One feels very exposed as one hikes through the desert. The lack of water, the absence of shelter, the merciless sun, and the long vistas in every direction make one feel small and vulnerable. An eagle’s eye might see you coming from 25 miles away.
What does God see when he looks at me? Can he see everything about me? Does he look at all my actions? Can he see what I do in secret? Does he know my motivation for everything?
We say a prayer for purity every week that goes like this, “Almighty God unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts…” There is in reality nowhere to hide from God’s sight. King David acknowledges God’s ability to discover his heart in Psalm 32. In a moment of great transparency, he admits to God:
…When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
This shepherd in the desert turned King of Israel knew about heat and exposure. He also knew that God wants us to be honest about our failings and deal with him about them.
and I did not cover my iniquity…
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.
It’s not our place to hide our sins from God. It is not possible, of course; it is also not how forgiveness works. We are forgiven only as He forgives us. Honesty and humility about our sins is necessary.
Halfway down the trail, just past “Skeleton Point,” we found a hueco, or hollow, in the rock big enough for my whole family to hide inside in case of bad weather. The kids climbed up into it and saw that at its top there was another even more hidden cave.
Wind, rain, hail, flood, and searing sun could not touch us in there. Maybe David found similar places for himself and his flock at times of bad weather. We know he hid in caves as he was hunted by Saul and his armies. He often calls God his “rock” or “crag”–a place of security and safety.
If we can’t hide from God, maybe God can hide us from the consequences of our sin. David started the psalm like this:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
How are sins covered? If I can’t hide them and if God sees them, what will cover them?
God covers us with himself. David goes on to say,
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
I learned to pray from my mother when I was five years old as a tornado roared down our street towards us. We huddled in the basement darkness with my three year old brother and said the “Our Father.” And our Father protected us. The tornado turned and went off in another direction.
let everyone who is godly
offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;
surely in the rush of great waters,
they shall not reach him.
You are a hiding place for me
Great rivers of water carved out the canyons of the west. Floods as of Noah’s time split the rocks and scoured the dirt away. –no other explanation exists except, as the insurance adjusters say, “an act of God” did it. How will I be saved from the flood of his righteous judgment?
I hide in Jesus.
Almighty Lord and Father, there is nothing hidden from you. I stand uncovered before you. My faults are as apparent to you as a solitary stone in the desert. You see my sins; wash me and cleanse me from them. Let me hide in Jesus. Let his righteousness so cover me that on the day of judgment I will be safe. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.