Scripture Reading: Psalms 83:3: Isaiah 49:2
‘They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.’
‘And he hath made my mouth like s sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me.’
The writer of Psalms 83 is Asaph. He seeks to obtain help from God for his nation. Israel is exposed to great danger; ten confederate nations have conspired, with desperate hate, to assail the chosen people. They are determined to root out the name of Israel from among the nations. They joined together in a wicked league for this purpose, and they came from all quarters; North, South, East and West in order to utterly devour the little insignificant people whom God has called his own. It was the Psalmist’s desire to bring God into the quarrel, to stir him up to take the side of Israel. Therefore he cried; ‘Do not keep silence, oh God: do not hold your peace, and do not be still, oh God. For lo, your enemies make a tumult and those who hate you have lifted up their head. They have taken crafty counsel against your people and consulted against your hidden ones.’
This similar incident is repeated 3000 years later; today where you see Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Hamas, Hezbollah and even the whole of the Middle East Nations; they confederate together, conspired with deep hatred to root out the name of Israel from among the nations. They joined together in evil league for this purpose. They come from all corners of the earth to devour this insignificant nation. It is only recently that Hidden Israel is appearing again. When Donald Trump declared that their embassy be moved from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem; recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel that the appearing begins. It is only this week that the Parliament of Israel officially recognized in their constitution the land is the Jewish State of Israel, stating Hebrew instead of Arabic as the official language of Israel. The Hidden Israel is appearing again today.
Likewise, I see the devil doing the same thing to the people of God. But God has hidden us from the onslaught of the Devil.
What can we learn from these portions of scriptures?
1. God hiding people
I cannot read all the quotes from the Bible concerning God hidden ones. But there are at least eight scripture verses on God hiding people.
Psalms 27: 5 says, ‘For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tents he will hide me, He will lift me up on a rock.
Psalms 31:20 says, ‘You hide me in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; you keep me secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues
Psalms 17:8 says, ‘Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalms 64:2 says, ‘Hide me from the counsel of evildoers, from the tumult of those who do iniquity.
Job 14:13 says, ‘Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath returns to you. That you would set a limit for me and remember me!’
Jeremiah 36:26, ‘And the king commanded Jerahmeel the king’s son, Seraiah the son of Aziel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel to seize Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the Prophet, but the LORD hid them.
I realize that the Bible mentions a lot about God’s hidden ones, concealed one or secret ones. The word rendered ‘hidden ones’ comes from the verb ‘tsaphan’ which means to hide, to conceal. It properly denotes that which is secret, private, and inaccessible. It would seem here to refer to those who are so protected by YHWH that they would be safe.
I was trying to prepare a sermon on a man concealed by God. My interest started with Enoch. I realized that Enoch was concealed by God for 300 years. Men do not know where he was concealed, where he had been, and what happened. Then I also noticed that Noah was concealed by God for hundreds of years because it took him hundreds of years to build the Ark. Without God’s concealment, Noah will not be able to build the Ark. How about Moses? He was hidden for 40 years in the Egyptian desert until he was 80 years old. Further I found out that Elijah was also hidden by God by the brook Cherith which tell us in I Kings 2:2-3 ‘And the word of the LORD came unto him saying, get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.’ As I prepare this message, I found out that more people in the bible were hidden by God than you actually realized. I realized those whom God used in special ways were concealed ones. Jesus was hidden for 30 years; that is why we know nothing about the childhood of Jesus. It was believed that Saul of Tarsus was in Arabia for 3 years after his experience on the road to Damascus and was in Syria and Cicilia for so long that only fourteen years later that he went to visit Jerusalem again. That was only because Barnabas went to find him and they two visited Jerusalem 14 years later after his conversion. Saul who later became Paul after he was hidden for 14 years. And boy, he was different when he appears again. Moses was different when he appears again with the Rod of God. Charles Spurgeon preached a sermon on God’s hidden ones
Have you ever felt overlooked? Have you ever moved or entered a new environment where no one knew who you were, what you could do or what dreams ignited your soul? Have you ever crossed the threshold into another season of life, where you shifted from recognition to anonymity, from standing as a leader to sitting as a learner again? Have you resigned or retired from a position and transitioned from being sought out to left out, celebrated to celebrating others? You have hidden dreams, hidden gifting. All of us are acquainted with chapters in life when our visible fruitfulness is pruned back, our previously praiseworthy strengths become dormant and our abilities are unnoticed by the watching world. I found this so true concerning my daughter Joy. Like a flower whose budding glory is covered up by wet leaves, we sense the weight of hiddenness in our hearts and whisper, “I have so much more to give and be.” Most of us struggle if our dreams are delayed one year, let alone 20 years. We find God’s pauses perplexing. They seem to be a waste of our lives. To us time is precious; at most we can only live until 100 years old; yet even that only a few have attained. When those pauses extend beyond what we can explain, we often spiral into self-doubt, second guessing, cynicism and even resignation in life. Many of us are in a season where we are hidden. Maybe you are single held up in the house of God and not understanding why you can’t connect with someone in Holy Matrimony. You are in a pause mode. It is because you are hidden. God will hide you in his house. The bible mentions about concealing you in His tabernacles. It is important to find you a house of covering. You need a church home. You should go there consistently every week to get inspiration and instruction for your life. I find this very true right now in the life of Jan. You should be like Jesus saying to Mary, ‘Did you not know that I had to be in my Father’s house?’ When you are in church you get in a small group so you can receive instruction on how to be righteous, seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. God will protect you by his people. When you are out of God’s house you are more exposed to predators. When you are in the house of God, you are apt to be protected. There are more witnesses in the house of God than there are predators. God’s people will have discernment and will protect you. The priests had swords and shields to protect you in the house of God. I call them hidden in the house of God.
