If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
I. THE MEANING OF THE PASSAGE IS SUPPOSED TO BE THAT GOD CONCEALS MUCH, AND THAT IT IS HIS GLORY TO DO SO. There is a truth in this. We often try to find out God. God is the profoundest mystery in the universe, and yet all is mystery without Him. No creature knows God. There is much concealed in nature. It is not wonderful that there should be much in God's providential procedure that is concealed from us. God's ways are not our ways. If He has not given us light, it is better for us to be in darkness.
I. LOVE DELIGHTS IN ITS OPPORTUNITY. (Ver. 21.) And to true Christian love there is no opportunity sweeter than the distress of a foe.
II. LOVE DELIGHTS IN SUPPLYING NEED. It is the opposite of egotism, which clamours for personal satisfaction, and closes the avenues of pity to the distressed.
III. LOVE IS VICTORIOUS OVER EVIL. (Ver. 22.) A wholesome pain is excited in the mind of the enemy. He begins to feel regret and remorse. The torch of a love divinely kindled dissolves the barrier of ice between soul and soul. Evil is overcome good.
IV. LOVE IS SURE OF ITS REWARD. Both present, in conscience; and eternal in the fruits and in the award of God. Not a cup of cold water shall be forgotten. - J.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing.
If God were to conceal everything from our view, it would be impossible that any glory could result to Him from the sentiments and actions of His creatures. It is by a partial communication of Himself that He has, in the highest degree, consulted His honour and manifested His wisdom. A temperature of mingled light and obscurity, a combination of discovery and concealment, is calculated to produce the most suitable impressions of the Divine excellence on the minds of fallen creatures.
I. THE DIVINE BEING IS ACCUSTOMED TO CONCEAL MUCH. Specify some instances.
1. In relation to His own nature, and the manner of His existence. His essence is altogether hidden from the most profound investigation, the most laborious research, the most subtle penetration, of His creatures. We ascribe to Him attributes and virtues; but how He exists, in an essential and eternal nature of His own, no man can know. His perfections are impressed on the works of nature, but in such a manner that we learn them only by inference.
2. In relation to the structure and constitution of His works. The scenes of nature lie open to our view. But the mysteries of nature, with regard to the essences of things, and indeed to a multitude of subtle operations, are kept in a kind of sacred reserve, and elude the utmost efforts of philosophy to surprise them in their concealments, and bring them to light. Those that have devoted themselves to an investigation of the laws of nature perceive that the meanest work of God is inexhaustible; contains secrets which the wisdom of man will never be able to penetrate.
3. In the dispensations of His providence. By which is meant that series of actions which the Divine Being is continually carrying on in the government of the world which He has made. There exists such a decided connection between well-doing and happiness on the one hand, and between wickedness and misery on the other, as sufficiently to show, even independently of revelation, that the Divine Being is the patron of rectitude and the enemy of vice. But the natural course of things is frequently interrupted and suspended by incidental causes; so that particular exceptions are continually occurring to the ordinary rule. God conceals the design for which many events are permitted to take place. And He is accustomed to throw much obscurity over the future. The most important events of human life, on which our happiness greatly depends, are, for the most part, concealed from our view.
4. In the economy of grace and redemption. The revelation contained in the Scriptures extends only to facts, not to the theory of those facts, or their original causes. The most important truths are communicated in a dogmatic, not a theoretic, manner.
II. THE DIVINE BEING PROMOTES HIS GLORY, BY SUCH A TEMPERATURE OF LIGHT AND SHADE AS THAT WHICH DISTINGUISHES ALL HIS DISCOVERIES OF HIMSELF, AND HIS DISPENSATIONS TOWARDS HIS CREATURES.
1. The concealment of things tends to glorify Him, as it is, in part, the necessary consequence of His infinite superiority to all finite beings in wisdom and understanding. His purposes and designs cannot be adequately scanned by the wisdom of men.
2. It evinces His entire independence of the wisdom, counsel, or co-operation of any or all of His creatures. He may, with infinite safety and propriety, retire within Himself, into the secret recesses of His own essence.
3. Such a degree of obscurity as attends the partial manifestation of the Divine will, the progressive development of the Divine purposes, is eminently adapted to the state, exigency, and condition of men. The prophetic parts of Scripture are proverbially obscure. By not explaining His doings, God trains us to submission, and cultures humility and vigilance, while at the same time exciting to diligence and exertion. While there are many things which God conceals, and thereby advances His glory, He has made manifest all that it is essential for man to know. And among the things fully revealed is the placability of God, His readiness to receive the chief of sinners who repent of their sins and believe the gospel.
