In the first blog about secrecy, “God Likes Secret Places! He Has One Preserved and Reserved For You!” we explored our need to dwell and abide in God’s secret place because it keeps us safe, secure, and protected from our enemies! As I continue to ponder secrecy with God, He makes it clear I often allow circumstances to move me out of resting in His secret place where His secure arms hold me close. In fact, when I allow my mind to be consumed with things other than God, my joy and peace is gone. However, beating myself up or having a failure mindset doesn’t help me get back to the secret place nor do I have to wait for something momentous to happen before returning to Him. Instead, I can acknowledge I have walked away, confess, repent, and receive His forgiveness. Then I am transformed and renewed, enjoying His secret place where I once again glory in His presence. I have discovered some more things about the secret place with God, and even though we shouldn’t need any other enticements, God chooses to further fascinate and lure us to Him in secret.
God stores up and prepares His goodness for those who fear Him in the secret place. Psalm 31:19-20 “How great is Your goodness which you have laid up for those who fear You, which you have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men. You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” I don’t know about you but that makes me want to get to the secret place of His presence now and stay put because not only is He there but He has stored His goodness there and I always need a good soaking of goodness!
We cannot even begin to fathom or fully grasp the extent of God’s goodness but we should try because He is the only One who is truly good! This goodness speaks of His kindness, the goodness of intelligence, and good understanding. Bottom line: His goodness is a sharing of Himself and His character with His children! The pre-requisite for receiving His goodness is to fear and trust God as we stand in awe of Him! The Bible is jam-packed with promises from God if we believe, and every one of those promises is wrapped tightly in His goodness.
Think about anything in life we are interested in: sports, job positions, career, friendships, or family. When we are interested in playing a sport or watching an event, getting a new job, discovering career choices, making and/or developing friendships, starting a family or adding to it, we think about it a lot and make plans to get what we want. It the same way if we are truly interested in God and His goodness we will think about Him and His secret place a lot, and make plans to be there and receive!
Along with His goodness Psalm 31 tells us we are hidden in the secret place with His goodness. There are two specific dangers He hides us from; those arising from the plots of men and the other from the strife of tongues. People full of pride spend their lives devising plots against others to benefit or elevate their own interests. They fully intend to insult and ruin other people and make no apologies for doing so. The strife of tongues refers to contentious people stirring up animosity and trouble, spreading rumors and slander with no thought to the long-term damage they are doing to others. God’s people are often the recipients of plotting and wagging tongues because Satan seeks to discredit truth with his lies, using people to spread his poison. If we do not dwell in the secret with God who protects us from these lies and strife, we will fully engage with “people” instead of letting God hide us.
By living in the secret place we trust God to keep us safe from the effects of this malice from our enemies. Many Christians live in fear and disappointment because of what people think and say about them or they feel betrayed and hurt when people spread lies and rumors about them. Yet we are not to fear man, but live in holy fear of God who sets us apart in the secret place when we come to Him. You see – God doesn’t stop the strife or plotting of evil men! Instead He cares for those who fear Him, who put their trust in Him, and who dwell in the secret place. It is in the secret place where we are protected and sheltered from the judgments of mankind. There will surely come that day when the Lord will judge and those who fear and trust Him will be hidden. But in the meantime let’s get comfortable and feel right at home in the secret place with God!
Fearing and trusting God, standing in complete awe and surrender of Him is central to our faith. Living in the secret place not only gives access to His goodness, but to His secret and counsel. Psalm 25:14 “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him and He will make them know His covenant.” Proverbs 3:32 “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord but His secret counsel is with the upright.” “The secret of the Lord” refers to intimacy and counsel with and from God! When we desire the secret, we will go to the secret place with God where He reveals it’s fullness to us! God only shares His counsel and is only intimate with those who fear Him, meaning those who highly respect and yes, are even afraid of Him, in the sense of knowing His power. This fear makes us willingly obey and live uprightly knowing He sees (next blog)! God will make known His goodness, His secret, and His secret counsel to those who surrender to Him and live in Him, in the secret place! The question needs to be asked – How desirous are we to live in the intimacy and counsel of God in His secret place?
To initiate or multiply our desire, we have only to look at David’s desire to be in the presence of God! He declared he would rather stand at the threshold of His presence for one day than be anywhere else in the entire world for a thousand days. Being a doorkeeper was not a well-respected position, in fact, it was thought to be nothing. Yet for David it was worth everything if it meant being in God’s presence! It was better to stand there and be “nothing” than be “something” anywhere else in the world. Now THAT is the way to live! A day in His courts, dwelling in the secret place with God is no small thing!
Psalm 84:10-12 “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand (outside). I would rather be a doorkeeper (stand at the threshold) in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!”
