thus timorous and tempting thoughts are overcome. Amid fret and worry a hope of Heaven is an effectual quietus.