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By Pastor Jim May
After Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940, increasingly severe anti-Jewish measures began. A Jewish family by the name of Frank tried to escape by going into hiding. On July 1942, Otto, Edith and their daughters Margot and Anne hid in this building at 263 Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. Their hiding place was the uppermost floors of the back annex of Ottoís office building. They never thought that when they entered that hiding place on July 6, 1942, that it would be two years before they would ever feel the sun on their faces again. After more than two years the group was betrayed and deported to various concentration camps in Poland. Edith died at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anne and Margot died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in March 1945, only a few weeks before this concentration camp was liberated. Otto Frank was the only member of the family to survive and return home after the war. Anne Frank was only 15 years old.
What is a hiding place? Why do we seek to go there some times? A hiding place is a place where we can feel safe from impending danger. Itís a place where we can get away from whatever troubles us. Itís a place where no one knows just where we are and what we are feeling.
I watch the children as they play and Hide-and-Seek around the house. Some of the places they choose arenít much of a hiding place at all, under a blanket in the middle of the floor, or behind a curtain with their feet showing. Sometimes though, they pick some pretty good spots. Just the other night I walked into my room and noticed that a flashlight was lying under the bed turned on, and I knew that I hadnít put it there. I looked under there and I all saw was the flashlight, so I took it and turned it off. After it was off, I noticed two little eyes peering at me from between a suitcase and a box that we keep there for storage. She was barely noticeable, but there she was. I think she had a good spot and it would have been really hard to find her except for the light.
Children like to play games with hiding places, but adults have their hiding places too.
Some will hide in a bottle of alcohol, trying to drown their fears in the booze. Some like the drugs to mask their feelings of fear and anxiety. Some like to find a special place where they can get alone, away from the crowds.
There was a prophet in the Old Testament who sought out some hiding places too and I want us to look at his story for a few minutes and see what the Spirit has to say to each of us.
Elijah was a mighty man of God. When he spoke, the whole nation of Israel shook, because he spoke for God Almighty. By his word, the rain stopped for three years and by Elijahís word, the rain came again. By his word fire would fall out of a clear sky and consume the sacrifice, the stones of the altar, the water in the ditch and the very dust of the ground. When Elijah spoke his words would bring either a blessing or a curse and everyone listened to hear what he had to say.
But there came a day when even this great man of God, this ďman of faith and power for the hourĒ, as Evangelist R. W. Shambach says, began to seek out his hiding place too.
It all began when Ahab, the king of Israel, married a heathen woman from the Sidonians by the name of Jezebel. If ever a man was unequally yoked with an unbeliever, Ahab was the one. Jezebel
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