That’s the smile behind a series of urban legends about shrewd rip offs. One is a rumor about an army post that had experienced a series of thefts. When a covered truck with a nervous-looking civilian driver pulled up to the exit gate, guards were suspicious. A senior Military Police officer standing nearby saw what was happening and stepped forward to give his young deputies a lesson in how to search a departing vehicle. Determined to show that no mischief would get past him, he looked in the back of the truck, under the canopy, in the tire well, under the hood, behind the seat. Satisfied that he had missed nothing, and proud of the lesson he had just given his young MPs, the officer waved the truck through. It was only later that he learned why the driver had looked so nervous — he was stealing the truck.
The shepherd-soldier-musician-king David alludes to such cleverness—used for good— when he sings of his God, “To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious, you show yourself shrewd (2Sam 22:27 NIV).
Let’s play the allusion out. Who would God consider devious enough to act shrewdly with them? And what if it was the Lord himself who wanted to hide in plain sight? Who would be the pure to whom he would show himself pure, and the devious to whom he would show himself shrewd?
Run the flag of the kingdom of God to the top of the pole. Who did God hiding in Jesus seem to regard as “pure”? Who did he seem to consider “devious”? Could this really be said about self-admitting sinners… and self-described defenders of moral and spiritual rightness?
Or is that pushing the idea way too far? Hang with me… :-)