UV 1715/10000 Hide and Seek
In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.
Isaiah 54 v 8
The Lord hides His face from us at times when He is displeased with us as well as to test our faith and love for the unseen God. In the book of Numbers, the prayer for blessing asks the Lord’s face to shine upon us. The metaphor is the sun shining on us. If the sun does not shine for even a few days, life on earth would perish, plants would not survive or thrive. The Lord is the source of our light and warmth in order to both survive and thrive. If He but withdraws that light and warmth, we will be shivering in spiritual darkness and cold. We would be spiritually hungry, thirsty and listless. The presence of the Lord with us causes us to excel in all manner of things. Abraham acknowledged the Lord as the source of his strength and the sword of his excellency. He is the one who enables us to hear the word of exhortation of the spirit and carry the sword of execution- or the ability to put in practice the things we hear, aim and plan.
Ours is not a blood relationship with the Lord but a covenant relationship. It is not a religious relationship but a personal relationship. When we break the letter or the spirit of the covenant even in our thoughts or words, it could affect our relationship with the Lord and grieve the Holy Spirit. It is at times like this that He withdraws His presence from us. He hides His face. But when we confess and repent of our wrong doing, the Lord relents and restores us to grace or His presence and favour. He promises that His mercy is sure, steadfast, enduring beyond the ages or everlasting.
We need to fear the wrath of God and not take His mercy for granted by making amends whenever and wherever we fail Him and displease Him consequently. The ancient Israelites displeased Him greatly by worshipping other man-made gods and by murmuring or complaining about their lot from time to time. The spirit of covetousness or the desire for dishonest gain is another aspect that displeases Him. Things go terribly wrong when we displease the Lord and He withdraws His grace even for a short while. At these times, we will know for sure what it is that we did or said or thought that displeased Him. King Saul lost his anointing to lead as he consulted a medium about his future. When we forsake Him, He will forsake us. He does not act impetuously or whimsically. Even Moses displeased God in a few ways: when he hesitated to accept the responsibility to represent to Pharaoh on behalf of the Hebrew slaves and ask for their freedom, when he struck a rock instead of speaking to it to yield water. We too need to speak with faith and authority and not act in anger against the rocks in our lives- the hard things that obstruct us, the difficulties we face every day. King David displeased the Lord by falling into the sin of lust and adultery. He lost the presence of the Lord for some time till he paid a price and deeply repented of his wilful sin. When we actively please the Lord by our faithful obedience and avoid displeasing Him by our impatience, discontentment, anger, faithlessness, doubt, hesitancy, greed, fear or lust, He will never hide His face from us. His mere shadow is enough to bless, prosper, protect, preserve us. When He hides his face from us, we should seek it through genuine soul searching and repentance.
Prateep V Philip