If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Deuteronomy 29, Psalm 119:49–72, Isaiah 56, Matthew 4. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Deuteronomy 29.
Having repeated God’s laws and the terms of his covenant in the previous chapters of Deuteronomy (29:1), these last few chapters of Deuteronomy record some of Moses’ direct teachings to God’s people. Verse 2 indicates the beginning of one of these talks when it says, “Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them….” Today’s passage emphasizes once again the importance of obedience to God’s laws. Although God’s people were hardheaded and hardhearted (vv. 2-4), Moses reminded them of how God provided for them (vv. 5-6) and fought for them, when necessary (vv. 7-8), on their long journey to the promised land. Moses urges God’s people in this section
Now in verses 9-28, Moses states his intention to have Israel re-affirm their covenant to the Lord (vv. 9-14), reminding them not to worship idols (vv. 16-18) and the curses that will come if they do turn aside to idols (vv. 19-28). Then verse 29 drops this intriguing statement: “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.” There is so much about God’s will that is impossible for us to understand. How can one God be three persons? How can Christ be both human and divine? When will Christ return? These and other questions are beyond us. They require infinite knowledge to understand; therefore, they are secrets for God himself only to know. The middle of verse 29 reminds us that “the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever….” This is referring to the promise of blessing if they obeyed God’s covenant and the promise of curses if they disobeyed. God had revealed these things, so Israel should know them and claim them as belonging “to us.” The reason God revealed these things is “…that we may follow all the words of this law” (v. 29c). The promises of blessing and curse exist to provide God’s people with all the motivation they should need to be obedient to God’s covenant commands.
This is a verse to memorize or at least remember, because we tend to reverse it in our thinking. We can easily become obsessed with “the secret things” that belong only to God. They can occupy our minds and thoughts and become the sole subject of our discussion and debates with others. When that happens, we tend to forget “the revealed things” that “belong to us.” In other words, we ignore God’s commands which God has revealed and give ourselves to meditation on things that not only are not necessary for our obedience but are not even possible for us to understand. If parts of God’s word do not make sense to you; if you have unanswered questions, especially if they begin with the word “why,” this verse is a good one to keep in mind. Some things are understandable only to God. In those cases, we are not responsible to understand the “secret things;” instead, we should give ourselves to obedience to “the things revealed.” There is more than enough truth revealed in scripture for us to learn, think about, and live out. Focus on those and leave to God the stuff that only he is capable of handling.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.