A Blessed Invitation
“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” (Isaiah 26:20).
Edited from a 1928 Article in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom
There is an affectionate tenderness about these words of our Heavenly Father which helps us to realize His great love for His people, and His special care over them. Through His Prophet, taking the standpoint of the end of this Age, He is fore-warning us of a great time of trouble (verses 5, 6, 21) — “a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation” when the whole present order of things, civil, social, and religious, shall be swept with the besom of destruction. Yet in the midst of it all He would have His people in rest and peace in Him. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose’ mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (verses 3,4).
The Lord had another of His Prophets put into our mouths those beautiful words of trust and confidence — “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth [the present social order] be removed, and though the mountains [governments] be carried into the midst of the sea [overthrown by the turbulent sea of worldwide anarchy] though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swellings thereof … The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:1-3,7). Surely, “like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” (Psalm 103:13).
But who are those whom the Lord is pleased to designate by the endearing name, “My people”? Does this class include everyone upon whom His name is named? No, for that would include a great number of false professors. As the Psalmist expresses it, it includes all those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice — all the consecrated and faithful children of God, however young or weak they may be, whose hearts are fixed firmly and resolutely to be true, loyal, and obedient children by His assisting grace.
To be numbered among the people of God is a very great privilege, but it means much more than many seem to understand — much more both on their part and on God’s part. On their part, it signifies, not merely a name to live, in some great organization which bears the Christian name, but that they have become sons and heirs of God through Christ, that they have fully consecrated themselves to God to follow in the footsteps of His dear Son, that they have renounced the vain pomp and glory of the world and have solemnly covenanted to live apart from its spirit, ambitions, hopes, and aims; and not only so, but that, in pursuance of that covenant, they are striving daily to be faithful, and meekly to take up their cross and follow their Leader and Head, Christ Jesus.
On God’s part, it signifies the fulfillment of all His gracious promises to such through Christ, both for the life that now is and for that which is to come. It signifies that in the present life we have His fatherly love, care, discipline, counsel, teaching, protection, and encouragement to the end and that afterward we shall be received into His glorious presence and everlasting rest and joy and peace. Oh, how blessed to be the people of God! Even in the present life the reward of His favor is beyond computation.
The place of hiding is the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty. This secret place of the Most High, beloved, is the place of intimate communion and fellowship with God, through the blessed privilege of prayer and through faith in His precious Word and His promised providential care.
“When all around our souls gives way, He then is all our hope and stay.”
Oh, how precious is this hiding place! What rest and refreshment we find in the midst of the commotion that is even now bestirring the whole world, but especially the nations of Christendom — rest from the pride and folly of man in their abortive efforts to readjust the present unsatisfactory social order; and rest from the strife of tongues in an equally vain attempt to evolve the clear principles of truth and righteousness from the present confusion of human traditions (Psalm 31:20). Here we find rest, peace, light, and joy, which the world can neither give nor take away.
He Shall Hide Me in His Pavilion
Few indeed are those who can understand our motives in thus withdrawing from the world and from the various organizations of the nominal Christian Church to walk alone with God; and many are the reproaches which such must endure for His name’s sake. But fear not; “shut thy doors [of faith] about thee,” and heed not the reproaches; turn a deaf ear to them, and “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread” (Isaiah 8:13) and, “Above all, take [for the conflict before you] the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16).
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? … though An host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident … In time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me: He shall set me upon a rock … When my father and my mother [my most trusted human friends] forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me: Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 27:1, 3, 5, 10, 23:1,4, 56:4).
What condescension on the part of the Almighty to thus consider our weakness when the darts of the enemy wound our hearts, and to pour in the balm of His consolation. He would not have one of His children whom Christ has made free to come again under the bondage of “the fear of man which bringeth a snare” (Proverbs 29:25).
Let us fear and dread to displease the Lord; let us see to it that we know and love righteousness and that we have the law of God, not in our heads only, but also in our hearts, for so shall we ever find acceptance with Him; and to such, who in faith continually rely upon the Lord, who go forth, strong in the strength which He supplies through faith, to do valiant service for truth and righteousness, comes also the blessed assurance, “Fear not, Little Flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
While the storm of trouble that is to engulf the whole world will affect all men, both individually and collectively, the Lord’s people, who seek only to draw yet closer to Him, entering more fully into the secret place of communion and fellowship and rest in Him, and shutting the doors of faith about them, will there be safely hidden from the alarm and fear and trembling that will take hold upon all other classes.
And while they patiently endure its effects upon their temporal interests, they will rejoice not only in the knowledge of God’s overruling, providence, in the whirlwind, and in the storm as well as in the calms of life, but also in His blessed assurance that His wrath will be thus revealed only “for a little moment,” and then will His righteous Kingdom be manifested in power and great glory, and they shall shine forth as the sun.
“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.” Oh, a blessed invitation! Lord, we will trust in the covert of Thy wings.