You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah (Psalm 32:7 ESV)
What a thought! What a blessing! In week two of #fantheflame, we are moving from repentance to praise. That’s the natural flow of our spiritual lives. We move from repentance to praise because repentance is a SWEET thing! How is it sweet? Because it mends our relationship with the Holy Spirit within. You and I have to remember that the Holy Spirit is a person. He’s not a channel or a medium by which Jesus speaks into our lives. He is a person with his own voice, his own personality, and therefore he can be grieved like any person. When we repent, fellowship with the Holy Spirit is renewed! In fact, this verse from Psalm 32 reveals a few things that happen after we repent.
When we cultivate and keep our relationship with the Holy Spirit through ongoing repentance (because even on our best day we are still sinning somehow) God is a refuge, a hiding place. Here’s the deal. When we are running from God, when we are clinging to our sin instead of our Savior, God isn’t a hiding place. It’s kind of like when my daddy knew I was misbehaving, he wasn’t a safe person, because if I let Him find me his belt would meet my hind parts. But, on the occasion where I came to Him willingly in repentance, he would spare me the belt. Even though there was usually still some form of correction, his demeanor with me was completely different. He was a safe person and I could run to Him. When we are actively and often coming to God with repentance, He is a hiding place, a refuge, and his demeanor toward us is gentle.
As we constantly come in repentance, God does something amazing. He preserves me from trouble. Sounds a lot like what Jesus prayed:
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:13 ESV)
How does this work? Part of it is an issue of the secret counsel of God. He simply works things out so we don’t have to endure as much suffering and we never know any different. But also we are better equipped and better inclined to make well-discerned decisions. When our relationship with the Holy Spirit is in good shape, we are more inclined to obey Him and in a better position to hear Him clearly. Better discernment means better decisions, which can lead to less trouble.
Finally, He surrounds me with shouts of deliverance. Do you see that? When we repent, God is the first one to celebrate! He SHOUTS with celebration when we repent. The prophet Zechariah tells us:
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
Our Father God is the first to rejoice when we come to him in repentance! He will never despise a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). He is the first to praise! The question is, who is God praising when He praises? God declares and exalts his own excellencies when we repent! And he does this over us! The Father, the Son, and the Spirit all turn to each other and says, “Man, we’re good! Good work!”
And when they celebrate over us, it stirs praise within us! This week, fan the flame of your passion for Jesus! Join the praise that God has already started over your repentance and praise him along with the heavenly hosts!