Hide your face17.  Hide your face

“Hide your face from my sins . . .”     – Psalm 51:9a

I would assume that virtually everyone who reads today’s devotion has at one time or another participated in the time-honored  tradition of hide and seek.  Maybe you did it as a child, or perhaps you have played that game with your own children or grandchildren.  For some, being alone and the one who has to find all the others (maybe you’re playing in a dark house?)    can be a bit scary.

The phrase “hide your face,” as it happens, is used in nine different psalms.  The interesting thing is that   in each case except our psalm today (Psalm 51), these usages are imploring God NOT to hide God’s face from us.  Take psalm 69:

Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.  Do  not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress — make haste to answer me.  Draw near to me, redeem me (Psalm 69:16-18).

In each of the eight other psalms, the psalmist beseeches God not to abandon them, but to come to their rescue and aid.  The good news this Lenten season is that God has played this game of hide and seek too.   A lot.  But when God plays, it is always we who are hiding and God who is seeking.

Let’s close today with a prayer in the form of Psalm 143:7-8.



Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me, or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.  Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning, for in you I put my trust. Teach me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.