Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
-- Feeding Jesus' sheep
-- Equipping His servants
-- Proclaiming His Gospel

Hide & Seek

Playing Hide and Seek

by Dennis Pollock

The prophet Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, declared to God, "Truly You are God, who hide Yourself O God of Israel, the Savior!" This has always been true at many levels. The false gods of the nations were very much visible and tangible. These idols could be seen, touched, and carried about from place to place. There were definite locations where they could be found. Not so with the God of Israel. He was unique among the gods, in that He was invisible, inscrutable, and proclaimed Himself as the only true God, Creator of all that exists or has ever existed. 

It seems God has created our world as a vast stage for a cosmic game of hide and seek. He has hidden Himself, and then invited us to come and look for Him. Paul declared to the skeptics at Athens: 

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26). 

The concept of seeking God is one of the most fundamental truths in all the Scriptures. Again and again men are charged to seek their Creator and promised amazing benefits to those who do: 

  1. The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. (Psalms 14:2)
  2. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. (Psalms 34:10)
  3. For he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

We seek that which has either been lost or hidden. A man living in Dallas has no need to seek Texas. A woman with her passport in her hand would be foolish to start looking through her purse for her passport. But when parents find their child is missing, seeking becomes their first and only priority.

In His perfect wisdom our Creator has deliberately hidden Himself from His creation, and commands us to make the pursuit of Him the major quest of our life. To find Him is success; to miss Him is utter failure. To fail to look for Him is the greatest indictment that can come upon anyone: "The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts" (Psalm 10:4). 

Nature of God 

Those of us who love the Lord often find God far more reserved than we would prefer Him to be. If only He would do more dramatic miracles until the world had no choice but to believe on Him! Perhaps an angel appearing on nationwide television telling us to repent, or a famous celebrity being raised from dead! What an impact it would make if Jesus would dramatically save, Saul of Tarsus fashion, a dozen of the most liberal Hollywood stars on a single night! 

Our God does do miraculous works, of course. But He seems quite a bit more selective about them that we would like. While there is definitely evidence for His miraculous hand available for those who seek it, it is not in such preponderance that it smacks the skeptics in the face and forces them to believe. There is enough hiddenness about God to allow agnosticism to flourish if men are so bent in that direction. 

Years ago I read a book written by the son of the famous atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair (My Life without God – by William Murray). He describes how his mother would sometimes go out into the back yard for dramatic effect and hurl curses toward God and challenge Him to strike her dead and prove His existence. After no such strike occurred, she would come back into her house with a proud smirk, convinced she had just proven that there was no God. I must confess that, had I had any say in the matter, I might have encouraged the Almighty to grant her request. A nice lightning bolt with loud thunder for good measure could have made quite a powerful statement. But there was no such act. God quietly ignored the proud challenges of the atheist and allowed her to live on uttering her rants and blasphemies for several more decades. 

A Savior is bornThe birth of the Savior followed this principle of hiddenness. The night Jesus was born, all the movers and shakers of Israel were utterly clueless. The greatest event since creation was happening right under their noses, and the only ones God saw fit to make aware of it were a few poor shepherds. Life in Israel went on as it always had; there were no newspaper headlines: "Creator of heaven and earth visits our planet – Messiah of Israel arrives on schedule!

Jesus constantly used parables in His teaching, not to make Himself understood but rather to keep ungodly men from understanding. When asked why He spoke in such a mysterious fashion, He replied to His disciples, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand’" (Luke 8:10). Most teachers do everything they know to make themselves understood by their audience, but in Jesus' case He was well content to be misunderstood. While in Jerusalem Jesus told the Jews, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." They immediately protested that it had taken Herod 46 years to build their temple. Jesus made no attempt to tell them He was actually talking about His own body and His death on the cross. He allowed them to go on in their confusion, and to think He must surely be out of His mind. It seems God feels no necessity to clarify and explain Himself to the minds of those who have no use for Him. 

Why so secretive? 

After Jesus sent out His disciples to go all over Israel proclaiming the kingdom of God, they returned with great joy with testimonies of miracles they had done and demons that had been cast out. Jesus was apparently very much gratified to see God's grace working in His disciples like this, for the Scriptures tells us that He prayed, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes." Jesus was thankful for two things: First that God had hidden His kingdom power and secrets from the intellectuals and philosophers of this world, and secondly that He had revealed them to the simple, poor disciples He had chosen. It is unlikely any of us have ever thanked God for hiding Himself from men, but Jesus did. He seemed to feel this was a very good thing. 

In Proverbs we read that "it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter" (Proverbs 25:2). It is to God's honor that He requires us to walk by faith rather than by sight. Normally speaking God refuses to get up in our faces and reveal Himself and His ways to one and all, like it or not. He wants us to come looking for Him. Jesus tells us what we must not do with pearls; we must never make them presents for our pigs:

Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces (Matthew 7:6).

A pearl necklace may look great on a woman, but it would be somehow out of place on a pig. According to Jesus, not only would the pearls be spoiled, but the pigs, having trampled the pearls in the mud, would then turn on us. No, it is far better to leave the pigs with their pig slop and their mud – for this is what they naturally prefer. They will be happier and will be less bothersome to us. This is the rule God follows and the one we are to follow as well. 

This is certainly not to say we should not share the things of Christ with unbelievers, but there are times when they make it clear they have little use for our message, or for God. In such cases it is best to move on and find someone else with whom to share, whose heart has been prepared by the Holy Spirit for the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Good News 

The good news is that God may be found. The same God who hides Himself is the very One who stirs our hearts to come looking for Him and reveals Himself to those who do. The only condition is wholeheartedness. In Jeremiah we read, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). 

God will always be found in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus told His disciples, "When you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." God has revealed Himself to the world through His Son, and when we embrace Christ we discover God. The God who has hidden Himself has in Jesus Christ freely and gladly revealed Himself. In one sense a man or a woman's life quest is accomplished when they are born again; they have found the great prize above all prizes. They have found God. 

In another sense the quest is just beginning. Unbelievers are not the only ones who need to seek the Lord. The Christian's life is to be a continual seeking for more of God. We seek Him for His presence in our lives and churches, we seek Him for a greater knowledge of Him and His ways, we seek Him for wisdom and specific blessings and fruitfulness. 

The means of our seeking are the tools of our trade. Through regular times of prayer, through fasting, and through spending time in His word we pursue the Lord. We look for our God with faith and patience, believing firmly that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Though we have already found Him in Jesus, yet still we seek Him. The seeking of God becomes part and parcel of who we are. The pursuit of God defines us and identifies us as disciples of Jesus. 

The Day is coming when the Hidden God shall be revealed even to those who refuse to seek Him. Our world will not continue in its present condition forever. Jesus shall return and claim this earth as His own. It is written, "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him." As the lightning flashes from the east to the west so our Lord's return will be seen by all. Christ shall return publicly and gloriously, and it will require no newspaper to learn of it. The great unseen God who has hidden Himself for so long will finally come out of hiding, to the joy of some and to the chagrin of many. The days of hide and seek will have passed.

For a full listing of all devos (written and audio) go to our Devos Catalog Page.


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