In our dealing with our fellow-men we resent reserve, secrecy, isolation, almost as sharply as though they were moral transgressions. We are attracted by frankness. The best hated men the world has had in it have always been men of silence. Mystery is one of the arts of crafty ambition, for the silly world is generally ready to accept silence for wisdom. Men cultivate the habit of concealment, so that they may pass themselves off for better than they really are. But reserve is not always ignoble. Strong, and noble, and unselfish qualities sometimes determine a man's silence. The welfare of an empire may sometimes turn upon the power a statesman has of keeping the counsel of a department. There are reservations in the knowledge that God has given us of His own nature, purpose, and government; but these reservations always rest upon motives that are pure, noble, and holy, and are identified with the highest glory of the Divine character. No mystery is meant to alienate us from God, but to attach us in closer bonds. It is needless to define the area of mystery, if indeed that were possible. It starts in God, and covers the last outlying atom of His dominion.
1. There are mysteries in the Divine nature and government that bear direct witness to the glory of God's person. The silence He maintains is a sign of His self-sufficiency. As a matter of privilege, God may permit us to enter into sympathy and co-operation with Himself and His work. But He does not need our help, and by the stern reserve in His revelations He asserts the separateness and the sufficiency of His own mighty power. If He employ us at all, it is for our good. His power is separate, sufficient, solitary. God conceals many things, to remind us of the gulf that separates the glory of His nature from the dimness of all finite natures. Man is destined to more exalted and intimate communion with his Maker than any other being in the universe, and yet there are limitations upon his privilege necessitated by the very supremacy of God. There are secrets we cannot enter, counsels we cannot share, age-long problems, the solution of which we are not permitted to see. God conceals many things, so that throughout the successive stages of our destiny He may bring into our contemplation of His nature and works elements of inexhaustible freshness. Reservations that are determined by motives of this type have an intimate relation to the glory of the Divine name. The revelations of the life to come will be gradual and progressive. If God's revelation were a revelation of exhaustive fulness, a revelation with no reserved questions in it, the very enchantment of God's nature would be gone.
2. God is glorified by mystery, because mystery has its place in the discipline and exaltation of human character. The veiled truth sometimes calls out a higher faith, a more chastened resignation, a more childlike obedience in God's people, than the truth that is unveiled. God conceals many things, so that He may be magnified through His people's trust in darkness and uncertainty. No genuine spirit of trust can spring up in ignorance. In God's dealings with us, profound silence and ringing oracle, the hidden and the revealed, the mystery and the defined truth, alway alternate with each other. It is "the glory of God to conceal a thing," because by the very shadows in which He hides it we are cast with a more pathetic dependence upon His sympathy and care, and come into truer and more childlike contact with His spirit. God conceals many things, so that He may protect us from needless pain and fear, and magnify His own gentleness. Many a thing must be hidden from a child, and the more sensitive he is, the stricter must be the concealment. God conceals some things from us to excite us to nobler and more strenuous endeavour in our search after the truth. There are truths that we shall come to know through our own thought and struggle, and deepening spirituality of life, temporary mysteries that it is best for us to know through conflict, experience, sustained contemplation. God hides many things from the world, so that He may have secrets with the custody of which He can honour His own chosen servants. And He conceals some things from us, so that He may impress us with the solemnities of the unknown. God never conceals what may be necessary to furnish His people for the work and service of life. Let the revelation inspire your faith, and let the mystery awaken your awe.
II. THE GREAT PRINCIPLE CONTAINED IN THE TEXT. The text is a whole. One part must be taken with reference to the other. The wise man says it is the glory of God to do that which is not the glory of kings to do. Government is necessary to the very existence of society. There can be no government without law. It is the glory of all governments to frame wise and salutary laws for the well-being and true happiness of society, to guard these by sanctions, and by all the majesty of power. Governments do not originate that which is moral in law. They do not create the distinctions between right and wrong, good and evil. Magistrates are the representatives of law. They are to see that it is respected and maintained, and they are to punish law-breakers; if not, it is because offenders baffle pursuit, and hide themselves. If kings do not search out a matter, it is because they are indifferent to the conduct of their subjects, and care not whether they are virtuous or vicious; and then the hour of revolution is at hand; the kingdom will fall. The glory of God is the very opposite to the honour of kings. God is a law-giver. His will is the law of all morals. His being is the foundation of all law. And yet He has made provision for pardoning men. He hides, He conceals their sins. He does this by an atonement. It is the glory of God to save men by the death of Christ, because by saving them thus He may magnify His own law, and honour His own government. Governments have no gospel for criminals. God forgives sins.
