Things Secret and Things Revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29)

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29:29

After a long list of curses that would make a horror movie script writer salivate, this verse appears. The context is Moses telling Israel that the choice between faithfulness to God and His command or waywardness toward God and disobedience to His command is pretty straightforward. Obedience results in blessing while disobedience results in disciplinary action (cursing). Then Moses transitions from that thought to the next (repentance) with this statement.

It is interesting that this verse is not more commonly quoted. I mean, there are plenty of things in The Bible that I would call secret things and chalk up as belonging to the LORD. For example, how the whole trinity thing works. It’s a secret thing. It’s not that The Bible doesn’t teach it, but that The Bible doesn’t explain it. And this verse reminds me that there are some things that belong exclusively to God (the secret things) and there are some that belong to me (the things revealed). Why the distinction? Why not explain everything?

My thought: faith. If God explains everything; shows me everything; reveals everything, then there’s not much faith required in following Him. Contrariwise, if there are secrets and things I don’t understand — though the explanation for them might be the simplest thing one may ever imagine — then I take those on faith and, by extension, take my God on faith.

There’s another thought that presents itself, viz. that I wouldn’t understand even if God did explain. I get what the illustration of Schrodinger’s Cat is trying to explain — observing the state of a quantum particle changes the state — but I don’t understand how it works. I get what is happening, but the how eludes me. The same is likely true of the workings of the trinity and other secret things. I get the what — three unique individuals that are simultaneously a coherent single entity — but the how escapes me completely. I get that I and every other believer was chosen by God and that we also freely chose Him, the whole predestination versus free will argument. Somehow, some way both are true. I can accept that both are true and understand the workings of each individually, but the both-and of things that my human mind regards as mutually exclusive is nigh impossible to reconcile. These, I think, are a smattering of the secret things that Moses is talking about. How some of the things revealed work is a secret that God will reveal in His own time (or not at all). But there are other things about which The Bible is absolutely silent. Things which are completely secret, as God has said nothing at all about them.

Again, these are just my thoughts. Ultimately, the important part of the equation is not the secret things, because those belong to God. The important part, for me, is the things revealed as those belong to me. They are mine. And I need to act on what is my own, not fritter away my time pining after the secret things that are not mine. God has given me more than enough to do in just “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.” and “Love you neighbor as yourself.” Those, alone, are sufficient to keep me busy until the Second Coming. Add in “Pray without ceasing.”, “In everything give thanks.”, and a host of others and I’ll be busy-busy-busy until well after the Second Coming. The things revealed belong to us. We… I need to be busy about them.


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