Journal, In Psalm 31, David expresses sorrow over the strife of life, when suddenly he breaks forth into praise that speaks of God’s love for His people. David says:
“How great is Your goodness, which You have stored for those who fear You, which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence, from the conspiracies of man; You keep them in the shelter from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:19,20 nasb.)
Bear in mind that David’s reference to the secret place is most likely a reference to the holiest of holiest. The literal Hebrew for “the secret place of Your presence”, is “the secret of Your face.” The idea is that God hides His people from the view of their enemies, that is, by bringing them to the very place that He Himself dwells.
This wonderful truth is fully brought out in the new covenant. Paul said that all believers are now hidden with God in Christ. But first let’s see how the tabernacle sets forth this truth of our redemption.
The only furnishing in the holiest of holies was the ark of the covenant where two covering angels spread their wings over the golden mercy seat. And over the mercy seat was a brilliant light. In the light was a form. The angels have their gazed fixed on the form over the mercy seat.
Peter explains this:
“It was revealed to them [the Old Testament prophets] that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you from heaven-things into which angels long to look.” (1Peter 1:12)
The angels gazing at the mercy seat were expressing wonderment at the atonement of Jesus Christ, that is, both in His incarnation, in the work of the cross, and in His ascension to the throne of God. The angels are longing to see into God’s gracious work of redemption through Christ. Paul tells us that the Lord is instructing angels concerning His wisdom by His presence and grace in the Church.
Does not the Bible say that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself? (2Co5:19)
Back to the form – In the Light over the mercy seat was a form that only Moses was allowed to see. The form was the preincarnate Jesus Christ. We see this by tying the Old Testament and the New Testament together.
When the Lord rebuked Miriam and Aaron over their presumptuous attitude towards Moses, He said to them,
“Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?” The Lord just made a distinction between Moses and other prophets saying, “He [Moses] beholds the form of God.” (Num12:8)
If God has no form, who then did Moses see? He saw the image of the invisible God. This is exactly who Jesus is. To the Jews, God’s Messiah was known as the form of God, the glory of God, the image of God, and at times even theShekinah of God.
Listen carefully. Paul said of Christ,
“Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself…” (Phi2:6)
Any Jewish person reading Paul’s writings would immediately connect Jesus with the light over the mercy seat and the form that Moses beheld.
In the New Testament writings Jesus is called the “glory of the only begotten of the Father.” (John 1:14)
Then we need to recall the bright Light that blinded Paul on the road to Damascus. (Paul was then known as Saul.) What Paul heard was, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” He responded, “Who are You, Lord?” Keep in mind that both the Lord and Paul are speaking Hebrew. The term for Lord would be YHWH. (Yahweh). The Lord then identifies Himself as Jesus.
Now back to the tabernacle. John wrote, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The Greek word for ‘dwelt’ calls attention to the holiest of holiest in the tabernacle. The glory that rested over the mercy seat was now tabernacled in Jesus Christ. Jesus is now the holiest of holies. Paul specifically calls Jesus, “The Lord of glory” (1Co2:8)
It is on the Mount of Transfiguration that Jesus appears on the outside what He is on the inside. It says, “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” (Mat17:2)
But what of the question as to why David could speak of the holiest of holies as the hiding place for God’s people? David could see by the Spirit into the redemption of Christ, past the veil, and into God’s redemption plan that would stretch across eternity past and eternity future.
The secret place of God would take in all His people from ancient time on. The tabernacle was a picture-perfect symbol of God’s eternal purpose for all His people.
The Old Testament saints somehow knew in their hearts that the Lord Himself was their ever present security in life. Moses said,
“Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Ps90:1,2)
Here Moses uses the same word that David used with regard to the ‘secret place’ of the tabernacle.
Again think about the two cherubim with their golden wings spread over the mercy seat. Listen again to David:
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, `My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” (Ps91:1,2)
David uses the same word again which references the secret place of God’s presence, that is, the mercy seat in the holiest of holies. God’s people dwell under the very presence and protection of angels.
Here is where we come to the great mystery of God’s love for His people. The Psalmist Asaph speaks of God’s people as His ‘treasured ones.’ He writes, “They make shrewd plans against Your people, and conspire together against Your treasured ones.” (Ps83:3)
These treasured ones are God’s people from the ages. The Hebrew for ‘treasured ones’ speaks of that which is covered by God, that which is hidden, or that which is kept secret. But it especially speaks of the secret of one’s heart. God’s treasured ones are the secret love of His heart.
The Psalmist puts things together when he writes,
“One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock [the Rock is Christ]. And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” (Psalm 27:4-6)
The Hebrew for ‘conceal’ is the same word for God’s ‘treasured’ ones. God’s people are His treasures in the earth and for all eternity. This allows us to have a better understanding of a kingdom parable concerning a treasure. Jesus said,
“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field [world], which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matt13:44)
The treasure has to do with the kingdom of heaven. The story is the story of the cross. Jesus Christ gave His life for the hidden treasure. Jesus came to seek that which was lost. Now the treasure is hidden again, but this time it is hidden in Christ.
Paul said, “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col3:3,4)
All we have read in David’s writings have their fulfillment in the finished work of the cross. Being hidden in Christ means that every believer is eternally secured from the power of darkness. We can never be separated from God’s love. Our life is placed in the Light of God’s very being. Peter said that our calling was into “His marvelous light.”
While this may seem difficult to grasp, what we need to realize is that our faith is to be based upon our position in Christ. Our position in Christ is secured. We have already been raised up and seated with Him in the heavenly places. Our concern is in living out our present life with the knowledge of our eternal placement. God gives us heavenly life as a foretaste of eternity. This is what believers are to learn to live by. Heavenly life is God’s oversight of our lives.
Did you know that God never takes His eyes off you? Listen to this conversation between David and the Lord:
[David] “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.”
[Lord] “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” (Ps27:7,8)
Did you know that there is continually joy in heaven over each person who turns to the Lord? The joy of heaven is the joy of the Lord Jesus Himself. The reason Jesus endured the cross was the joy that was set before Him. The joy set before Him was all those whom the Father would give Him for all eternity.
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. … This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:37,39,40)
You have come to love God because He first loved you. Did you know that your joy in the Lord is a reflection of His joy over you? Did you know that the grace that flows in your life is not something that you earned? It is freely given to you in God’s Beloved.
There is only one question to need to answer. Are you right now trusting in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Faith in Jesus alone is proof positive that you belong to Him. And if you belong to Him, then you are most certainly one of His treasured ones.
This is what the great apostle said:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph2:8-10)
Well, it would not be right if I failed to share a song with you. How about, ‘No Other Name But Jesus’ by Gaither Vocal Band….
Think about it. Have you met the Great I AM?
Much love coming your way,