“Secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those that are revealed belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we might obey all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NET).
When I read this verse I thought how applicable this is, not just to the Israelites as they were about to enter the Promised Land, but to Christians today. It seems that many are not satisfied with what God has revealed to us but want more – we want to know the “secret things.”
This is not a new problem amongst God’s people. As we read the letters from the apostles we find that even in those early years there were those who wanted “extra” knowledge. We know this as what developed into gnosticism. The apostle John dealt with this as it was developing.
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth…Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.” (1 John 2:19-21, 24-25 ESV)
We have the knowledge that we need. God has revealed what we need to know in the scriptures. It isn’t a matter of needing more, of needing something extra, but of knowing what God has given us. If we hold on to God’s word, take it into our life and live it, then we will be living in Jesus and living in the Father. We then have the promise of God made to all Christians: eternal life. What more is there that we need?
Have you noticed that often new Christians want to study the book of Revelation? It seems that many think this will reveal to them the future and they want that extra knowledge. Yet this book, like so many of the writings we find in the New Testament, is grounded in the Old Testament. If we understand what God revealed to Israel we will better understand what God has revealed for Christians.
It isn’t a matter of having a perfect understanding of everything in scripture. Some things are difficult to understand. Some things God has chosen not to reveal to us.
I am encouraged when I read the words of the apostle Peter: “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16).
If Peter said that Paul’s writings were hard to understand, who are we to worry about not grasping everything!
It is not the “secret” things that we need to be concerned about. What we should be concentrating on is knowing and obeying those things that enable us to live for Jesus and be with him for eternity. That is a secret worth knowing!
Readings for next week:
15 May – Deuteronomy 28:36-68
16 May – Deuteronomy 29
17 May – Deuteronomy 30
18 May – Deuteronomy 31
19 May – Deuteronomy 32