The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
All Bible references are to the Anglicised New International Version (NIV-UK)
While speech is the primary means of imparting information, secret or not, other observable factors may ‘speak volumes’ about a person or a situation without the use of words. King Solomon gives an example: ‘I went past the field of the sluggard, past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw’ (Proverbs 24: 30-32). So it follows that we may by observation be made aware of what another believes to be safely hidden.
On the other hand, there is sometimes a need, even a compulsion, to confide in one other person the details of a circumstance hard to be borne alone ― perhaps a guilty secret, and the need may outweigh the risk of rejection or betrayal. The Christian believer is blessed above all others in having resource to prayer, communion with the Heavenly Father, who will never fail to comfort and carry the burden.
Yes! Our God is not the severe taskmaster who expects blind obedience without question. Rather, He says ‘Come now, let us reason together’ (Isaiah 1: 18). And more than that ― He wishes to confide in His people! As King David says: ‘The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will shew them his covenant’ (Psalm 25: 14, King James Version)
What evidence do we have that the Almighty has taken into His confidence certain ones of the human family? The Scriptures provide numerous examples.
To Noah, a righteous man living at a time when earth’s society had become extremely corrupt and violent, God revealed His intention to destroy the entire human race in a great flood, saving only Noah and his family. That St. Peter calls him a ‘preacher of righteousness’ implies that Noah did not hide the information from others, but their unbelief rendered it valueless to them. Genesis 6: 3 indicates that the days of sinful man would be a hundred and twenty years, and it may be that Noah warned the people throughout that period of time, but to no avail.
Of Abraham the scriptures tell us that he believed God, and this was credited to him as righteousness. He is called the ‘friend of God’ ― an exceptional accolade (James 2: 23). This was a man whom God took into His confidence, saying ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?’ (Genesis 18: 17).
The most extraordinary secret the Lord confided to Abraham was that through him and his offspring all families of the earth would be blessed. ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and . . . like the dust of the earth . . . All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring’ (Genesis 26: 4; 28: 14).
While many of his immediate family shared his faith, others of Abraham’s descendants lacked his utter confidence in God’s promises, and many centuries passed before further light was shed upon the progress of the Divine project. While the Old Testament gives no precise details as to its outworking, we have New Testament evidence that Abraham himself possessed a vision of Jehovah’s great plan of redemption for the entire world of mankind, a vision of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. ‘For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God’ (Hebrews 11: 10).
The same implicit faith was seen in others who lived in expectation of a glorious future, ‘for they were longing for a better country — a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them’ (Hebrews 11: 16). And the Lord Jesus, rebuking the argumentative Jewish hierarchy who tried to trap Him, declared that ‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad’ (John 8: 56).
Jesus was, of course, the supreme revealer of the Divine plan. Yet wisdom required that He should exercise caution, and it is thus recorded that ‘Jesus spoke all these things to the crowd in parables; he did not say anything to them without using a parable. So was fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world”’ (Matthew 13: 34, 35).
Secrecy is sometimes necessary. ‘There is a time for everything . . . a time to be silent and a time to speak’ (Ecclesiastes 3: 1, 7). Even Bible truths are too precious to reveal to those who would debase them. ‘Do not throw your pearls to pigs’ (Matthew 7: 6). Of course, secrecy must not be overdone. As Jesus told the disciples, ‘this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations’ (Matthew 24: 14). They and their successors would give witness to the elementary truth that Jesus is Saviour and King, and for those who accept Him, learning God’s deeper secrets is a progressive experience.
Divine providence has no doubt brought the gospel to those having the capability of exercising faith, and His faithful people of the present time may echo the words of an old-time prophet: ‘Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets’ (Amos 3: 7).
Though the gospel was preached to Abraham so long ago, the way the promise would be fulfilled remained obscure for many centuries. Following the revelations of Jesus to the faithful of His day, and after the baptism of the holy spirit at Pentecost, the Apostles gained new insight into many of the Master’s teachings.
But it was the Apostle Paul, once a fierce persecutor of the believers, who was especially blessed in becoming a major confidant of the Heavenly Father. And he it was whom God used to unveil many of the mysteries of Divine revelation. Paul tells us that the promised seed or offspring of Abraham is Christ, and gives the faithful the amazing assurance that there ‘is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise’ (Galatians 3: 28, 29).
So we have become sharers of the secrets of the Lord, knowing that in some way, and at some time, if we remain faithful, we shall be instrumental with Father Abraham in the blessing of all families of the earth. What eye could see, what ear could hear, what mind could conceive a greater blessing for those who love the Lord?
Copyright September 2009 ukbiblestudents.co.uk
You are free to reproduce all or part of this article, but please let us know if you do