Whether we are hidden through anticipated transition or unexplainable loss, we can spend years feeling that the greatest part of us is submerged in the unseen, as though others can see only the tip of the iceberg of who we really are.
A new study suggests that the Earth’s interior is filled with a quadrillion tons of diamonds. Just in the month of June this year, in the Journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, it was suggested that there are 1000 times more diamonds below the surface of the Earth than was previously thought. All these diamonds are hidden some 200 miles below the surface of the earth. I am sure that one day they will be extracted but for the present moment they are hidden. The same goes with God’s hidden ones.
2. Why are they called God’s hidden ones?
They are hidden by God with a view to safety. God often hides us from those who would destroy us. How often God hides us, his servants in wilderness, mountain heights, in catacombs etc. God hides us as the mother hen hides the chicks from the Hawk that flies above. I vividly remembered an incident when our cell group stayed at Pinebridge Resort at Bucari, Leon. It was an early morning, with the grass still wet with dew but the sunlight was already out. As I came out to view the place, I saw this big white chicken hen sleeping under a pine tree. As I approached, this mother hen just rises up and flexed its wing and moved away. And Lo and behold I realized that there at least 6 or 7 or more little chicks that were covered under her wings and they being exposed also followed the mother hen away from me. It was quite a sight to behold. Because I wouldn’t know that the chicks were there under the wings of the mother hand if I had not disturbed her. God said to Noah, ‘Come with your entire household into the ark’ and he and his family went into the ark and the Lord shut them in. They were hidden in that ark of safety from the floods which rose from beneath and the rain which fell from above and they outlived the Deluge. So likewise God will hide you away from all the rage of earth and hell. So the first reason why we are called God’s hidden ones is because He has put us beyond the reach of our adversaries and concealed us in a place of safety. He has made us invisible to our enemies. God hides you to preserve you so that the enemy cannot find you and reach you. Why? Because God watches over those whom has made a covenant with.
The second reason why we are called God’s hidden ones is because He gives us peace and quiet. God brought Elijah to the brook of Cherith because Elijah needs rest and quiet. The same goes with Moses. In the midst of turmoil and sorrow. The Psalmists seems to say, ‘Your enemies make a tumult but your hidden ones are quiet.’ I believe you have experienced this truth. The trouble that you dreaded so much, and you are so sure will crush you but it came and you were strangely upheld and kept so calm and placid. He shut you in the midst of all trials and enabled you to find peace in him. I have experienced that before. Troubles of every kind and size come on me. I was vexed with every form of danger and yet all the time I am serenely quiet and perfectly happy in God. Troubles of every kind and size come on us: we are vexed with every form of calamity and yet all the time we are serenely quiet, and perfectly calm because God has hidden us. The strife of tongues and the endless babbling of slander cannot reach us.
The third reason why we are called God’s hidden ones is because we are not understood. If you are a genuine Christian you will be misunderstood by the world. We are a stranger and a foreigner among people in this world. The motive of your life will not be understood by other men. We are made to live a life that is quite incomprehensible to ordinary men. The most perplexing and shocking truth is that many times the people that misunderstood us are our friends, those who eats with us and sat on the same table as us once. Many times when we think of the people who would do us harm, we think of outsiders or haters but sometimes the people who should be taking care of you are the same people who wants to take you out. There is a season where God will hide you for your own good. Sometimes he will hide you from your own relatives because they can’t handle where God is taking you: instead of nurturing, they want to murder you. Perhaps some of your own brothers and sisters do not understand your fanatic faith. If you are one of God’s hidden ones you will be a stranger to your own mother’s children, you will be one who cannot be understood. Do not expect to be understood; settle this in your mind and it will save you a great deal of heart ache and disappointment
Just recently, Pastor Lily was talking to Joy and Joy made a statement which was actually a little hurtful and can be discouraging when we are not close to the Lord. She said that our sacrifices as missionaries all these years to the Philippines are overrated. Well, honestly the spiritual life is beyond the discernment of the carnal mind. No wonder the bible says, ‘What is born by the flesh is flesh and cannot rise to an understanding of what is born by the Spirit. Your life is a secret between God and yourself. The motive of your life will not be understood by other men. They feel sure that something is behind it when you tell that you lived only for God’s glory. They would laugh at you and your God’s glory. The desire to live so as to please God belongs to every man who walks with God but it will not be understood by other men. God’s people are in this sense his hidden ones.
