Profound and hidden things

Business Insider recently ran an article about Nelson Shanks’ portrait of President Bill Clinton.  The portrait is no longer hanging in the National Gallery and some are saying it was removed at the Clintons’ request.  The former president and his wife do not like this particular portrait because it contains a shadow.

Nelson Shanks was interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News and told them he sneaked a reference to the scandal over Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky into the portrait.  Shanks told the paper he used a mannequin in a blue dress to cast a shadow and then painted the shadow on the mantle in the portrait as a metaphor for the shadow that Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky had cast over his presidency.

People are expecting Hillary Clinton to run for president in the next election and Business Insider reached out to her representatives for comment.  They did not receive a comment before the article went to print.  Political candidates have a hard time staying out of the limelight and the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow.

This is not a political blog and I don’t endorse one candidate over another.  We aren’t even close to election time and I, for one, am happy to put off the political rhetoric for as long as possible.  I just thought the story from the Business Insider was interesting and it reminded me of a verse from Daniel.

The prophet Daniel was among the first group taken captive when King Nebuchadnezzar swept into Jerusalem.  Daniel was young, smart and healthy.  The Babylonian king hoped to use Daniel and those like Daniel, as slaves.  King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream one day that he wished someone could interpret and Daniel volunteered.  Daniel explained the dream saying:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.”  (Daniel 2:20-22)

God reveals the deep and hidden things of our lives.  We often speak about God’s grace and forgiveness, but we seldom speak about the fact that God doesn’t hide our sins, he forgives them – after those sins are brought to the light.

Reading the Business Insider article made me wonder about the previous men who lived in that White House.  All of our presidents were flawed human beings just like us.  I would hate for my weaknesses to be broadcast on the evening news but it might be a good idea to remember that they are broadcast in the halls of heaven.  

Moses was speaking to the Transjordan Tribes of Israel when he said, “But if you fail to do this, you will be sinning against the LORD; and you may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).   There were two tribes that asked for the land on the other side of the Jordan River and Moses thought they were trying to get out of fighting with their brothers for the Promised Land.  The men of the Transjordan Tribes assured Moses that they would fight, they just wanted to return to the other side when the battles were over.  Verse 23 above is Moses’ response to their request.  If they failed to keep that agreement, their sin would find them.

Sin has a way of finding us no matter how far we run with it.  It is so much easier to stay and tell the truth the first time.  Part of Clinton’s trouble in office was that he tried to cover up his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and as a result, he told many more lies to cover the original mistakes.  As a wise man once said, “When you are in a hole, stop digging.”  

It is good to stop and take inventory on occasion.  Are there any lies that we need to bring to the light of day and make right with God and others?  Are there shadows on our portraits?  We all have them and with God, they are as prominently displayed on the walls of heaven as the portrait of Clinton used to be displayed in the National Gallery.  

The Bible says that our sins will be found out – we should be sure of that.  The Bible also says, If we confess our sins/shadows then God is faithful and just to forgive them.  Then God cleanses us from all unrighteousness.  

Shadows creep into all of our lives, until the “Light of the World” causes them to fade away.  “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).  Shadows don’t have to follow us around.

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