It’s dark here. Dank and cool. Looking up, light seeps through a crack along the horizon. No. It’s a door! What is on the other side? Try the door. Will it open?
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29.
Hmm. Moses wrote this about 3500 years ago, at the end of 120 years traversing earth, after 40 years circling the desert, soon before he trekked up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo to the top of Pisgah across from Jericho, where God showed him all the land that He swore to give to Abraham’s people. Alone with the LORD, Moses died, and God buried him. It is all so fascinating.
Who wrote the closing chapters of Deuteronomy after Moses died? How did he know God buried Moses in the valley of Moab in a place no one would ever find? A mystery, only understood as a “secret thing of God” as Moses had so poignantly described God’s vastness in contrast to humanity’s limitations. However, Moses opens life’s door a crack, and the light of revelation pours through. What we know is what God chooses to reveal: “those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever,” Moses informs us. Nature informs us. Our conscience informs us. And we are responsible for knowing and arranging our lives according to that revelation. That revelation in Scripture and in nature poured into our hearts (our conscience and whole inner being).
In Bibliology, the science and study of Scripture, the key passages regarding revelation (“the process by which God imparted to human beings truths they otherwise could not know”*), are usually broken down into the categories of general revelation (through conscience and nature/creation), and special revelation (divinely inspired Scriptures). In the courses I’ve taken, this passage in Deuteronomy has not been presented as a key passage (although it surfaces somewhere), but I think it should be placed up there with II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21; and Romans 1: 18-23.
My points, however, in bringing up this verse can be stated in three principles or directives:
1.) Study to discover what you can learn;
2.) Acquiesce to the limited span of the light;
3. Be transformed by obedience to the revealed light of truth.
Thus, we learn to walk by faith. Walking by faith requires learning and knowing all you can and using it well, while trusting God (leaning not to one’s own understanding or guess work) in everything — revealed or not! Thus, sight is not needed in the dark, but trust- faith is.
Deuteronomy 29:29 makes me smile. It provides direction for exercising discernment (sorting ideas for their value and use), and the result for me is increased faith. “Faith comes by hearing” God’s Word, says Romans 10:17. I hear and observe all I can from the Scriptures, helping me to interpret my life, nature, and the world. I listen to the voice of the Lord in His Word through the Holy Spirit illuminating my heart, and I seek to walk in the Spirit as best I can.
I’m learning more about “letting God be God” in all His mystery, fussing less about what I don’t understand and enjoying more what He shows me, which is more than I can handle anyway. It will keep me busy for the rest of this life and for eternity. God is omniscient, all-knowing. I reflect Him by being “always learning.” He knows; I learn. When I learn what He reveals, I reflect Him. When I trust Him for what He doesn’t reveal, I reflect Him.
When I see Jesus, I will become like Him. Why? Because I was created to mirror Him in many and mysterious ways. Morally, creatively, intelligently, socially. . . I’m not sure how far this image identity goes. I know I will not become God: while He has gifted us with finite versions of many of His attributes, there are those attributes that belong alone to the divine, such as His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, and infinity. Yet, even His “incommunicable attributes” find some minute spark in us, as in “He knows: I learn” (continuous present tense). There’s a mystery here — “the secret things belong to God.” Yet, there’s a revelation here that belongs “to us and our children forever” — “Let Us make man in Our image.” Accept and treasure this light, because He trustingly entrusted it to us.
A mirror always looks like whatever is in front of it. We are mirrors, distortedly reflecting something of God now. When Christ appears, we mirrors will truly reflect Him. When we see Jesus, Jesus will see Jesus in us.
For now, we see through a glass darkly, but then the door will open, and we will see Him face to face.
*The Open Bible, NKJV Study Bible, p. 203.