The Glory of God and the Honor of Kings
Verse One Introduction:
1. Chapter 25 begins a new section in the book of Proverbs, as its first verse states.
2. This new sections consists of the next five chapters (chapters 25-29).
3. We are told that these chapters are the writings of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah copied out.
a. Hezekiah’s men were probably his royal scribes.
b. Evidently they gathered together Solomon’s proverbs and made copies of them.
c. This collection includes 138 proverbs.
d. Hezekiah had an interest in literature. He wrote a section of the book of Isaiah (28:9-20).
e. These proverbs had evidently been collecting dust somewhere in the royal library for about 250 years – since Hezekiah lived about 250 years after Solomon.
f. During this time there were 12 other kings between Solomon and Hezekiah, and during much of that time Israel was apostate.
4. The Jewish Talmud states that Hezekiah edited the Song of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah.
a. Proverbs 25:1 is an interesting look into HOW this portion of inspired Scripture came to be included in the canon.
b. These 138 proverbs were inspired as they came from Solomon’s pen, but were not “published” for another 250 years!
c. I Kings 4:29-34 – Solomon spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
d. We have all of Solomon’s inspired writings, but it sure would be interesting to have a copy of the rest of his writings!
5. Verses 2-7 all relate one way or another to kings.
a. Verse two is a contrast between the eternal God of heaven and mortal kings of the earth.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing…
1. Conceal defined: To hide; conceal; to keep something unknown; to keep from public notice.
2. Thing: Speech; utterance; word; business; case; matter; something.
a. The term is similar to our English word “thing,” in that it is generic and broad in application.
3. God conceals things.
a. This is meant to be understood in the broadest and most general sense.
b. God conceals things.
c. We might think that He has REVEALED much, and in a sense He has.
d. However, compared to His infinite understanding, He has really revealed very little! (“Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” Psalm 147:5)
e. In light of that truth, it is fair to say that over all, God conceals things.
4. Deut. 29:29 – the “secret” (same word – hidden) things belong to the Lord.
a. The things that God has concealed belong to the Lord.
b. There are things about the Person of God that we will be learning throughout all eternity. He has not revealed everything about Himself, His will, His character, or His plans for the ages.
c. Some things are hidden in such a way that man will NEVER be able to come to a knowledge of it—regardless of his IQ, regardless of his technology, and regardless of the accumulation of man’s science over millions of millennia.
d. The secret things belong to the Lord and cannot be known until He chooses to reveal them.
5. But there are other things that God has “hidden” that man IS able to discover.
a. God has revealed things in His Word.
• But rest assured, there are things in God’s Word that lie beneath the surface that are there for the finding… but have yet to be discovered.
• There are many milk truths in the Scripture for us all to see, learn, apply, and experience.
• But there are also the “deep things of God” revealed in the Scripture, which in a sense are “hidden.” They have been revealed in that they are in the Word, but they are hidden in that it takes much study, illumination, and discernment to see.
• They are hidden until we have eyes to see and ears to hear.
b. God has revealed things about Himself in the creation.
• Ps. 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God.
• Ps. 19:2 – Day and night “showeth knowledge” about God.
• Ps. 19:3-4 – This knowledge is sent out worldwide—and it doesn’t matter what language you speak. There is knowledge of God that can be discovered in His created universe.
• Rom. 1:20 – There are invisible things about God that can be known by studying the visible creation.
• This knowledge is revealed in creation… but hidden until discovered.
• Thus, much is discoverable!
c. The point of this proverb seems to be that God has chosen to hide knowledge in His revealed Word, will, and in His creation…
• But the purpose of this kind of “hiding” is not so that we won’t ever find these truths… but that we might be busily engaged and occupied in FINDING them out!
• Genesis 1:28 – In a sense, this is implied in God’s original command to unfallen mankind: “subdue the earth.”
• Subdue: Subjugate; overcome; enslave; i.e., conquer and control an environment or people.
• God gave to Adam and Eve authority over the whole planet and told them to bring the earth into subjection… exercise lordship over the natural world… bring the environment into slavery for the benefit of mankind and the glory of God.
