Deuteronomy 29:29 - Secrets and Revelations
Deuteronomy 29:29 - Secrets and Revelations
Sometimes we think about the people who don’t know the Lord. What would it be like, not having true faith, not knowing Christ? We can’t imagine it, yet so many are “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). When we reflect on this, we should be filled with compassion and eager to spread the Word. It should also make us deeply grateful for what we know.
We know God, because God has revealed Himself to us so abundantly. And yet He hasn’t told us everything – secrets remain. In the words of our text:
The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.Deuteronomy 29:29
Moses says this with Israel standing on Canaan’s doorstep. The Lord had delivered them from Egypt, had endured their constant rebellion, and had disciplined them with that time of wandering. Now, finally, they’re about to cross the Jordan.
And at this occasion, the Israelites must consider what God has revealed to them over the years (vv. 2-3). First was God’s miraculous power, redeeming them from slavery. Then was God’s faithful guidance, ushering them to this place. And God’s great patience, sticking with sinful Israel so long. There was also God’s provision, in clothing, food, and water – all those years in the wilderness. And don’t forget God’s latest triumphs over Sihon and Og. These weren’t irrelevant tales from distant history. This is how God had revealed Himself!
Instead of getting anxious the next time they faced an enemy, or complaining the next time food was running low, or turning to false security when they felt afraid, they needed to remember. What has this God shown about Himself? For those with eyes to see, that reassuring hand was always there, extended from heaven and resting on his children.
And our eyes too must be opened. How has the Lord always taken care of this world, his church, and our own lives? To really know God, this act of recalling is vital. We look back and we see that unwavering pattern of God’s faithfulness to us in Christ.
But besides remembering history, God would have us reading Scripture. These are the “things revealed” that speak most loudly, most clearly. Moses says, “The things revealed belong to us ... that we may follow all the words of this law” (29:29).
“This is what we have,” Moses says to the people, holding up God’s commandments. “This is your GPS as you navigate the Promised Land. This is the lamp to your feet: God’s Word. He’s told us the terms of the covenant, what He will do, and what we must do.” So it remains for us, who have received the full Scriptures. We have God’s Word, able to instruct and equip us in every good thing.
Yet there remains “classified” information. Across some parts of God’s will, it’s as if a curtain has been pulled – things we’re not allowed to know. For example, as the people of Israel stood outside Canaan, their thoughts turned to the coming years. Just what did the Lord have in store for them? How were things going to turn out, once they crossed the Jordan? Would there be endless war and tribulation in the land? Untold prosperity and increase? This was the future, hidden in God’s counsel. These were the “secret things.”
But the point is, God’s people have to embrace what we know. We can build confidently on what’s been revealed. Moses says to Israel, “If in that land you keep the law, if you walk daily with the Lord and put your trust in Him, there’s no secret about what’ll happen: you’ll be richly blessed! You can count on it: God will be with you always.”
As pilgrims and wanderers, we too look ahead. There’s still so much about tomorrow, and next month, and next year that we do not know. There’s so much of life’s pathway that’s undisclosed, hidden from our view. Yet we can say it with Moses,
The secret things belong to the Lord our God.Deuteronomy 29:29
That’s an immensely comforting thing to confess: they belong to God. It’s not as if He doesn’t know. It’s not as if the future is out of his hands.
No, this is a knowledge that’s completely his! He has seen behind the curtain and He’s directing it all. We gladly leave the secret things to our God, because He’s revealed that we can trust Him always
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