How often have you read or heard these familiar words from the beloved ninety-first Psalm?
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1.
Have you ever wondered just what that “secret place” is? The Bible has more to say about it. “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26: 20, 21.
Here again, as in Psalm 91, we are told of a terrible time of destruction on the world and about a hiding place where God’s people are safe and protected. Notice what the messenger of the Lord has to say about this same scenario.
A Time of Trouble
“Satan claims the world, but there is a little company who withstand his devices, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Satan sets himself to destroy this commandment-keeping company. But God is their tower of defense. He will raise up for them a standard against the enemy. He will be to them ‘as an hiding place from the wind,’ and ‘as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’ He will say to them, ‘Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Review and Herald, September 17, 1901.
Where is the Hiding Place?
We see here that God is that ‘secret place’ where His people are to find shelter. But what exactly does that mean? The following paragraph sheds more light on the subject.
“Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints—those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God’s people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling. Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were until the sealing was past, and the covering drawn over God’s people, and they left out, without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues.” Ibid., 44.
Here we see people that God wants to place in His secret place, but they are not cooperating with Him. Instead they are unsure and doubting, fearful and unbelieving. So we realize that the true ‘hiding place’ must be opposite of this, instead of doubting and fearing, those in this safe state will be believing and trusting. This is confirmed in Isaiah 26:3. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”
Their minds are focused on the Lord, and they are in perfect peace because they trust in Him. Another meaning of peace is rest. Hebrews 4:9–11 talks about a rest that we must enter into. By the way, the Sabbath is a symbol of that special rest, that sure hiding place that we must be in to be secure in the trials and darkness of the last days. It says, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Notice again, that unbelief prevents them from entering into that rest—just as we see the fearful, doubting ones in the quote above, “Their knees are trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth.” In Revelation we are shown those who make it through. “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. Notice, they have the faith of Jesus. It is not merely faith in Jesus. It is the very faith Jesus had that He triumphed with in the battle with evil. It is a sure faith, tried in the fire of affliction and proven successful. It is that “Gold, tried in the fire,” Revelation 3 talks about. Jesus sells it to us without money. We buy it by giving Him our wretched, sin–polluted hearts, making that total surrender to His will. That total surrender, that choice to absolutely believe in Jesus, that decision to trust in Him though the heavens fall, is what it means to enter into the Secret Place of the Most High.
It takes time, study, heart searching and much quiet meditation to obtain that perfect peace. As the trials thicken around us we must reach up for more and more faith and trust. Remember, true faith can only be “planted firmly on the truth,” that is, on God’s holy Word. This kind of faith cannot be obtained in an instant—it takes effort and time—just like any other science, it is not mastered overnight. Satan’s work is to keep us busy and distracted so that the time is not available to us to perfect this saving faith, to search our own hearts, as it were, with lighted candle and find every sin, then confess them and obtain, not only pardon, but power and victory over it. You do not learn to trust perfectly in Jesus in an instant. Day by day, as the trials of the daily life hit us, are we standing stiffly for truth? Are our feet riveted firmly to that Rock?
I urge you, that if you are not experiencing real victory in your daily life right now, that you rearrange your priorities to learn how to seek the Lord until you do have it. The last hours of earth’s allotted time are slipping through our fingers and we are so often “too busy” for spiritual things. Satan would keep us that way. Did you realize that he does not need to get you to do something “bad” for you to be lost? Oh, no! He just has to keep you too busy to gain that spiritual preparation until it is too late. You may be “too busy” with good work, with things not wrong in themselves, but if you are not daily growing in spiritual strength, Satan will have you in the end.
We all tend to think, “I am just in this situation for now. I know I am not spending time enough on my personal salvation and my family’s spiritual health is not good, but I just have to finish this course, or get this paid for, or accomplish this project, and then I will be okay, and I will make up for it.” That, my friends, is the devil’s best lie—put off salvation until tomorrow! And do you know what he does? He lets you finish one thing and then he gets you launched into another project, or some kind of trouble, and before you know it, you are dong the same thing all over again! Millions will wake up when it is too late and say, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20.
Please take time to ponder these tragic words! What if you do buy all the things you want? What if you do get all the honors, or complete all of the projects, but lose your own soul? The Bible has simple advice that will beat the devil at his evil game. It says, “…seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. Yes, friends, sort out your priorities until you are having time for real communion with your Lord, until the Bible becomes a power in your life, until you are truly experiencing victory in your daily walk. How did Enoch walk with God? He withdrew frequently from society and spent time alone with God. Jesus did the same.
We do not gain anything worthwhile in this earth without effort, do we? Art, music, science, skills, they all take practice and time to perfect. Why do we think that we can gain the greatest prize of all, eternal life, with only a half-hearted effort once in a while?
There are so many frivolous things on which we waste time and energy. You sometimes have time, but are so exhausted you cannot even think. That is why you should put God first—in the morning give Him the best, not the dregs. Let us look at some of the frivolous time wasters: long, meaningless chats with friends, TV, worldly music, sports, many hobbies, excessive time used in preparing food or learning fashions, worldly holiday activities, attending meetings where the truth is not being taught (meetings where the truth is attacked are not frivolous, they are deadly!) computer games, videos, and we could go on and on. I urge each one that we seriously analyze how we are using our precious last hours of preparation time. The sands will soon run out. We do not know how soon, but we do know that most will not be ready! Do not let it be you!