Isaiah 29:15 NIV
Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?”
Isaiah 47:10 ESV
You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me”
Job 31:33 ESV
if I have concealed my transgressions as others do by hiding my iniquity in my heart
Psalm 10:8 ESV
He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
Mark 4:22 ESV
For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light.
Luke 12:2 ESV
Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Hebrews 4:13 ESV
And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Quick quiz: Who is the most famous fugitive in the Bible?
Jonah is famous for being the prophet who ran from God, but ran into God in the depths of the ocean! He discovered there are no hiding places from God.
Think of the hideouts and hideaways Jonah used to hide from God:
• Geography. Jonah thought he could hide from God in a foreign land.
• Religious prejudice. Jonah thought the pagan Assyrians didn’t deserve God’s compassion.
• Self-pity. Jonah thought God was being unreasonable, so he retreated into feeling sorry for himself.
• Stubbornness. Jonah thought he could just say “No” to God.
See how easy it is to try to hide from God? Of course, hiding from Him is impossible, but sometimes building hideouts and hideaways is something we do anyway. Then God comes knocking, just as He did with Jonah, to ask us why we’re hiding from Him.
We don’t usually hear of people quitting their jobs and moving to a foreign country to hide from God as Jonah tried to do. But that doesn’t mean we don’t try to build modern kinds of hideouts and hideaways. Think about the following examples—have you built any of these in your life?
• Work/Career/Advancement. Sometimes we know God wants us to do something for Him but we hide out in our jobs or careers. And when He comes looking for us we say, “But Lord, I’m working to be able to provide for my family . . . oh, yes, and to be able to give more to Your work.” Or, “But, Lord, you gave me talents. Don’t You want me to use them?” Or, “But, Lord, I just need the next five to ten years to get established in my career. Then I can start cutting back on work.” Working hard is commendable. But since all our work is for the Lord (Colossians 3:23), He may have a different assignment for us in His kingdom. Just like Jonah, we have to be prepared to do what He wants, not what we want.
• Family. This is a subtle one because everybody knows that family is important to God. We don’t know if Jonah had a wife and children, but what if he had said to God, “Sorry, Lord. I can’t go preach to the Assyrians because I have to be at my son’s soccer game, go to my daughter’s recital, help my wife with her community project, and take the family on our annual summer vacation.” Can you imagine? Yes, you probably can. Who hasn’t allowed family to become the top priority in life and used the Bible to justify it? We are in complete control of our family’s schedules, and if family leaves little time for God . . . whose fault is that? It’s a sad day when we’re so consumed with family that we can’t hear the Lord knocking on our own door (Revelation 3:20).
• Leisure. Here’s another hideout that’s easy to build; another one that’s easy to justify “in the name of the Lord.” “The Lord doesn’t want us to be so stressed out,” we say. “It’s important to carve out time for recreation and entertainment.” Well, yes it is. The problem is, we live in a society for which entertainment is a way of life—the end itself instead of a means to an end. Jesus and His disciples drew away from the crowds on occasion, but that was so they could be refreshed for further ministry. Hiding from God in leisure is a sign we have let the world distract us from the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).
• Ministry. This is the most camouflaged hideout of them all. What better way to avoid doing something the Lord has called us to do than by doing something He hasn’t called us to do! “But, Lord, can’t You see that I’m up to my neck in six-year-old boys in my Sunday school class? I couldn’t possibly take the Gospel to the homeless in the inner city.” When we hide from the Lord in ministry, we are missing our most important ministry: to the Lord (Luke 10:41).
Are you running from the Lord and hiding out in any of these places—or other places only you (and the Lord) know about? Don’t forget: There are no hideouts or hideaways God does not know about. You will eventually come face-to-face with Him at a time and in a place you least expect.
Be a follower, not a fugitive. Run to the Lord, not away from the Lord. Hide in the Lord, not from the Lord. When the Lord sees you next, may He see your face, not your back.
Dr. David Jeremiah, "Hideouts and Hideaways - Where We Hide Out from God", http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/turning-point/read/articles/hideouts-and-hideaways--where-we-hide-out-from-god-14895.html
I once had a sweet picture of my grandchildren dressed in costumes as my screen saver. Sitting side by side, 18-month-old Riley was dressed as a tennis ball, tiny baby Hannah was a flower, and two-year-old Benjamin was Spiderman!
It’s a sweet picture, but at the same time it troubled me that I couldn’t see Benjamin’s face, which was covered up by a mask. His blue eyes and endearing smile were both hidden! As I have pondered this, it struck me that perhaps that’s exactly how God feels when we wear masks that attempt to keep him (and others) from looking into the eyes of our hearts.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed intimacy with God and one another without fear or shame until their disobedience sent them into hiding among the trees of the garden.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.’”
