Hide and Seek

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Do we seek when we should hide, and hide when we should seek?
Lost Jonathan at the Zoo
Sometimes we hide for other reasons. It there a right way to hide?
Mark 1:35–45 NLT
35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons. 40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.” 45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him.
We have two events here. Both about someone seeking God. But the way they go about it is very different. Let’s examine each section and see what we can learn.

Jesus hides in God’s presence

Prepositions are small words that can make all the difference. In ≠ from. Hiding can be from something, or it can be in something.
In this first section, we see Jesus engaged in a habit that characterized His life - valuing solitude and prayer with God. We see Him model this here at the beginning of His ministry, we see it at the very end of His ministry at the Garden of Gethsemane.
We can say with a hight degree of certainty that this habit didn’t begin with His ministry.
Luke 16:10 “10 “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
Jesus must have been faithful seeking God’s presence throughout His life. I encourage you to do so as well. If Jesus needed it, I promise you do to!
As Jesus sought out God’s presence, He knew He needed to do so away from the distractions. Jesus hid from His purpose - ministering to people - that he might maintain His purpose. The time away from His mission was mission critical.
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
Jesus seeking was hiding. Preparation is critical. And the best and first preparation to follow God is time seeking Him.
But there are two ways we approach hiding with God.

Hiding from God

Shame - Real or imagined. From sin or shortcoming. But Jesus said:
Matt 11 28 “28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Hiding from God because of shame might make us feel we are avoiding a confrontation or condemnation. but Jesus has already taken our shame. HE was afflicted for our sins! There is no safer place to find hope.
Fear - Some might hid from God out of fear. They know they’ve done wrong, and they know God wouldn’t approve. But the image they have of God might be more like an earthly relationship where disapproval and harsh words were the norm. Some might not have an example, or even be able to image, a concept of a forgiving Father.
Let me remind you of the parable of the Prodigal Son. It’s in Luke 15:11-32. If fear causes you or someone you know to hide from God, please take the time to read, and pray through, this passage.
Disinterest - A third reason some might hid from God is disinterest. By this I don’t necessarily mean “I don’t care about God.” Sometimes disinterest might acknowledge the wonder of God, but not be able to stir up a passion for Him. “I know God is loving and merciful and forgiving. And I WANT to love Him! I just can’t stir up a desire to seek Him.”
I think the best piece of advice I can give this person is to engage your faith with activity outside of yourself. It’s like the person who spends all their time trying to gain happiness can never find it; but the one seeking others happiness can’t avoid it.
And so with our faith. We weren’t ment to experience Jesus mercy by soaking it up for ourselves. He means that we start showing OTHERS His mercy - and then we will experience His goodness.
So this is what we do sometimes. Hide FROM God. But Jesus example was…

Hiding IN God

When we take the time to hid in God, when we make the effort to continue in it, He blesses those efforts.
Refreshes - Our Hope and desire. Our souls…
Ps 63:1-4 “1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. 3 Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. 4 So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
Restores -
is 40 27-31 “27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Clarifies -
Ourselves. Psalm 139:23 “23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
God’s purpose. Proverbs 3:5-6 “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Communicates -
Psalm 143:1 “1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!”
Psalm 143:7-8 “7 Answer me quickly, O Lord! My spirit fails! Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the pit. 8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”

Jesus Hid IN God’s presence because:

He needed it - for the reasons above.
It was important enough to sacrifice for - Couldn’t do without it.
He couldn’t fulfill His purpose without keeping it in a God-centered perspective.

The Leper seeks God’s mercies

The leper seeks God as well. But his need and situation necessitate a different tactic. He doesn’t find a quiet place to meditate. He goes to extreme measures. We read from the New Living Translation. But hear the greater motivation delivered in the ESV:
Mark 1:40 ESV
40 And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.”
As we consider how we seek after God, let’s consider a few things the leper gets right.

What he gets right:

- breaks all expectations to bring his need to Jesus. Simple stated, “a leper came to Him...” Into town, through a crowd, as an unclean leper! Just coming to Jesus was the act of a desperate person. Are our priorities desperate for the healing Jesus offers?
- He then implored Jesus. The asking wasn’t indifferent, it was passionate. He felt his need, and knew Jesus was his only hope. He was shouting above the sound and commotion of the crowds. His need for healing outweighed any other concerns he had.
- He kneeled before Jesus. I don’t get the feeling in this passage that he asked for Jesus help and Jesus ignored him, Then he implored Jesus, and Jesus ignored him. Then he kneeled down as a last resort. The passage reads as the leper gave it all he had. everything at once.
And what he was giving was himself. In whatever state he was - which was poor. He still lowered himself before Jesus.
- “If you will, you can...”
We can, and we should, seek God with all that we have as though everything depends of it.
And we can, and should, seek God by hiding in His presence and comfort.
We are not on the outside as the leper was. But we have been invited into the family of God. We are not unclean, but he has shed His blood that we might be clean.
Guilty -> death -> Jesus took our punishment -> believe and follow Jesus to receive forgiveness and belonging.
This is what we remember and proclaim when we take the Lord’s Supper.

Lord’s Supper

Ask Dale and Doug to come up.
1 Corinthians 10:16–17 ESV
16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
As we follow Jesus, we are to understand that we are hidden in Him. That we walk the road He has shown us and participate in His sacrifice, and in His glory!
As we take the Lord’s Supper, we acknowledge that His path is our path. That we seek Him and not the things of this world.
Ask Dale to read, then pray
1 Corinthians 11:23–24 ESV
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Take bread
Ask Doug to read, then pray
1 Corinthians 11:25–26 ESV
25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Take juice
Pray -> Opportunity for offering -> Opportunity for prayer
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