()You know as much as is good for you, for it is with the mind as with the senses. A greater degree of hearing would incommode us; and a nicer degree of seeing would terrify us. If our eyes could see things microscopically, we should be afraid to move. Thus our knowledge is suited to our situation and circumstances. Were we informed more fully beforehand of the good things prepared for us by Providence, from that moment we should cease to enjoy the good we possess, become indifferent to present duties, and be filled with restless impatience. Or suppose the things foreknown were gloomy and adverse; what dismay and despondency would be the consequence of the discovery; and how many times should we suffer in imagination what we now only endure once in reality! Who would wish to draw back a veil which saves them from so many disquietudes? If some of you had formerly known the troubles through which you have since waded, you would have fainted under the prospect. But what we know not now we shall know hereafter.
()Machinery boxed in goes round and accomplishes its work as well as if it were all exposed to view. At one extremity the raw material goes in, and at another the manufactured article comes out. This is all that the visitor sees. For once, and to instruct a stranger, the master may take the covering off, and lay bare the intricate accumulation of cylinders and wheels; but soon he shuts the door again. Thus has the Author of salvation in the case of some opened up in the processes of His providence, which are usually conducted in secret.
TopicsBread, Cause, Drink, Eat, Enemy, Hater, Hating, Hunger, Hungry, Thirst, Thirsty
Outline1. observations about kings
8. and about avoiding causes of quarrels
Dictionary of Bible ThemesProverbs 25:21
8243 ethics, social
8301 love, and enemies
5495 revenge, and retaliation
5499 reward, divine
6655 forgiveness, application
8728 enemies, of Israel and Judah
8730 enemies, of believers
8737 evil, responses to
8813 riches, spiritual
LibraryAn Unwalled City
'He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.'--PROVERBS xxv. 28. The text gives us a picture of a state of society when an unwalled city is no place for men to dwell in. In the Europe of today there are still fortified places, but for the most part, battlements are turned into promenades; the gateways are gateless; the sweet flowers blooming where armed feet used to tread; and men live securely without bolts and bars. But their spirits cannot yet …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
God's Glory in Hiding Sin
A sermon (No. 2838) intended for reading on Lord's Day, July 5th 1903, delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on Lord's Day evening, July 15th, 1877. "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter."--Proverbs 25:2. The translation of our text, if it had been more literal, would have run thus, "It is the glory of God to cover a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter." For the sake of variety in language …
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs
A sermon (No. 2866) delivered on Thursday Evening, January 6th, 1876, by C.H. Spurgeon at The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."--Proverbs 25:25. This is a text for summertime rather than for a winter's evening. It is only on one of our hottest summer days that we could fully appreciate the illustration here employed; we need to be parched with thirst to be able to feel the value of cold waters to quench our thirst. At the same …
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs
That a Man Should not be a Curious Searcher of the Sacrament, but a Humble Imitator of Christ, Submitting his Sense to Holy Faith
The Voice of the Beloved Thou must take heed of curious and useless searching into this most profound Sacrament, if thou wilt not be plunged into the abyss of doubt. He that is a searcher of Majesty shall be oppressed by the glory thereof.(1) God is able to do more than man can understand. A pious and humble search after truth is to be allowed, when it is always ready to be taught, and striving to walk after the wholesome opinions of the fathers. 2. Blessed is the simplicity which leaveth alone …
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ
Epistle xxxix. To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria.
To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Gregory to Eulogius, &c. As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country (Prov. xxv. 25). But what can be good news to me, so far as concerns the behoof of holy Church, but to hear of the health and safety of your to me most sweet Holiness, who, from your perception of the light of truth, both illuminate the same Church with the word of preaching, and mould it to a better way by the example of your manners? As often, too, as I recall in …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
Epistle Xlii. To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria.
To Eulogius, Patriarch of Alexandria. Gregory to Eulogius, &c. We return great thanks to Almighty God, that in the mouth of the heart a sweet savour of charity is experienced, when that which is written is fulfilled, As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country (Prov. xxv. 25). For I had previously been greatly disturbed by a letter from Boniface the Chartularius, my responsalis, who dwells in the royal city, saying that your to me most sweet and pleasant Holiness had suffered …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
Wherefore Christ Undertook a Method of Setting us Free So Painful and Laborious, when a Word from Him, or an Act of his Will, Would Alone
Wherefore Christ undertook a method of setting us free so painful and laborious, when a word from Him, or an act of His will, would alone have sufficed. 19. Then he labours to teach and persuade us that the devil could not and ought not to have claimed for himself any right over man, except by the permission of God, and that, without doing any injustice to the devil, God could have called back His deserter, if He wished to show him mercy, and have rescued him by a word only, as though any one denies …
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux
"Boast not Thyself of To-Morrow, for Thou Knowest not what a Day May Bring Forth. "
Prov. xxvii. 1.--"Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." There are some peculiar gifts that God hath given to man in his first creation, and endued his nature with, beyond other living creatures, which being rightly ordered and improved towards the right objects, do advance the soul of man to a wonderful height of happiness, that no other sublunary creature is capable of. But by reason of man's fall into sin, these are quite disordered and turned out of …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Love in the Old Covenant.
