[Note: As I am reading through the Bible this year (NASB-95 this time), I am making notes on passages about things I don’t recall noticing before. I will be sharing these probably once a week for the forseeable future.]
Deuteronomy 29:29 is a great verse. It says, “the secret things belong to the LORD.” I mean, that’s not all it says, but that’s the part we remember and hear about the most. When we hear that, it reminds us God didn’t give us every bit of information we might want to know. After all, it isn’t faith if there isn’t some things we just have to trust God about.
But unfortunately, I think we have grabbed on to this part of the verse and missed the whole point of what God was saying here because we take it out of context.
This verse comes at the end of an 82-verse-long warning (yes, you read that right, 82 verses of warning) of what will happen to the Israelites if they don’t keep God’s commands. Punishments, destruction, forsakenness, and much more are detailed by Moses to the people as incentives to stay faithful to God, to learn and meditate on His commandments. If you were to read through those 82 verses, you would get a definite sense of “we’d better be faithful and keep God’s commandments, because the punishment for not doing so is bad—very bad.”
Then, at the end of this message that God through Moses is hammering home, we get the words, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God; but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, so we might do all the words of this law.”
If you want to know what this verse is really saying, according to the context, let me tell you. Moses is standing there, warning the people, and when he gets to this verse, the message is, Sure, there are some things God hasn’t chosen to reveal to us, but this isn’t one of them—you’ve been given sufficient warning.
The purpose isn’t to say God is keeping secrets, but to get them to obey because of what has already been revealed.
There are things that even today God has chosen not to reveal (such as when Jesus will return). But He has revealed enough for us to know His will, the blessings and rewards that come with obeying Him, but also the punishments that come with ignoring His will. In other words, we are without excuse.
So, are you following what has been revealed?
-Bradley S. Cobb