The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the revealed things
belong to us and to our children for ever, to observe
all the words of this law.
I was hiking in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and came to a sign that said: “Warning: Do Not Go Beyond This Point!” I did not know what lay beyond that point, but I did not go there! I often think of that warning sign when thinking about God and life’s Whys and Wherefores — “Warning: Do Not Go Beyond This Point!” That’s because I can tend to take on questions far beyond my pay grade and try to unscrew the inscrutable and fathom the unfathomable. I ask why bad things happen to good people, why my friend has cancer, how did evil originate, why are there hungry children, when is Jesus coming back, and why does God love me, a sinner. There are so many things I do not know or understand. They are beyond me.
In today’s Scripture Moses is giving final instruction to the Israelites, encamped on the plains of Moab and poised to enter the Promised Land. Moses knows there are important things they must know in order to possess the land and flourish in their new life. So Moses reminds the chronically stubborn people that God has His secrets He keeps to Himself, and they have their things they need to do. He says the “secret things” belong to the Lord, and the “revealed things” belong to them and their children to observe. Moses is saying in other words: “You leave the big questions about life to God, and you do what you know to do!”
I am often reminded that the “Why” question doesn’t get us very far in life. The “Why” question hasn’t helped with the sudden death of a child, a friend dying from ALS, destructive forest fires, and why God loves a certain sinner. In fact, I have a file marked “I Don’t Understand!” that keeps growing.
Instead of asking “Why?” I am finding it far better to ask “What?”, as in, What does God want me to do about a friend who is dying, the aftermath of a hurricane, or God so loving me? God does reveal quite a lot about the “What?” He wants me to do!
In the face of evil and human suffering the Scriptures do not provide us a definitive “Why?”. There are many parts of our faith shrouded in mystery; we may never know the reason for our troubles or suffering. We do after all, as Paul cautions, “see through a glass darkly” (1 Corinthians 13:12). God graciously has given us the Scriptures, not to satisfy our curiosity, but to transform us. The Savior’s goal is not knowledge, but obedience to His will (see James 2:18-19). After all, knowledge puffs up and makes us proud, but love builds up (see 1 Corinthians 8:1).
I am blessed every Wednesday morning to meet with a group of men to study the Bible and pray. We do spend some time talking politics, solving world problems and catching up on the news. Then we open up the Scriptures. I’ve always enjoyed meeting with the guys as we’ve wrestled with and covered a lot of Scripture and theology the last eleven years. But every Wednesday I am so grateful that, providentially, I look up to a Scripture plaque on the wall across from where I sit; it is Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord
require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
I leave there every Wednesday reminded that God has His secrets, “but the revealed things belong to us and to our children for ever, to observe all the words of the law.”
That’s enough for me today Lord: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with You! I’ll leave the bigger secrets and stuff for You to handle!
Grace and peace,