F. A. Hughes.
As year succeeds year it is obvious to every seriously minded person that things in this world are becoming more and more insecure and sinister. The words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 21:26, referring as they do to a future era, yet have most surely a moral significance at the present time — "Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." This world, the scene of man's rebellion against God, where His beloved Son has been cast out and crucified, is doomed. Neither man's occupation with himself and his achievements, nor yet his rejection of God and His claims, can avert the impending judgment.
All true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ redeemed by His precious blood, have been delivered "from this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4); from "the power of darkness" (Colossians 1:13) and "from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10). Moreover another world, of which Christ is the Centre, has been opened up to faith. The features of that world are completely foreign to the thoughts of man and altogether beyond his intelligence to discover — they are among the "secrets of the Lord" and known only by divine revelation . The Scriptures bear full testimony to the fact that God, in His wondrous mercy, would have all men to know the blessed truth of this revelation — His love is towards all — but there are conditions!
In Psalm 25:14 we read — "The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him". Job's friends could speak of the secrets of God (see Job 15:8-11; Job 11:6), but it is evident from the last chapter of the book that they had no real appreciation or right thoughts of God Himself. But in Abraham God found a man to whom He could reveal His ways. Abraham "walked before God" (Genesis 24:40); he was a man of faith and marked by obedience (Hebrews 11:8). Three times in the Scriptures he is spoken of as the "friend of God" (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 3:23); indeed in Isaiah it is God Himself who speaks of him — "My friend." We do not wonder that of such a man God says — "Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do? . . For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him (Genesis 18). The chapter discloses a dual revelation of the intents of God; first, He would bring in Isaac; secondly — He took account of the wickedness of man's world and would visit it in judgment. The typical importance of these divine revelations is beyond human thought and expression and should move our hearts and minds in holy adoration and worship before our God! Abraham appears to have accepted that Sodom must be judged, but was not so ready to grasp the wonderful fact of the promised seed. Beloved, do we realise the immense privilege which is ours as having been initiated into these divine secrets? Let us at once bring the Cross into this matter. It is here that the secrets of God's heart and ways are revealed. "Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out." The New Translation version of Revelation 18:20 would suggest that this should affect the saints in a moral sense — our judgment of the godless scene around found to be in accord with God's judgment of it in the cross of Christ. But John 12 has more to say about the Cross! "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die" (vv. 32-33). Precious Lord! Here is the promised Seed — "thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). Here is the basis for the unfolding of all the eternal secrets of the heart of the blessed God; here God's righteous judgment of a godless scene is revealed; here is the true Isaac — the promised Seed, the fullness of God's heart of eternal love flows in all its blessedness — the erstwhile "hidden riches of secret places." Beloved brethren as appreciating the power and wisdom of God in His ability through Christ to deal with all that sin and Satan have introduced into the world, may we as drawn to Him know more preciously the secrets of divine love which were in the heart of God from before the foundation of the world.
Blessed indeed to know that in the difficulties of the pathway "He shall hide me in His pavilion, in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock." Hidden too from the "pride of man" and the "strife of tongues." David in Psalm 31 can speak of being shewn "his marvellous kindness." What precious secrets the Apostle had in his heart for the Corinthian believers as he desired them to be free from these features of the flesh! The wonderful disclosures of his first letter to them, in 1 Cor. 15, culminating in the stupendous content of verses 51-57! Can we not discern the same theme in all his letters — the revelation to him of the Lord's own deep desire for His saints to remember Him in the supper; the truth of the mystery; the truth of the body; the rapture of the saints; the pre-eminence of Christ, the One in whom God will head up all things — and many more precious secrets which the Lord delighted to make known — "Surely . . . He revealeth His secrets unto His servants" (Amos 3:7).
Space permits of but a passing reference to the experience of Moses in the "cleft of the rock" (Exodus 33); of Elisha's confidence in 2 Kings 6 — "they that be with us are more than they that be with them." Had the prophet absorbed something of the promise in Psalm 91? — "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High (EL ELYON) shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Shaddai). These great and powerful names of God pledged to the support of those who know "the secret of the Lord."
We conclude by referring to two most precious words of Scripture — the first disclosing a secret in relation to our Lord which rejoices the hearts of all who love Him-
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name; that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that at the name of Jesus every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
The second reference is one of unspeakable comfort to the saints of God in their journey homeward through this scene of strife, sorrow and bereavement-
"Behold the tabernacle of God is with men . . . and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away . . . Behold I make all things new."
The future and public exaltation of Christ and the removal of every vestige of sin and its consequences are the precious secrets enjoyed by those of whom, through infinite mercy it can be said — "His secret is with the righteous."