"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another."-- John xiii. 34. In connection with the Holy Spirit's work of shedding abroad the love of God in our hearts, the question arises: What is the meaning of Christ's word, "A new commandment I give unto you"? How can He designate this natural injunction, "To love one another," a new commandment? This offers no difficulty to those who entertain the erroneous view that during His ministry on earth Christ established a new and higher religion, …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
The Old Testament Canon from Its Beginning to Its Close.
The first important part of the Old Testament put together as a whole was the Pentateuch, or rather, the five books of Moses and Joshua. This was preceded by smaller documents, which one or more redactors embodied in it. The earliest things committed to writing were probably the ten words proceeding from Moses himself, afterwards enlarged into the ten commandments which exist at present in two recensions (Exod. xx., Deut. v.) It is true that we have the oldest form of the decalogue from the Jehovist …
Samuel Davidson—The Canon of the Bible
How the Silent and the Talkative are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 15.) Differently to be admonished are the over-silent, and those who spend time in much speaking. For it ought to be insinuated to the over-silent that while they shun some vices unadvisedly, they are, without its being perceived, implicated in worse. For often from bridling the tongue overmuch they suffer from more grievous loquacity in the heart; so that thoughts seethe the more in the mind from being straitened by the violent guard of indiscreet silence. And for the most part they …
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great
God's Glory the Chief End of Man's Being
Rom. xi. 36.--"Of him and through him, and to him, are all things, to whom be glory for ever." And 1 Cor. x. 31--"Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." All that men have to know, may be comprised under these two heads,--What their end is, and What is the right way to attain to that end? And all that we have to do, is by any means to seek to compass that end. These are the two cardinal points of a man's knowledge and exercise. Quo et qua eundum est,--Whither to go, and what way to go. …
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning
Being the fruits of true Christianity: Teaching husbands, wives, parents, children, masters, servants, etc., how to walk so as to please God. With a word of direction to all backsliders. Advertisement by the Editor This valuable practical treatise, was first published as a pocket volume about the year 1674, soon after the author's final release from his long and dangerous imprisonment. It is evident from the concluding paragraph that he considered his liberty and even his life to be still in a very …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
Appendix v. Rabbinic Theology and Literature
1. The Traditional Law. - The brief account given in vol. i. p. 100, of the character and authority claimed for the traditional law may here be supplemented by a chronological arrangement of the Halakhoth in the order of their supposed introduction or promulgation. In the first class, or Halakhoth of Moses from Sinai,' tradition enumerates fifty-five,  which may be thus designated: religio-agrarian, four;  ritual, including questions about clean and unclean,' twenty-three;  concerning …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
The History Books
[Illustration: (drop cap T) Assyrian idol-god] Thus little by little the Book of God grew, and the people He had chosen to be its guardians took their place among the nations. A small place it was from one point of view! A narrow strip of land, but unique in its position as one of the highways of the world, on which a few tribes were banded together. All around great empires watched them with eager eyes; the powerful kings of Assyria, Egypt, and Babylonia, the learned Greeks, and, in later times, …
Mildred Duff—The Bible in its Making
The Ninth Commandment
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.' Exod 20: 16. THE tongue which at first was made to be an organ of God's praise, is now become an instrument of unrighteousness. This commandment binds the tongue to its good behaviour. God has set two natural fences to keep in the tongue, the teeth and lips; and this commandment is a third fence set about it, that it should not break forth into evil. It has a prohibitory and a mandatory part: the first is set down in plain words, the other …
Thomas Watson—The Ten Commandments
Many specimens of the so-called Wisdom Literature are preserved for us in the book of Proverbs, for its contents are by no means confined to what we call proverbs. The first nine chapters constitute a continuous discourse, almost in the manner of a sermon; and of the last two chapters, ch. xxx. is largely made up of enigmas, and xxxi. is in part a description of the good housewife. All, however, are rightly subsumed under the idea of wisdom, which to the Hebrew had always moral relations. The Hebrew …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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