Can you see the secret place? It is filled with light and protection! The Lord God is a sun and shield. God does not just shine His light on us but He IS a sun. God does not just shield us but He IS a shield! These are powerful promises; He IS our light and protection! Where He is – there is light! Where He is – there is protection! Outside of His presence is darkness and danger. It is no wonder we find ourselves lost and afraid much of the time with no sense of direction because we stand outside keeping us exposed and vulnerable to the problems and conditions of this world. More promises! The Lord will give grace and glory. When He gives grace He is showing His goodwill to us and His good work in us! When He gives His glory He is revealing the honor He put on us through adoption as His children and what He has prepared for us both on earth and in heaven. God’s “more than sufficient” grace literally prepares us for the glory we will experience in heaven face to face! More promises! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. It would be a real bummer if His goodness was stored up but then withheld from us wouldn’t it? His secret counsel, His good things are given to the upright in heart! It is IN our character as followers of Christ to be righteous and to worship Him in spirit and in truth. We simply need to know our character and place our trust and confidence in God alone!
What greater privilege can we experience than to live in the presence of God? There is none! But still I am aware even though I prefer the Lord over all else, I put Him off, focus on all that is wrong in my life, fill my own needs and wants, and keep busy with my own choices instead of going to the secret place and dwelling with Him! This must change in my life – how about yours? Wouldn’t it be sad to have only one day in the doorway of God’s house? Most of us would miss our one day because of preoccupation with this life! Yet, God promises not to leave us at the threshold of His presence but He gives every minute of every day in His presence if we so choose.
And to help us out, God places each of us in a body of believers where we can go and dwell with Him through worship in spirit and in truth. Unfortunately we often treat our bible studies and worship experiences as optional or just another thing to do. Most people today have a hard time focusing for one hour in worship or prayer much less a whole day. We will pay ridiculous amounts of money at movie theatres, eating popcorn and drinking soda pop for two and half hours straight without a break but we cannot make it through one and half hours of worship and the preaching of the Word without a coffee or bathroom break! People are checking watches, thinking of what they have to “get to” after worship, critiquing the music selection, praise team, or pastor’s message, instead of fully engaging in worship. I actually heard someone say they were going to Wednesday night bible study after a long day of work and hoped it didn’t go late because they wanted to get home in time to watch “Idol”. Can we hear the “idolizing” in that statement? People consider their “options” when the church doors are open, coming in if there isn’t something “better” for them to do. What has happened to our desire to spend even one day in the courts of God?
The truth is we disengage from worship quickly and easily, filling our flesh and not our spirit. We use God only when everything else falls apart. But friends, our lives can change by going to the secret place where we encounter our holy God. Maybe the problem is we don’t understand what it means to meet in the secret with God and share intimacy. We do not realize how “real” the secret place is and how tangible God is! We can see, feel, taste, and touch Him spiritually in the secret place but it takes time and commitment just as in any other intimate relationship. God is not interested in His people singing a few songs (or watching others sing , listening to a quick word from a pastor, giving a few hugs, and then watching them get on with their lives. He really wants to interact with His people through worship, the Word, and prayer. He longs for us to tarry long at the altar waiting on Him! When we come to worship our living God we should come with no agenda other than to follow and wait on God! Leaders are placed in churches to follow their Leader, Jesus, and bring people into His presence. Followers are to seek His face and hear His voice. Instead, there seems to be more of a spectator mentality in the church where we come together to get “something” not find “Someone”. That would NOT be the secret place!
Of course we want to experience joy and peace when we go to Church, but if that is our goal and purpose for going to the house of God, we settle for manmade expressions of joy and peace that are temporary and conditional. Instead, we should go to Church with a desire to meet God in His secret place with others in the body, and then we experience true joy and peace because we meet the Prince of Peace and Joy Himself! This in turn will draw others into Him instead of us drawing people into another ritual or temporary dwelling place in our churches.
The goodness of God is being experienced in the lives of God’s people in such small measure in comparison to what is available to us! If what we presently witness in the body of Christ is indeed His goodness, is it any wonder the world doesn’t know Him? The world offers self-help, band-aids, and support groups and the Church offers about the same! Yet we serve a God who says HE is our ever-present help in times of trouble not self; He shed His blood and died so that we would be completely healed, not cover over our wounds with band-aids; He doesn’t want our troubles and problems supported He wants to BE our support; And He overcame so that we would overcome! Shouldn’t we stop scurrying everywhere and mixing the world’s remedies with those of God’s and instead spend our time in His secret place? Since faith, hope, and love are the three things that remain with the greatest of them being love, shouldn’t finding love in the secret place with God be our sole purpose in life?
One Thing I desire – The Secret Place with our Living God!