Summary: God has promised that He will reveal His secret counsel to those who seek Him and obey His word. This studies explains how we find the hidden manna that Jesus promised to give those who overcome.
Hidden in Plain Sight
Revelation 2:17 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it."
God has given each one of us the promise that He will always reveal Himself and His word to those who seek Him and walk in His ways. The person who overcomes has all the promises of God open before them and the secret mysteries of God will be revealed to that person. The hidden things of God are hidden in plain sight for those who set their eyes to search and have an ear to hear God’s instruction.
The things of the Spirit are only revealed through the Spirit for God’s word is spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14). The first requirement is to have an ear to hear. Those who turn away from the word of God cannot overcome and cannot gain understanding. All of the mysteries of God are revealed to those who search His word expectantly. So what does it mean to overcome? The Bible tells us that the sin that abides in the flesh rises up and seeks to overcome us and bring our minds under subjection to sin (Romans 7:23); however, we have the power in Christ to overcome the flesh and bring every thought under subjection to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). The one who overcomes is the one who puts to death the lusts and sinful passions of the flesh as they seek the Lord through His word and spend time with God in prayer.
The hidden manna is the spiritual things revealed to us in the word of God. Manna is the bread from heaven that the children of Israel ate while wandering through the desert as they journeyed to the Promise Land. This manna is the foreshadow of Christ who is the true bread that came from heaven (John 6:32-35). Jesus Christ is also the word of God made flesh (John 1:1). The hidden manna is the bread from heaven revealed to us through the scriptures as we wander through the desert of this world as we journey toward our promise. The majority of those claiming the name of Christ will never find the hidden manna because most people never overcome the flesh and walk in the Spirit. This is why Jesus made the following statement in Matthew 5:
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.
Until you hunger and thirst for the things of God, you will not truly seek it and will not find it. Everyone who seeks finds, but those who do not seek, do not find. This message is preached throughout the Bible. Consider this passage from Proverbs 3:
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, But His secret counsel is with the upright.
The perverse person is someone who is living in the flesh and abiding in sin. Those who walk in uprightness and experience God as they seek Him through the word will find His secret counsel. It is God’s desire to reveal Himself to you, but not unless you step out of complacency and begin to seek Him with all your heart. Proverbs 25:2 says it wonderfully:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Do not forget that God has called us to be kings and priests to our God if we walk in obedience (Revelation 5:10). God conceals the truth of the word (or manna), draws us by His Spirit to seek, and if we respond and apply our hearts to seek Him, He reveals the secrets of His counsel to us. God could instantly enlighten us, but He has chosen to conceal spiritual matters and reveal them only to those who cry out for wisdom, knowledge and understanding as they seek with all their heart.
God is Revealed to the Lowly
One important principle to understand is that God continuously states throughout scripture that He resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. This is affirmed by Jesus in this passage from Matthew 11:
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.
This should be an encouragement for all those who desire to know God and His word. God does not reveal His secret counsel to the PhD, seminary professor, theologian, religious guru or the powerful leaders of our culture. God reveals them to those who are babes in Christ – those who humble themselves before God and feed on His word as they seek Him expectantly. We look to His power, not our education, abilities or authority. Even the theologian must humble himself before God if he is to know the secret counsel of God and see God’s word come alive with instruction, wisdom and promise. It is unfortunate that the high minded always miss the truth of scripture even as they articulate the doctrines that they believe shore up their positions. A man can know the answer to every theological debate and doctrinal position and still miss the understanding God gives to us to know His will, word and how to live in His promise of rest. The apostle Paul explained this in 1 Corinthians 2:2-5