3. Why are we hidden?
Why did God send Elijah to the brook Cherith?
It is to close the door on what you wanted to do for him. There are no people in Cherith. There are no platform for the work he wants to do. There are no opportunities for him to pursue his supposedly dreams or calling. There is no open door. God can take you to Cherith by removing your position. God can take you to Cherith by a prolonged sickness. Cherith is the place that God hides you and holds you back from what you most want to do. You ask why? Well most likely there is something in us that simply shouldn’t be there and God has to close the door on what you wanted to do for him. God hid Joseph before he came to the Palace. He hid Moses for a third of his life before he led his people out of Egypt. There is a famous sermon concerning David and it is titled: the way to the Palace is through the caves.
Secondly it is to prepare him for further service. Don’t count it strange if God hides you. Here’s the principle. When God chooses to hide you, He is preparing you for a greater purpose. A minister met his best friend, also a minister whom they have not caught up for 16 years. The last time he saw this friend, he was never happy in his job. He felt unfulfilled but remained faithful to his station of life. He felt hidden then. But this time he noticed a changed in his friend’s persona. This minister then said to his friend, ‘Well your life has changed since I last saw you.’ He replied, ‘Someone told me; the last second half of your life will be much more fruitful than at the first. And this is proving to be wonderfully true for me.’ Elijah would still learn more about dependence upon God, complete trust in Him, patience and humility; all of which we need to learn. God uses two methods for Elijah in the desert. One was the brook which was a natural means. He was to drink the water. The other was a supernatural means – the ravens were to come and feed him. When you are hidden the word of God represents the water at the Brook was for us to drink and drink every day. Secondly in life we will experience supernatural miracles represented by the feeding of the Raven. God’s provision and supply were not normal and you immediately recognize it is the hand of God that supply and sustain you. The feeding Raven also represents supernatural feeding of your soul. He heard the voice of God. The bible says, ‘the word of God came to Elijah; bringing specific instruction. God speaks during times when you are hidden. God called out to Moses, saying ,’Moses, Moses’ from the burning bush; again the supernatural feeding of the voice of God. I think Pastor Lily and I recognize that since 2012 God has to train us. God always has a method of training the men and women He uses by taking them to the desert. You will recall that that is also where He trained Moses. God took Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees and placed him in a land with rugged terrain. God did the same for John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul spent at least 3 full years out in the Arabian Desert. This is God’s method of training us. Why to prepare us for further service: to learn complete reliance upon God, complete confidence in Him, staying power and humbleness. In my spirit, I felt that God is preparing Pastor Lily and me for further service.
Thirdly we are hidden during times of apostasy. In the time of Apostasy, God always withdraws his prophets. God has to hide Elijah during the time of great apostasy in the land. The apostasy was so bad that God Elijah cried out ‘I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left.’ We lived in a world that there is great Apostasy. Sins have truly abounded and the love of many has waxed cold. And in this time of Great Apostasy, God always withdraws his prophets. He said to Elijah concerning his 7000 hidden ones. ‘Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him’ These hidden ones are kept by God in special care. At the same times while God withdraws his prophets, he has started judging his people. One way God judges his people is He withdraws his prophets and the word of God. The bible says, ‘the word of God was rare in those days.’ There is a famine of the Word of God. But then when the appearing starts, there will be a lone powerful voice that comes from the hidden ones. Their voice will be so different but anointed and convicting. God will put you in power in his own time. Elijah is hidden in heaven today. But when he appears again is one of the two witnesses in the 7 year tribulations he will be so different from all other prophets. He will pray and rain will stop for years. He will speak and fire will literally come out of his mouth and consume the wicked and those who oppose him. Thousands will return to the LORD. His words, his voice, his wearings, his faith will be so astounding that people will be transfixed on him. But he will only give glory to God.
4. The Special Honor on God’s hidden ones
I observed that God’s hidden ones are among the choicest of His children. They are set apart for special task. God needed them to perform special assignment to fulfill His plan. They are very dear to God that He keeps them to himself. In the bible you have known some saints whom God has loved so much that he has taken them away; Enoch and Elijah. David is called the apple of God’s eye. Psalms 17:8 says, ‘Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Look at Moses. I mean God called out to him, ‘Moses, Moses.’ I have yet to hear God’s voice calling me ‘Toh Nee, Toh Nee.’ These hidden ones will not be overcome by the enemies for they are the LORD’s. Their special honor is that they are the LORD’s. I also want to tell you. If people wants to harm these special hidden ones, God will come and destroy them. These hidden ones are even respected by Angels and feared by demons.