How long, LORD? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire? (
Children play, “Hide and Seek.” It is a lot of fun for kids. When God hides, however, it is not a game! The seriousness of this is seen in
Psalm 89. How can such a thing happen? Could this be what you are experiencing? Is your church going through this? What can be done? We look into this psalm for answers.
The first lesson for us is this: GOD’S PEOPLE ARE MEANT TO BE IN FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM (v.1-29). God is not hidden in this stanza of the Psalm. “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance.” (v.15) One of our old hymns echoes this, “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way.” We have the sunshine of God’s smile beaming upon us for there is a sky unclouded by sin above us—nothing between the soul and the Savior. This was the experience of Ethan the Ezrahite, whose contemplations are documented here. We do not know about him, except that he was grateful for the Lord’s mercies. He is inspired to sing, and says this will be his eternal theme. He rejoices in the faithfulness of God—the word, “forever,” is used eight times, and the word, “faithful,” seven times. Should there be a breach in the fellowship between God and His people, it is not that God has been unfaithful—He cannot be!
The second lesson reminds us: GOD’S LOVING AND HOLY NATURE WILL LEAD HIM TO CORRECT OUR DISOBEDIENCE (v.30-45). His love will not let us go! Since sin is the most destructive thing we can know, our Heavenly Father will apply the rod of chastisement to bring us back into alignment with His will—which is the most delightful place we can be. There are two forms of child abuse. One is cruel and hateful, where children are damaged. The other is more subtle and that is where children are uncorrected and no discipline is administered. They never learn the consequences of wrong choices, as rebellion lodges in their heart. God will be guilty of neither. When He corrects us with the rod, we may be sure it is for our good (read
The third lesson reveals: GOD’S CORRECTION MAY COME AS HE HIDES HIMSELF (v.46-52). We may get to the place where we presume upon the grace of God and take His mercies for granted. It is possible to be wrapped up in the world, where we no longer have a hunger for His Word and a longing for God’s presence in prayer. Corporate worship becomes a boredom to avoid. Little by little, we move away from fellowship with God until He says, “Fine. If that’s what you want, I will let you see what life will be like without Me.” Then, God hides—the hand of blessing is withdrawn and the warmth of His love unfelt. This is intended to bring us to despair—to drive us to our knees and back to God. Ethan presses through the painful emotion and casts himself upon the promises of God. He blesses the Lord as he remembers the Lord’s faithfulness and longs for the past manifestation of God’s presence He once knew. If we seek God like this, we will find Him. God’s arms will welcome us as the father did the prodigal son who returned home.