James Smith, 1859
"The Lord does not see it!" Ezekiel 9:9
"My way is hidden from the Lord!" Isaiah 40:27
"The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record!" Hosea 13:12
The only thing some fear is exposure. They would not be exhibited in their true colors before their fellow-men — for all the world! They wish to live and act in the dark. They do not fear the eye of God — but they dread the eye of man! In public they are one thing — and in private just the opposite! No one really knows them.
There is a vast amount of hypocrisy in the world. Multitudes wear a mask. They are not at all — what they seem to be. This is sad. The consequences will be fearful by and bye.
Open sinners offend God and men — secret sinners offend God only! But God is the principal party. Better offend the whole world — than offend God. But who are these secret sinners?
There is the sly drunkard. The man who only gets intoxicated at home, or who manages to drink much, and yet never reel in the street. He robs his family. He introduces disease into his body. He squanders his property. He becomes selfish. He neglects his duties; moral, entirely; domestic, in part. Few, if any suspect him, until at length his bloated countenance begins to tell tales. "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
There is the crafty deceiver. He practices deception upon the ignorant and unwary. He talks like an honest man — but he acts like a rogue. Believe his plausible pretensions — and he will be sure to pick your pocket. His words are smooth; his tongue is oily; his professions are fair; his offers appear to be generous — but his aim is to make you his dupe! Few detect him — until they are caught in his net! "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
There are the self-righteous. They appear very devout. They perform many duties. Their views of truth are, perhaps, tolerably sound. Their external deportment is correct. They are sure they are safe for Heaven; they wish everyone to think that they are right. They talk of Christ — but they do not rest alone on his finished work. They speak of the Holy Spirit — but they have never felt his regenerating and renewing operations. They boast of free grace — but in heart they think much more of their own performances. They imagine God must love them — because they love themselves. They conclude they must be saved — because if they have not made God their debtor — they have done much that on account, of which he cannot reject them.
Self-love is the root of their profession. Self-esteem is the ground of their confidence. They work for life, not from life. They are under the legal covenant, not the evangelical. They have never been stripped before God's throne. The law has never come home, in its convincing and condemning power, to their consciences. They have never had their mouths stopped, or been brought in guilty before God. Therefore they prefer their own sandy foundation — to the Rock of Ages! And they stumble at the stumbling stone, even Christ, who is the wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption of his people. "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
There are the self-deceivers. These imagine that they are rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. They have elected themselves to everlasting life — and conclude, without any just grounds, that God has done so too. Because they have never thoroughly examined their hearts in the light of God's Law, or carefully compared what they call their experience, with the Biblical evidences of a new birth — they conclude that they are Christians — though they are still in their natural sinful condition.
They take home all the promises — and put from
them all the threatenings. They make use of evidences for
others — but see not the need of doing so for themselves. They take it for
granted that they are right — but are laboring under a most fearful
deception. They are in the state which Solomon refers to when he said,
"There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not
washed from their filthiness!" (Proverbs 30:12). "These are those who make
themselves rich — yet have nothing!" (Proverbs 13:7).
The blood of Christ is not at the root of their profession;
the life of God is not in their souls;
the power of the Holy Spirit has never been experienced in their hearts;
they deceive themselves — and they deceive others. "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
Reader, are you either of these characters? Are you sure that you are not? Search and look. Self-examination never injures a real Christian!
The power of SIN is great. And one of the most fearful things in sin is its power of self-concealment. It hides its own deformity from many — who are actually under its influence.
The subtlety of SATAN is great. He is said to deceive the whole world (Rev. 12:9). Suppose he should have deceived you! If you are acting under his influence — you have deceived yourself! Your sin may be hidden from men, it may be hidden from yourself — but it is not hidden from God! His eyes are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. He searches the heart and tries the thoughts! He knows exactly what is your state — and it would be well for you to know it; for if it is bad — it may now be changed; or if it is good — you may rejoice and bless God for it.
The revealing day is coming; then if wrong, God will set our iniquities before his face, and our secret sins in the light of his countenance. He will expose every secret sinner. He will show to the whole world what you have been doing in the dark! Hear his own word, "For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil!" (Eccles. 12:14). The sins that are hidden now — will be hidden no longer! But then shall be brought to pass the fearful prediction written, "The sinners in Zion (God's professing people) shake with fear! Terror seizes the godless! Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" (Isaiah 33:14).
Fear now may drive us to the Savior — but there will then be no Savior to flee to! The Judge on the throne will act justly and impartially, and will render to every man according to his deeds. Many will be condemned — who expected to be acquitted! Many will be driven to Hell — who were sure of being invited to Heaven! Every false covering will then be stripped off, every deceitful heart will be laid bare — and no longer will anyone say, "My way is hidden from the Lord!"
But there is another and better sense in which our sins may be hidden, and that is, by obtaining the pardon of them. If we detect our sins, if we confess them before God, if we plead the blood and obedience of Jesus for their pardon — God will blot them out! He will cover them, so as to conceal them forever. Then we shall know what the Psalmist meant when he exclaimed, "Oh, the blessedness of the man whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Oh, the blessedness of the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit!" (Psalm 32:1,2).
When God forgives the penitent sinner, who stands before the throne of his grace, pleading the merits of his Son — he casts all his sins behind his back — or he throws them into the depths of the sea! They are thus covered, hidden, and concealed forever!
Let us, therefore, conceal our sins no longer; let us confess them before God, and obtain the pardon of them. Let us never profess before our fellow-men — what we do not really possess. Let us make our lives — the index of our hearts!