No Place to Hide 

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. —Psalm 139:7-10 

Have you ever tried to hide from God? Perhaps you’ve said or done something that you’re ashamed of, but instead of running to Him, asking for His forgiveness, you try to ignore what your heart is telling you and keep on running away from Him. How’d that work out for you? Very likely you learned that it’s impossible to run or hide from God if you’re truly His child. David understood this well. What he’s saying, in essence, is that as a prodigal, he had made his bed in “hell”—not literal hell, but he had become comfortable with the things that would send him there. But even then he found that the Lord was there to convict him and eventually lead him back to His Father’s house, where life is far better than the hell that he had made for himself. 

There’s a wonderful literal application for us in these verses that goes beyond David’s figurative descriptions: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets to direct God’s chosen people. Today His chosen ones are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, who teaches them all things and is always with them because He is in them! Think about that. It means that whether you soar to the heights of heaven in your thoughts and actions or delve into the depths of hell by the same means, the presence of the Lord never leaves you! That should be a very sobering thought. Even if we try to run from God, as did Jonah, or Adam and Eve, taking the “wings of the morning” to the “uttermost parts of the sea,” even there the Spirit is within His children, leading us, and God’s right hand holds us. Consider the gentleness and kindness of our Father! 

There’s no getting around it: God knows that we can do nothing without Him, so He’s arranged it that we never are without Him. Having an imputed righteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ, we can rise from any fall by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and since He is in us and always with us, no failure or fall can hold us down. Paul wrote, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:12-13). Think about that! It means that there is nothing that we will face that we won’t have the strength for, because Jesus Christ is with us through it all. 

Consider Peter in Luke 22. He was ready to go to death himself with the Lord, and yet Jesus warned him that he would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. You know what happened. After the third denial, when the rooster crowed, Peter realized the awfulness of what he had done, even though the Lord had warned him of this. He went out and wept bitterly, we are told. But Christ had also said that Peter would return to Him and be used to strengthen his brethren, and that’s exactly what happened. Even at Peter’s lowest point, as he wept bitter tears, God was there! 

Friends, God is there to lift us when we make our bed in hell, and He is there to temper us when things are going well. John warned us “Do not love the things of the world. . . . [All] that is in the world . . . is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away . . . but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). God knows that we can’t handle either adversity or prosperity without Him, so He promises that we are never without Him. There’s no place to hide. And isn’t that wonderful? 

Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

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BARRY STAGNER

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