• (This sounds very different than the agenda of the New Ager Mother Earthers who seek to have mankind bow in submission to the creation!)
• This implies that the earth has almost unlimited potential.
• The natural resources found in God’s creation are to be discovered… used… and re-used.
• The natural laws God built into His universe are to be subdued – the power of electricity; oil; coal; solar power; thermal heat; wind; nuclear power; and on and on it goes.
• It was always God’s intention for mankind to discover the WONDERS that God has built in to His creation.
• There are potential cures out there in God’s creation for every ailment known to man.
» The cure for one disease may be found in the saliva from a frog from Brazil.
» The cure for another disease may be found in the rocks of North Dakota…
» God has in a sense “hidden” these things in His creation.
» But on the other hand, God has given us minds, eyes, ears, and hands to do research and discover their use and subdue it for man’s good and God’s glory.
6. It is to God’s glory that such wonders are to be found in His creation.
a. The heavens declare the glory of God.
b. But so do the rocks, the chemicals, the frogs and bats, living cells, the skin, the blood, etc.
c. When a scientist, a medical researcher, or an inventor discovers something useful and beneficial to mankind, it was really the LORD who created the chemicals or the scientific laws in the first place.
d. The scientist or inventor merely stumbled across one or two of the almost infinite marvels to be found in God’s creation.
e. God “hid” them… so that we might discover them and subdue them.
f. The sin of man has hindered the discovery of these treasures.
• War, sickness, man’s shortened life span, greed, selfishness, laziness, waste, etc… have all combined to be a great hindrance to where mankind COULD be today.
• We think we are so very far advanced today with our shiny new technologies.
• But we are probably more like cave men compared to where mankind’s discoveries and inventions could be or should be after about 10,000 years of human history!
• Nevertheless, God HID millions of treasures in His creation for us to discover.
• Of course, we are also to be good stewards of God’s creation.
g. Rom. 11:33 – God’s ways are past finding out.
• We will never exhaust the wealth of spiritual treasure in His Word.
• We will also never exhaust the wealth of physical treasure to be found in His creation.
• And though His ways are past finding out, on occasion, we DO learn something of His ways and will.
• When we do discover a tiny portion of His ways, it is thrilling to us. And it is a reminder of how much MORE there is to know… how much MORE is hidden from us.
• This fact glorifies God by reminding us of His INFINITE glories… ways past finding out… infinite understanding—and we are just scratching the surface.
• If nothing was hidden—in other words, if we could discover everything there is to know about God and His ways, then God would not be so great. He would not be so worthy of glory if puny man could figure Him out.
• Isa. 55:9 – But His ways and thoughts are as high above our ways and thoughts as heaven is above the earth.
• There is so much more to be discovered.
But the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
1. The second part of the proverb states the contrast.
a. The contrast is between God and human kings… the High King of Heaven with the lowly kings of earth.
b. God “hides” things, but human kings “search them out.”
c. It should be noted that the word “glory” is the same Hebrew word as “honour” and the same Hebrew term is translated as both “thing” and “matter.”
2. Kings “search out” matters.
a. Search out – search for; examine; investigate; probe; explore; inquire; find out.
b. In ancient times, kings were not only political rulers. They were also lords over the arts and sciences.
• Pharaoh had wise men, astronomers, and scientists as part of his royal court.
• In Babylon, Daniel and the brightest minds of Israel were taken to be part of the king’s court.
• Ancient kings wanted the best and the brightest minds on their courts, NOT to advise them politically, but to assure that their kingdom would be in the forefront of new discoveries… whether it be of gold in the hills, a new use for metals, new weaponry invented, etc.
3. This proverb was written with JEWISH kings in mind.
a. Deut. 17:18, 19 – Thus, the Jewish kings were also to know God’s Word.
b. They were to study it… know it… live it.
c. And while God’s ways are past finding out, it was the glory of the king to discover the will and mind of God as best he could… through His Word and His prophets.
4. When a king (or someone in his court) searched out a matter and discovered something valuable for mankind (whether in the field of theology, science, medicine, etc.) it was to the honor of the King!
a. As the people see the progress, the inventions, and the advances in science, agriculture, medicine, etc, they praise their king and give him honor and respect.