Please turn to Psalm 32 for our communion message. I'm only going to comment on one phrase in one verse, but I do want to read the whole Psalm for context.
The phrase I want to comment on is in verse 7. David says, "You are my hiding place." One of the things that the Lord's Table symbolizes is our security in Jesus. Isaiah 32:2 calls the Man Jesus our hiding place and this verse calls Yehovah God our hiding place. But the two passages are not in contradiction because Jesus is both Yehovah and Man.
And there are three things that this phrase powerfully points to in the context of the whole Psalm. And the first is danger. David needs a hiding place from danger. Even though he is a believer, he still needs a hiding place from danger. Too many backslidden Christians do not consider the terrible danger that they are in in their backslidden state. They are not just in danger from the world, the flesh, and the devil; they are also in danger from God. Scripture is quite clear that God does not allow His elect to get by with rebellion and not experience discipline.
Psalm 32 is David's Psalm of confession after Nathan the prophet confronted him for having murdered Uriah and having committed adultery with Bathsheba. David had by this time strayed so far from God as His fortress and hiding place that he was vulnerable to all kinds of danger. Satan was having a hay-day with him. Humans were beginning to turn against him. And his own flesh had managed to make him rationalize to the point of utter blindness. He pretended to be a pretty spiritual guy (and maybe even thought he was), all the while hiding his despicable adultery, murder, and lying. In effect, even though David was a true believer, he had lost the battle with the world, the flesh, and the devil. And the reason he had lost that battle was because even God was opposing him. God was beating up on David. And the whole Psalm shows the incredible pain that David felt as a result of this danger.
God was the hiding place
But the second point is that God was also the hiding place. How could God be the hiding place when God is the one who is inflicting so much of this pain and this danger? Why would anyone run to God as the hiding place when God is the danger Himself? Verse 4 says that God's hand was heavy upon David - so much so that his bones felt like they were growing old through his groaning all day long. He was being severely chastened.
And verses 1-2 point to the only people who can escape God's wrath by running to God Himself. It is people who have been justified and forgiven. It says,
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
Paul applies this verse to justification by faith alone through the imputed righteousness of Christ alone. So David was already a saved man because he had previously trusted the coming Messiah to save him from his sins. There are three words that describe a believer. He is forgiven. His sins are covered. And God no longer imputes Adam's iniquity to him. So those are the only people who have access to God's hiding place. The first time we run there is when we get saved. But the point of this Psalm is that it is not the last time.
God does not save us so that we can continue to live in our sins. Verse 3 says, "When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long." He was miserable because he had grieved the Holy Spirit and God was disciplining him. As verse 9 words it, God was breaking an obstinate, stubborn mule and making him get used to bit and bridle. And it wasn't till verse 5, when he finally acknowledged his heinous sins to God and no longer hid his sins as a hypocrite that he found blessings restored. And though Satan sought to accuse him over his sins, David found security in his justification (verses 1-2), found security in God's favor (verses 6-7), and found mercy, gladness, and joy in submitting to God and trusting Him in verses 10-11.
So yes, God was the danger. But God was also the hiding place from danger. Backsliding from God only makes the danger worse. It is running to the one who spanks us that gives us security. It is hugging the one who corrects us that makes us find shelter while the storms rage around us. But it is never safe to separate justification from sanctification, or to be careless over sin simply because we are saved from hell. We should never stray from our hiding place, Jesus Christ. We need Him every day.
A personally trusted and appropriated hiding place
But the last point I want to make is that verse 7 says, "You are my hiding place." David doesn't say, "You are a hiding place" as if God was one hiding place among many. We have a tendency to hide from shame and danger through lying, but eventually find that lying never covers us adequately. God guarantees that our sins will eventually find us out. So lying is a lousy hiding place. We have a tendency to hide from shame and danger through minimizing our sins, but God does not give you joy within His hiding place until your are willing to confess to everything and until you agree with God that your sins are horrid. We have a tendency to hide from shame and danger by confessing to a clinical third party and getting it off our chest. But God is the only one that can permanently remove the guilt and the shame. So God is not simply one hiding place among many. He is the only one.
Nor is it enough to say that God is the hiding place. There are plenty of people who believe God is the only hiding place, but they don't hide in Him. They have good theology, but who have never applied it to themselves personally. Judas apparently agreed with the theology he heard from the lips of Jesus, but he never applied it to himself personally. David was different. Forgiveness was not just a doctrine to hold to formally. He said, "You are my hiding place." He personally appropriated what God had provided. He moved from his position of straying from the fortress to going inside the fortress. If an army approaches and you stay in your little cottage outside the fortress, it doesn't matter how much you agree that the fortress is sufficient, it won't protect you. And the same is true of believers. They may believe that abandoning their sin is for the best, but until they actually do so, it is what the Puritans called a speculative faith rather than an appropriating faith.
So if you have strayed from the Lord, run to Him in this sacrament and claim the promises of His protection. Claim His sufficiency to help you deal with the attacks of the world. He has all the power, grace, wisdom, and resources that you need. And no matter how great your sin, Jesus is a sufficient hiding place. His hiding place is near, always open, instantly available, cannot be earned, is free, and is impregnable to all those who enter.
If you are not a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, then flee from the wrath of God and enter His hiding place. Talk to one of the elders and they will be happy to show you how.
If you are a genuine believer but have strayed far from His hiding place, straying takes many steps, but returning is but one step - a step of repentance and faith. So come. We come to the table, not because we are worthy, but because Jesus is worthy. We come not because we are strong, but because we need His strength. Come.