Revealed (Luke 12:2)

But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Luke 12:2

As I read this promise this morning, I am struck by its dual application. It feels as though it is both a promise that should give me a moment’s pause and a promise that should cause me to breathe a sigh of relief.

It should give me pause because there is the implication that everything I do — no matter how secretive I think I am being — will be displayed in front of everyone one day. The promise of a future judgment is a promise that everything I do — good and bad — will be displayed publicly and rewarded or censured as appropriate. Nothing I think I have covered up will remain thus. Nothing that I think I have hidden is unknown to God and none of it will remain unknown to others.

I am able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this can also mean that all secrets will eventually stop being secret. There will come a day when I know as I also am known. There will be nothing about my God; no detail regardless how small that will not be open to examination. I will be able to ask and be answered; to seek and find. The secret things belong to the LORD (Deuteronomy 29:29) and the LORD offers us Himself. I will be able to know all the things that I seek to know in the day that I know as I am known. And that, for such as me, is a welcome relief.

Let me be mindful that all I do ostensibly in secret will be revealed and all things that are currently hidden will eventually be known. I will know as I am known and that is both a warning and a sweet promise.

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Revealed (Mark 4:22)

For nothing is hidden, except to be revealed; nor has [anything] been secret, but that it would come to light.

Mark 4:22

In context, Jesus is talking about parables. He explains the parables to them and goes on to talk about lamps and then this statement comes along. This statement is both generally true and specifically true.

This is specifically true, because God reveals things to those who seek Him. The Bible contains promises that the Holy Spirit will open up the contents of the scriptures to believers who ask. There is nothing hidden in the scripture that God will not eventually make plain as day. All prophecies will be fulfilled. All mysteries will have an unveiling. Eventually, everything will be simple and plain. We will see Him as He is.

This principle is also generally true. We do not hide things unless we want to reveal them to someone. And secrets are truly difficult things to keep. These are even more true when the thing we are hiding or the secret we are keeping is good. Trying to hold back the announcement when my wife and I found out we were expecting a child better than a year ago was difficult, but the information was withheld because we wanted it to come to light at a particular moment and to reveal it in a certain way.

God keeps certain things secret for reasons that make sense to God — and might to us, too, but we will not know until God reveals both the secret things and His reasons for keeping them secret. God keeps certain things hidden. He does not do this because He is secretive or has anything to hide. God has reasons for keeping certain things hidden, just as we do. But nothing is hidden except because there is a right moment for it to come to light.

Father God, please let me be open to receive whatever You would reveal today. Let me not begrudge You the secret things, but rejoice in those things that You determine I am ready to hear and understand. Thank You that there will come a day when I will be able to understand it all. Today is not that day, but that day is coming and I look forward to it with eagerness.

Private Sins (Joshua 7:1)

But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.

Joshua 7:1

I find the way that this is phrased interesting. The verse begins with the statement that the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully, but proceeds to tell us that Achan … took some of the things under the ban. Having read this story a few times, I know how this ends for Achan. But my thought this morning is how this affects Israel.

See, Joshua catches flak — and rightly — for not praying before attacking the city of Ai. But the defeat and thirty-six deaths are not laid at Joshua’s feet by the scriptures. The fault for the deaths and defeat are laid at Achan’s feet because of his transgression.

This reminds me that there is no such thing as a private sin or a personal sin. If I lie then the other person is proceeding on falsehood and may end up offending another without knowing why. My lies spread discord through every person I lie to. I’m sure that lying seems to be — on its face — a public sin, but what about something that seems private like pornography? If I engage in the sin of pornography, it affects my wife whether I realize it or not. It sets expectations that no real person will ever live up to and changes my perceptions of and satisfaction with my marriage. It creates frustration with things not being as they are in that scripted and fantasized world and that frustration can spill over onto my daughter, my friends, my coworkers … anyone. Frustration is indiscriminate and if I’m not aware of why I’m frustrated, I won’t do anything to fix the situation. Worse, I might not even realize that I’m frustrated and will go about causing hurt and offense until I recognize that I’m frustrated and set things right.

Achan’s sin would cost him not only his life, but the lives of his family. There are some who would look at this and decide that the punishment is unjust, but that determination overlooks something important: Achan’s family knew he had the things he wasn’t supposed to have. These folks are living in tents and packing and unpacking every time they move. Achan’s wife saw the things he stole. His sons very likely saw him take those things from the battlefield. His daughters probably wondered where their dad got the new outfits. No one in Achan’s family said anything about those things. No one called him on his sin. So Achan and his entire family were executed. So, too, my sins, if left unaddressed, will damage; possibly destroy my family.

The NT writers will tell me to examine myself; to look at my life and ferret out the sins that hide in dark corners like roaches. To do that, I must continually seek more and more light to shine into those corners by seeking the Light of the World; the Father of Lights more and more. My sin — no matter how secret I may think it and no matter how contained its fallout may seem to me — affects everyone around me in some way. I need to regularly examine myself; repent of any sins I’ve tried to conceal; shine light into the corners where I would try to hide things.

There are no private sins.

Things Secret and Things Revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29)

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29

After a long list of curses that would make a horror movie script writer salivate, this verse appears. The context is Moses telling Israel that the choice between faithfulness to God and His command or waywardness toward God and disobedience to His command is pretty straightforward. Obedience results in blessing while disobedience results in disciplinary action (cursing). Then Moses transitions from that thought to the next (repentance) with this statement.

It is interesting that this verse is not more commonly quoted. I mean, there are plenty of things in The Bible that I would call secret things and chalk up as belonging to the LORD. For example, how the whole trinity thing works. It’s a secret thing. It’s not that The Bible doesn’t teach it, but that The Bible doesn’t explain it. And this verse reminds me that there are some things that belong exclusively to God (the secret things) and there are some that belong to me (the things revealed). Why the distinction? Why not explain everything?

My thought: faith. If God explains everything; shows me everything; reveals everything, then there’s not much faith required in following Him. Contrariwise, if there are secrets and things I don’t understand — though the explanation for them might be the simplest thing one may ever imagine — then I take those on faith and, by extension, take my God on faith.

There’s another thought that presents itself, viz. that I wouldn’t understand even if God did explain. I get what the illustration of Schrodinger’s Cat is trying to explain — observing the state of a quantum particle changes the state — but I don’t understand how it works. I get what is happening, but the how eludes me. The same is likely true of the workings of the trinity and other secret things. I get the what — three unique individuals that are simultaneously a coherent single entity — but the how escapes me completely. I get that I and every other believer was chosen by God and that we also freely chose Him, the whole predestination versus free will argument. Somehow, some way both are true. I can accept that both are true and understand the workings of each individually, but the both-and of things that my human mind regards as mutually exclusive is nigh impossible to reconcile. These, I think, are a smattering of the secret things that Moses is talking about. How some of the things revealed work is a secret that God will reveal in His own time (or not at all). But there are other things about which The Bible is absolutely silent. Things which are completely secret, as God has said nothing at all about them.

Again, these are just my thoughts. Ultimately, the important part of the equation is not the secret things, because those belong to God. The important part, for me, is the things revealed as those belong to me. They are mine. And I need to act on what is my own, not fritter away my time pining after the secret things that are not mine. God has given me more than enough to do in just “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.” and “Love you neighbor as yourself.” Those, alone, are sufficient to keep me busy until the Second Coming. Add in “Pray without ceasing.”, “In everything give thanks.”, and a host of others and I’ll be busy-busy-busy until well after the Second Coming. The things revealed belong to us. We… I need to be busy about them.