There are certain things that God will tell us that He wants us to keep secret.
The Bible has many illustrations of this:
- In Genesis 37*, God shows Joseph that he will become the ruler over his father and his brothers; but when he shares this with them, not only do his brother ridicule him but plot and plan to sell him, and to make matters worse, lie to their father that Joseph had died; and choose to live the rest of their lives as a lie.
- In Judges 16**, Samson is told by his mum not to share the secret of his strength as a promise to God… but he does, which leads to his downfall.
In the New Testament, God commands us to pray in secret.
In Matthew 6:6, Jesus says:-
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
[New Living Translation]
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So why are these examples here in the Bible? What can they teach us?
We have found 4 key things:-
1. God wants to share a part of His plan for us with us.
God could easily do whatever He wants to do simply because He is God and we are not! But He chooses to not only include us in His plans; but to share with us what He wants us to do! [How awesome is He!!!]
2. By sharing it with us, God sees how much we trust Him.
With everything that God speaks to us about [whether through a dream, inner voice, or another person], there is a “waiting process” to occur.
- God spoke to Abraham and said that he would be known as the ‘father of nations‘ and yet at the time, Abraham was fatherless.
Abraham had to go through a waiting process.***
- God spoke to Noah to build an ark for a storm would come. Noah had no idea what he was building nor what a storm was, and yet trusted God enough to build it; even though he may have been perceived as mad by others around him; he heard from God and went straight to work.
Building the ark was Noah’s waiting process.****
- Gabriel, one of God’s angels came to Mary and informed her that she was going to conceive a Holy child through the incarnation of the Holy Spirit.
Mary went through her own waiting process.*****
3. God is patient with us.
- Abraham & Sarah became impatient in waiting on God’s promise that he had a child with his maidservant; Ishmael. However, God kept His promise and Sarah became pregnant as an old woman and gave birth to Isaac. Even with Ishmael being born out of God’s will, we see in Romans 4:20-25 & Hebrews 11 that Abraham is still known as a man who’s faith never wavered.
- Mary, whilst being visited by Gabriel was worried at first, but yet trusted that if it were God’s will, then she was His servant and would do whatever He would ask of her [Luke 1].
4. The power is in trusting Him.
Sounds like an obvious one, doesn’t it? But often at times when we share what God has specifically spoken to, it is as though we are seeking some sort of validation from someone else. Perhaps the reason why God shares with us in confidence is because He wants us to do just that – keep it in confidence. For example, if you shared something personal with someone, how would you feel if they shared it with another? Now, you may not have told them to keep it to themselves; but you would hope [at least at times] that they would use discernment and safe-guard your confidentiality. What if God expects the same with us? What if we are blocking some of our blessings because we are not guarding our tongue?
Matthew 6:6 is a command. When we pray, we are to shut the door behind us. It is something that is meant to be done in secret. Not only does it develop our personal relationship with God but it strengthens our trust in Him. The more time you spend with someone, the more trust you gain for that someone. The verse prior in Matthew 6:5 says that when you pray, don’t do if you are doing so to be noticed; rather pray in the unseen; where only your Father in Heaven sees you [paraphrased].
Perhaps the Bible’s repetition on praying is because God wants us to realize the power of prayer and personal prayer; and once you pray,once it has been given completely to God, not only are you left with an overwhelming sense of peace but as you leave the situation in His hands, He has full control to work with it for your best!
“Here’s what I want you to do:
Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.
[The Message Translation]
Bible verses used:
* Genesis 37 [Joseph’s dreams];
** Judges 16:4-22 [Samson & Delilah]
*** Genesis 17:5 [Abraham, father of many nations];
**** Genesis 6:9-Genesis 9 [Noah building an ark];
***** Luke 1:26-38 [Mary to give birth to a Holy child, Jesus Christ].
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