You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
There is no statement more true, and no truth more important, than that maxim of Martin Luther — "Nolo Deum absolutum." Who, indeed, can meet an absolute God? God absolute is a consuming fire. His holiness is irreconcilably hostile to sin; His justice sternly demands the sinner's punishment; and His truth obliges Him to execute the penalty of His violated law. In an absolute God there is no hope for a sinful creature. But now, through the incarnate Word, my atoning Sacrifice and interceding High-Priest, the devouring Fire becomes my protection, the almighty Adversary assumes the character of a friend, and with full assurance of faith I take up the song of the royal saint — "Thou art my hiding place, thou wilt preserve me from trouble; thou wilt compass me about with songs of deliverance." Concerning the ungodly it is said — "The hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place." But "their rock is not as our rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." I have seen the name of Benvenuto Cellini scratched with a nail upon the rugged stone wall of his cell in the Castello Sant' Angelo; and have handled the sad mementos of Torquato Tasso in the convent of Sant' Onofrio — his last refuge, the gate by which he entered paradise — midway between his cradle at Sorrento and his dungeon at Ferrara. But my sacred asylum can show many a worthier record and many a holier relic, for it has been the dwelling-place of the saints in all generations. Here Paul and Silas sang their midnight hymn, and the heroic exile of Patmos heard the chanting of immortal tongues. Here Ignatius challenged the lions with his "Gloria in Exeelsis," and brave old Sanctus as long as he had power to speak confessed — "I am a Christian." And cheering it is to know that these, and such as these — a fire-crowned host of priests and kings — have been here before me. The cities of refuge were six, and were so distributed that one of them was always within half-a-day's flight of the man. slayer: and the gates were ever open to admit him. And yet, from one cause or another, he might not reach it. But our defence is ever accessible. Nay, I carry my refuge constantly with me: and not as the Arab carries his tent, or the soldier his shield, or the turtle its shell; for Christ is not only immanent in His word and movements, but dwells — a living Spirit — in every living heart. And the provision is as vast as human want and as various as human woe. And there is perfect safety there. The psalmist is certain of it. "Thou wilt preserve me from trouble." Not, indeed, from earthly ills — the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to; but with Thee always present I can endure these. But from sin, the source of all trouble, and itself the only real trouble, I know Thy grace is sufficient to save me. My faith, like the eagle's wings, bears me above the hurtling thunder into the eternal sunshine. Like the skylark, I sing as I soar, and pour music out of the cloud. Like the nightingale, I lift a cheerful lay in the twilight, and charm the night with melodies of love and hope. Thus will the Lord, my hiding place, compass me about with songs of deliverance.
(J. Cross, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.