Thursday, April 26, 2007

Searching Out the Glory

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
(Proverbs 25:2)
Here are two glories: the glory of God and the glory of kings. The glory of God is to conceal a matter. In Isaiah He says,

My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.
(Isaiah 55:8-9)
The ways and thoughts of God are not like the ways and thoughts of man. But that is not because God does not want us to know them. In Isaiah 55:10-11 we read that God sends His Word to earth to accomplish whatever He desires. In other words, the ways and thoughts of God are revealed to us in His Word.

There are some things we can know about God from His creation (Romans 1:18-20). But there are other things that cannot be known except by divine revelation, and God is not unwilling to give us such revelation. Quite the opposite, God greatly desires to do so. “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

We could never know all of God’s secrets, for He is infinite in all His attributes. But He certainly wants us to know all of His ways and thoughts that pertain to the things of earth, for He created us in His likeness and gave us dominion to “fill the earth, subdue it and have dominion” (Genesis 1:28). That is, He created us to be kings, with the authority, and the responsibility, to rule and reign, to bring it into divine order.

But the problem, of course, has been sin, which blinds us to the revelation God desires to give us. When Adam rebelled in the Garden, he disconnected from the ways and thoughts of God, and that is spiritual death. Fortunately, Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father and give us a new birth by the Holy Spirit. In that redemption, we are restored to kingly authority. Peter calls us a “royal [kingly] priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), and Paul reveals that God has already seated us in the heavenlies in Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of the Father, where He (and we in Him) rules and reigns forever (Ephesians 2:6). And so we are kings.

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search out a matter. Those are two sides of a coin. That is, the glory of God in concealing a matter is related to the glory of kings in searching it out. God is ready to give us revelation, but only if we are ready to receive it. Those who are willing to believe and do the will of God will know the revelation (John 7:17). That is why Jesus taught in parables and said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” (Matthew 13:9). For when the disciples asked Him why He taught in parables (v. 10), Jesus answered,
Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have , even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:11-13)
It is about whoever has and whoever does not have, but have what? Ears to hear! The enigmatic nature of the parables revealed who was ready to receive divine revelation and who was not. Those who are ready to hear and believe will receive this divine revelation in abundance!

When we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit in us. In Him we are made spiritually alive, and are reconnected to the ways and thoughts of God. God reveals His ways to us by His Word, but also by His Spirit, who illuminates the Word to us so that we can truly understand.
But as it is written, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)
God conceals certain matters from us, but then He invites us to search them out. As we discover them, we come into a greater understanding of just how wonderful He is. That is the glory of God. The glory of kings is the privilege we have as His people to behold His glory. His glory changes us as we learn to walk in His ways and think His thoughts. It enlarges us, bringing us to the place described in Proverbs 25:3, “As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.”

The glory of kings is in searching out the glory of God.