The Hidden Kingdom
Jesus’ teachings concerning the kingdom of God often included references to hiddenness and obscurity.
The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened. (Matthew 13:33, emphasis mine)
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:44, emphasis mine)
If His kingdom is hidden, where is it hiding? Obviously it is hidden from the normal glance. In this present age, it is not easily recognized or widely pursued. It is so counter cultural that few can perceive it! Actually, no one can see the kingdom unless they are born-again (see John 3:3). It takes a miracle of grace for any of us to perceive the obscure kingdom! Jesus is obviously contrasting the kingdom of heaven with the kingdoms of this world.
When people find the obscure treasure of the kingdom of God they are filled with joy and are willing to trade anything this world offers for it! This is so contrary to the prevailing values of our society and world, and sadly, to much of what happens in the Church. On every front we are constantly bombarded with very different images of success and significance.
Obscurity and the Glory of God
God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no necessary relation to anything outside of Himself. His interest in His creatures arises from His sovereign good pleasure, not from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in Himself. (A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, p.52)
Tozer has often helped me embrace a bigger concept of the majesty of God. It is the majesty and glory of God that explains God’s own contentment in obscurity. He has no needs outside of Himself. He does not need anything this world offers to make Himself significant! Like Paul told the Athenians,
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since he Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things… (Acts 17:24-25)
Paul here touches on something very important to our discussion. First, he clearly states the fact that God is the Creator of all things. Next he shows us that His reason for doing so was not to meet some unfulfilled need in Himself! This is so critical to our understanding of God’s glory and God’s own obscurity.
Nothing is necessary to Him. He therefore can abide happily in obscurity.