It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.
A contrast is here drawn between the glory of God and the honour of man, especially of one class of men - the order of kings.
I. THE HONOUR OF MAN IN INVESTIGATING.
1. The honour of royalty. This is "to search out a matter." The king is acting in a way that honours him when
(1) he searches human nature and knows all that he can learn about mankind, all, therefore, that he can know about his subjects;
(2) he acquaints himself with the character, the disposition, the career, of those immediately about him, in whom he trusts, on whom he leans;
(3) he investigates different affairs as they arise, probing and sifting most carefully, not satisfied until he has searched the whole thing through. It becomes a king to make the most complete and patient investigation into all national affairs.
2. The honour of mankind generally. This is to "search out" and become practically familiar with
(1) all the resources this earth will yield us for our use and our enlargement;
(2) the physical, mental, moral, and spiritual necessities of those around us;
(3) what is the true way to supply their need. This is that which most honours the disciples of that Son of man who came to minister and to redeem.
II. THE GLORY OF GOD IN CONCEALING. The thought of the writer is obscure. We shall certainly get into the track of it if we consider the three truths:
1. That God has no need to investigate. "All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do;" all the dark places of the earth, the hearts of men, the most abstruse problems which are so perplexing in our sight.
2. That he himself is the Inscrutable One. "His thoughts are very deep," his "ways past finding out."
3. That it is necessary for him to conceal in order that he may truly bless; that he knows more than he can wisely reveal at once. Parents readily understand this, for they have frequently, constantly, to keep some truths our. of sight, ready for a later day and fuller powers; also to decline to reveal, and to leave their children to find out by their own patience and ingenuity. This is very frequently the case with our heavenly Father. For our own sake he half reveals to us and half conceals from us
(1) the way to become materially enriched, leaving us to find out what we need to know about agriculture and the stores of wealth that are far below the surface;
(2) the way to be mentally enlarged and established;
(3) the way to moral and spiritual good. God l,as designedly and for our ultimate benefit and blessing left much to be searched for and brought out of the Bible - his providential dealings with us, our future, both here and hereafter. It is the glory of man that he can discover and reveal what his fellow men are unable to make out. It is the glory of God that he cannot make known to us all that is present to his eye, or such revelation of present good and future blessedness would injure us; that he must hide from us a part of his infinite wisdom, some of his inexhaustible stores, and leave us to search and ascertain, that by our searching we may be "lifted up and strengthened." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.