“Indeed, You are a God who hides Himself,” wrote the prophet Isaiah (45:15).
Martin Luther wrote a great deal about this subject of “the hidden God.”
Even when it comes to His beloved children, there are some things which God lets us in on, things which He clearly reveals to us in the Bible. But there are other things over which God draws a curtain. He hides Himself.
Moses put it this way: “The hidden things belong to the Lord our God, but the revealed things belong to us and to our children forever” (Deut. 29:29).
There are “hidden things” about God and God’s ways which trouble us at times. There are questions God has chosen not to answer on this side of heaven. As parents know that there are some things little children are not yet able to handle or process, so God knows there are some things we could not wrap our heads around even if He chose to tell us.
There were some things that God “revealed” to the ancient sufferer, Job.
Job plainly knew about God’s justice, love and wisdom.
But why God allowed the loss of this godly man’s health, wealth and ten children – all this remained a mystery to Job. It was hidden from him.
Paul could not understand why his already difficult ministry was made even more difficult by what he called “a thorn in my flesh.” He begged God to remove it. God did not explain. He simply told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, because My power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God let it go at that.
Moses would have understood this also. After the heartbreaking episode of Israel’s affair with a golden calf, Moses pleads with God for something more to go on. He says to God: “Show me Your glory.”
The Lord’s answer is firm: “You cannot see My face, for no human may see Me and live.”
It isn’t that no revelation of God was given. God did cover Moses with His hand and gave to the old prophet a glimpse of His glory. But neither Moses nor anyone else still trapped in the sinful flesh can look upon the full glory of God, the face of God and survive it. That must wait until heaven itself.
What God does reveal to Moses, and to us too, is His Name – the revelation of Himself as the God of free and faithful grace, the God who showed Himself as the God who punished every sin and forgave every sin at the cross of His only-begotten Son. For now, that is all we need to see – Jesus, who said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father!”