It Is The Glory Of Kings To Conceal A Matter: Part One

I would like to state at the outset that the title of this series of posts does not in fact appear in the Bible.  We are all aware of the concealing behaviors of government when it comes to their behaviors, and their attempts to justify being dishonest to ordinary citizens because of raison d’etat (national interest).  Proverbs 25:2 reads:  “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter,” and yet the rulers of the world both in ancient history and today have acted as if it is the glory of kings to conceal matters, and have frequently and regularly conflated themselves with God and taken those privileges that belong to God as their own and viewed themselves as a different order of being than those whom they rule (usually badly).  I would like to ponder some of the implications of this conflation between the state and God in the eyes of corrupt people and seek to discuss some of the repercussions that result when people arrogate to themselves that which properly belongs only to God.

We must concede at the outset that it is the glory of God to conceal matters.  A few examples should suffice as to the the biblical pedigree of God’s concealment of matters from men.  For example, the Book of Job begins with two chapters that demonstrate the cosmic bet that took place between God and Satan concerning Job’s faith and Satan’s false accusation that Job’s faith was self-serving and insincere.  This debate between God and Satan where God brought up Job specifically to discredit Satan was not known to Job.  Throughout Job’s suffering, God concealed the causes of that suffering, despite Job’s deep desire to know why he had been afflicted and despite the unjust accusations of Job’s friends that Job had somehow deserved the suffering that he received.  It should be noted that some contemporary readers of Job view him as arrogant and thus deserving of his suffering.  The Bible does not justify this at all.  Job certainly gained in humility and longsuffering as a result of his suffering and it was thus of benefit to him–ultimately his wealth and the joys of family were restored to him–but he was not to blame for his suffering.  God concealed it from him because God had a larger plan in mind and wished to accomplish something that would benefit Job and thwart Satan but which would fail its purpose had Job realized he was being set up, since most of us tend to be rather upset about such matters.

Nor is this the only time that God has practiced concealment.  Matthew 24:36 bluntly tells us that God the Father has concealed the day and the hour of the return of Jesus Christ:  “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”  Despite this blunt statement, a great many people throughout the course of Christian history have speculated on the timing of Jesus’ return and a great many more have thought that they would live until the return of Jesus Christ, including the apostles Peter and Paul until the end of their lives [1].  We may question and speculate why it is that God is concealing this from us, but the fact remains that God has concealed this from us and has continued to do so for His purposes.  At some point, likely after the fact, we may better understand as Job did why this thing (and other things) have been concealed from us, but at the moment we do not know and God has no desire nor obligation to tell us at this time.

Jesus Christ Himself practiced deliberate concealment on multiple occasions and even gave believers circumstances where some concealment is to be practiced as well.  For example, let us read Matthew 21:23-27:  “Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?”  But Jesus answered and said to them, “I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things:  The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?”  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.”  So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.”  And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”  Jesus was under no obligation to tell enemies of the faith by which authority He acted.  To be sure, He acted under God’s authority but his opponents did not believe this, and nor did they want to admit that John the Baptist preached and baptized according to God’s authority either.  Rather than starting a fight about authority, Jesus chose concealment through getting his opponents to conceal a matter that they preferred to finesse rather than to bring out into open conflict.  This is certainly an example that we can take heed of for ourselves as well when it applies.

There is of course an easy justification for God concealing things from us.  God is the Creator and we are His creation.  He is a separate order of being from us, eternal and without sin, while we are beings of only very limited lifespan and attention and awareness who cannot even understand the depths of our own natures much less that of those around us.  And though we plan and create, our plans and creation are subject to decay and to the will of others that is frequently not forthcoming.  At best, we are like children who want to use a hammer or some other tool and believe that we are helping our parents to do something, or children putting on costumes to play pretend.  At worst, we are engaged in something far beyond our level that is bound to end up in a frustrating debacle because we lack awareness of our limitations and respect for what separates us from God.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to It Is The Glory Of Kings To Conceal A Matter: Part One

  1. Pingback: It Is The Glory Of Kings To Conceal A Matter: Part Two | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: It Is The Glory Of Kings To Conceal A Matter: Part Three | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Catharine Martin says:

    It is human nature to put off doing what needs to be done until the deadline draws near. If we knew ahead of time when Christ is to return, our natural tendency would be to waste time until shortly before His coming to clean up our act. For the most part, there wouldn’t be a lifetime filled with change and growth; only one of deathbed repentance. What kind of leadership would that produce in the Kingdom?

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