It Is The Glory Of God To Conceal Things
August 27, 2022 Pastor: Rev. George Fyler
Proverbs 25, 2-10 ~ It is the Glory of God to Conceal Things
Pentecost 12 – Proper 17-C
Today's sermon focuses on the Old Testament lesson, verse 2: "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." This verse from the "proverbs of Solomon" (Proverbs 25:1) tells the whole story about our God, His relationship to you, and what He loves to do for you.
In the name of the Father and of the (X) Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Dear Christian friends,
In order to get a good, solid grasp on these words and to realize how important they are for you, let's first ponder the second part — the easier part-of this verse: "It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." What does this mean, that "the glory of kings is to search things out"?
Consider the nightly news report. "So-and-so was arrested for thus-and-such a crime, and now there is an on-going investigation. More charges may be filed, pending on further investigation." Kings, rulers, government officials all have the job of searching things out and making things known. They want to know every little detail of a situation so that they can give the best judgment possible. "The glory of kings [and of governments] is to search things out" because they must make their judgments based on “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.” That is to say, they decide whether a perpetrator is innocent or guilty based on the evidence that can be gathered — and this is a good thing for you and for your life in this world. It is for your blessing and benefit that "the glory of kings is to search things out."
It is much more of a blessing for you and an infinitely greater benefit to you that your God finds His glory, not in searching things out, but in concealing things. This is a good thing, both for your life in this world and for your life in the world to come. Kings and governments glory in searching things out because they make their judgments concerning you based on information. God glories in concealing things because He makes His judgments concerning you based on “God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”(Psalm 103:8) Kings and governments deal with you based on what they know about you. God deals with you based on how much He loves and cares for you.
The government looks into what you have done.
Your heavenly Father looks at you through His Son.
What is your favorite way of dealing with your neighbor? Do you imitate God and glory in concealing things for your neighbor's sake, just as God conceals many things for you? Or do you “put yourself first” before the Judge to reveal what you have seen and heard about your neighbor as he or she wrestles with the trials and temptations which attack saint and sinner alike? Or do you speak of Christ the crucified Savior and the Word of Law and Gospel that powerfully brings sinners to repentance and faith? Yes, Kings and governments have the divinely given office and responsibility of searching things out. Believers must not bring shame, but speak God’s Word like “a wise reprover to a listening ear.” (Proverbs 25:8-12)
"It is the glory of God [the reputation of God, the thing that God is most famous for doing] to conceal things." Just think about a few of the things your heavenly Father has so graciously concealed for you and for your salvation:
- I believe in Jesus Christ, born of the virgin Mary (Apostles' Creed). God glories in concealing things, and the most important thing He has concealed is found in the Incarnation of His Son. God the Son "made Himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7). God concealed His divinity under humanity for your sake. He hid Himself; He shrouded Himself in this way so that you would not be terrified by Him. How can anyone possibly be afraid of a baby? "It is the glory of God to conceal things," to conceal even Himself, so that He may draw near to you and you will not fear Him.
- He was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate (Nicene Creed). God glories in concealing things, and in particular He gloried in concealing His great glory under the shameful cross. There, concealed under the form of a man who had beaten to a pulp, God waged the war for your salvation. There, concealed under the gasping breath of a dying man, God was achieving the great victory of your eternal life. St. Paul says that God concealed His great, life-saving wisdom under the foolishness of the cross because God loves you and because God desires your salvation, not on the basis of what you say or do, but on the basis of His mercy. Because "it is the glory of God to conceal things," "the word of the cross is folly [foolishness] to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
- I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins (Nicene Creed). What exactly did God do for you on the day of your baptism? He concealed something. "It is the glory of God to conceal things" and He finds special glory in concealing your sins. In Baptism God hides your fallen nature so that the devil can no longer come to God and accuse you of any wrongdoing and sin. In Baptism God covers your sin with the perfection of His Son, Jesus. In Baptism God puts His name on you and His Word in you and the Devil stops his accusations. Because "it is the glory of God to conceal things," your sins and your depravities are covered making them look like the perfection and holiness of Jesus.
- I believe in. the communion of saints (Apostles' Creed). Think of the great gifts and the great glory that God conceals here when the “One, Holy, Christian and Apostolic Church” (Nicene Creed) is called together by the Holy Spirit to pray, praise, and give thanks to God regularly here at this altar. "It is the glory of God to conceal things," here in the Church militant with bread and wine He conceals the same body and blood His Son sacrificed for you on the cross. God glories in hiding His Son for you in this way, so that your communion with Jesus and with one another may be “a feast of Love” entirely based on faith. Because God glories in concealing things, you receive from this altar morsels of nourishment that will satisfy you to eternal life. Here you receive the miraculous gift of healing that was created for you by the whips your Lord endured for you (Isaiah 53:5) and you receive a small taste of the eternal feast that is to come.
- “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come” (Nicene Creed). Concealed in your sin-ridden, weak, and failing body, God has concealed His never-ending gift of life. Concealed under your illnesses is the disease-defying promise that you shall not be consumed. Concealed under your aches and your pains is a promised body in which your youth shall be renewed like the eagles' (Psalm 103:5). Concealed under the hardships and trials you suffer is the loving discipline of your ever-watchful heavenly Father (Hebrews 12:5-11), who uses such discipline to give steadfastness to your faith (James 1:2-3). Because "it is the glory of God to conceal things," God has hidden under your death the promise of eternal life and He has transformed your grave into the doorway of heaven.
"It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out." This verse from the "proverbs of Solomon" (Proverbs 25:1) tells the whole story about your God, His relationship to you, and what He loves to do for you. These words, dear friends, explain the full meaning of your Baptism, your Confession and Absolution and of your coming to the Lord's Table every Sunday. These words explain the meaning of your life, and even more so, they explain the meaning of your death. To be sure, you are who you are today only because "it is the glory of God to conceal things."
In the name of the Father and of the (X) Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen
- D. G.
REVGFF3 @ Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cleveland, OH. – 8/28/2022