I have to admit that sometimes it is my inclination, whenever I encounter a verse or two that I just don’t understand, to just move on to another. And I am certain also that I am not alone in that regard, especially when it comes to the Book of Proverbs. There is so much wisdom contained in these words from God that we cannot simply open our eyes and our minds and just breathe them all in with complete understanding the way they are “breathed out” by God. Verse 2 is just such a verse for me.
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out
But this one gnawed at me, and I was determined not to just let it go for now. After searching my heart, the scriptures, and more than a couple of commentaries, I am still not sure I totally get it. But maybe I am closer than when I started. Deuteronomy 29:29 reads “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” What secret things? And what would God conceal?
So let’s try to make this just as clear as mud now. In 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, Paul tells the Corinthians of an experience of “a man” in third person, of which he is clearly the subject – that of being caught up into heaven. The text says it happened 14 years earlier, which would make it around 41-42 A.D. – after leaving Damascus. We are not told of any specific vision Paul had at that time, although he surely had many.
The salient point for this discussion however is where verse 4 says “he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” It is also true that Jesus told us that God has concealed understanding of the mysteries of the kingdom from those who consider themselves wise – and that he has revealed them to the “little children” (Matthew 11:25, Matthew 13:10-17).
Speculating from now until judgment day as to what Paul saw and heard will not get us any closer to the truth – except to know that there are things not of this “world” that we do not yet know, and some that many or all of us perhaps never will. But we can all search for the truth in God’s word with our hearts and minds open; and we may find a truth that was hidden from us the last time we searched. That is the reason we do daily Bible reading; and it is the reason that it is fruitful to do so. We will never run out of something to learn.
Lean not upon your own understanding…
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.