Though Adam and Eve had enjoyed perfect union with their loving Creator, sin left them naked and ashamed (Gen. 3:8-13).
From our very first breath, we are bent to rebel against God’s authority. Romans 3:11-12 says, “None is righteous, no one seeks God.” Thankfully, he faithfully pursues us, lovingly calling, “Where are you?” God wants us to see that we are lost and need him to save us.
Jesus Christ provides the only way back into the relationship that sin destroyed. He alone can cover our nakedness and shame by clothing us with his own righteousness. Through the blood of Christ shed for us on the cross, God invites us out of hiding and into the light of His presence.
Sadly, even when we are clothed in Christ, we often continue to live just like those still in hiding. Failing to grasp the full gospel, we often continue to struggle with guilt, shame, and fear, living defeated lives that condemn us for past or present sins. We hide behind masks that, in actuality, keep us from experiencing the joy and peace that is rightfully ours in Christ.
Out of Hiding…but Still Hiding
So, let’s take a look at a couple of the common masks we wear and how the gospel can lead us out of hiding.
The Mask of Self-Sufficiency. Hidden behind this mask is a failure to grasp the truth of our depravity; and when we don’t see the depth of our need for Christ, we won’t rely on Jesus for help. By avoiding certain behaviors such as lying, stealing, lusting, and so on, we can “feel” like we are doing pretty well.
This is where self-effort and self-sufficiency sneak in, leading us to believe that we are capable of living the Christian life all on our own. It isn’t until we tire of running into walls of exhaustion, frustration, anger, bitterness, guilt, and so on that we finally start to wonder if we’re missing something! All our best efforts to be good Christians have not brought the peace, joy, and inner rest the Bible promises.
Those who are serious students of God’s Word eventually come to realize that God’s perspective of sin is far more than simply messing up. Alan Kraft says, “Sin is the deeply rooted tendency in all of us to live with self as the center of our lives rather than God.” Our problem is that we “have a tenacious desire to be the center of the universe. We want to be noticed, affirmed, valued, worshiped, in control, to be comfortable, to be successful. These are not just casual interests—very often they drive our lives.”
The gospel meets us right here in our pride and self-centeredness. In 1Timothy 1:15 Paul says, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” Over the course of his life, Paul became increasingly aware of his sin, enabling him to more fully experience the sufficiency of Christ. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me….for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The more we understand God’s holiness, the more we see our sin. And awareness of our sin opens our eyes more fully to God’s mercy and grace. Placing our trust in Jesus rather than in our own effort, we realize that God has given us the gift of total acceptance. In other words, we really can come out of hiding.
The Mask of “Everything’s fine, thank you.” Hidden behind this mask are many things, but most of all, fear. When we are clothed in Christ, we are adopted into God’s family where we should also find acceptance and encouragement from the body of believers. Sadly, we have all experienced some measure of betrayal, hurt, and rejection. This can send us scurrying back to our masks, adding more layers to our wall of self-protection.
But the gospel invites us to be honest with others and ourselves. This does not mean we walk around telling every person we meet all of our problems. But it does mean we find a few close friends and older spiritually mature believers in Christ who will lovingly help us see God’s perspective on these things. When we isolate ourselves from others we become more vulnerable to Satan’s lies, keeping us in bondage to the very things we long to be free of.
Let’s consider a few examples of when should seek the help, counsel, and comfort of mature believers:
- When we are hiding the pain of infertility, miscarriage, chronically ill children, or other mental/physical health issues, forfeiting the ministry of comfort, help, and prayer.
- When we are hiding in fear of an emotionally/physically abusive spouse, forfeiting protection, prayer, and help that could possibly save the marriage.
- When we are hiding ineffective parenting, or a struggling marriage, forfeiting tools of biblical wisdom and practical help, along with support and prayer.
- When we are hiding sins committed in our past or sins we are struggling with in the present such as overspending, over-eating, starving ourselves, pornography, or substance abuse, forfeiting the reminder that the gospel has set us free from submitting to a yoke of slavery to these habits and behaviors (Galatians 5:1).
Our True Hiding Place
Nothing is hidden from the Lord. God knows better than we do the depth of our sin problem. But he is fully committed to raising his children with loving discipline until we are mature and complete in Christ. Meanwhile, he invites us to take off our masks so he can look into our faces and delight in us as we learn from him and grow. And when we are tempted to go back into hiding behind masks of fear, hurt, and shame, he reminds us that he is our true hiding place, and in him is the safest place to be (Psalm 32:7)!
Linda Green, "Where are you hiding?", http://unlockingthebible.org/where-are-you-hiding/
Ephesians 5:8-10 ESV
8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.
1 John 1:7 ESV
If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
Psalm 32:7 NIV
You [God] are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Matthew 5:14 ESV
“You [Christians] are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.