Contend Earnestly: God's Greatest Secret: Part I

Monday, July 21, 2008

God's Greatest Secret: Part I

Because I am a leader in the church and because I interact with a lot of people, I get asked many times on why people go through dry times in their spiritual lives. I have been recently coming out of one of my own, so it is always easier to answer a question when you have been staring at it in the mirror for a little bit. Most of the time, instead of answering this question with a “7 Step Program” of "success", which is really just a way to be a moralistic Pharisee, I take my questioner back to the cross.

In short, the reason we go through dry times, and the reason we go through times to where we feel God is “far off” is so that we can grasp the greatness of God and that a “program” is not what we need, but we need the ultimate treasure: Christ.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a good friend about sin. He is going through a time to where he doesn’t realize why his sin is so forcefully being put in front of his eyes for him to see them laid bare.

Instead of trying to get him to look to the “good things of life” or to dismiss his struggles, I took him to the greatest secret that God has withheld from us: the cross (I’ll explain what I mean by this statement in a later post). He didn’t need me to empathize with him, he didn’t need me to just say, “everything will be okay.” What he needed was the reassurance that his salvation and his life is not in his hands, in his works, but only in the hands and the assurance of his Saviour, Jesus Christ.

This takes me to the next series I want to direct this blog to. It is looking at the Old Testament passage of Deuteronomy 29:22-30:4. In the middle of this passage is one of the most abused passages, myself included, to generate trust in God’s ways and not our ways. It is verse 29 of the 29th chapter of Deuteronomy:

"...the secret things belong to the Lord our God.”

This verse is raped from the original intent of the passage and taken to mean that if you don’t get it, it must be a secret of God. This could be true, but I don’t think this is the ultimate meaning of this term as spoken by Moses. I want to show you that if you can see the ultimate reason for this passage, you will be able to really trust in your God, no matter your circumstance.

Think of a riddle. What is a riddle? Isn’t a riddle something that gives you clues to get you to guess the substance of the riddle at hand?

Here is a quick riddle: What gets whiter the dirtier it gets?

God and his ways are sometimes like a riddle. We know some facts, like the riddle. We know in the riddle above that whatever this “thing” is, it is a “thing” because the term “what” is used, instead of “who.” We also know that it gets white in some way, and also gets dirty in some way. We know some facts, but we don’t know the underlying reasons, or answers to the facts that surround us.

Being in the church age, we have a lot of answers that the Old Testament saints didn’t have available to them. We have, in essence, gotten more of the riddle answered than they did.

I want to show you the ultimate reason that this verse is placed in Deuteronomy. I want to show you the ultimate “riddle” or the ultimate “secret” that God has given us, to completely astonish and perplex us, that in the end, should make us run to him and trust in him even more.

We will see how this verse works out through looking at:

God is a Mystery
Salvation: Where Our Rest Must Lie
The Ultimate Secret: The Messiah
Live for the Glory of God, With What He Has Given You: His Love

God is a Mystery

The secret things belong to the Lord our God

I have used this verse many times when I have taught, counseled and just brought about theological questions.

I believe the understanding of this verse, must first come in the understanding that God himself, is a secret and a mystery.

You are going to see how this all comes together in the end, but look at Isaiah 55:6-11

This is almost an exact parallel to Deut 29.

What is Deut 29:22-30:3 speaking about as its central theme?

Its central theme is redemption, and we’ll get to that in the next point, but it also speaks of the mystery of God or the secrets of God.

In Isaiah 55 it says that God’s ways are higher than our ways, that his thoughts are not our thoughts.

Why is this? Why is it that his thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not his ways?

Let me put it this way.

What would most kids eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they got to choose?


Why won’t the parent let them eat candy all the time?

It is because the parent knows what is best for the child and knows the consequences of the child eating candy and knows the benefit of the child eating well rounded meals.

We are like the child and God is the parent.

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, And are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.
Isaiah 40:13-15

So, God is all knowing: He literally knows all things. Do we know all things? Actually the Bible says quite the opposite. It says that none understand, and have become useless in Romans 3; in Romans 1:22 it states that we profess to be wise, but we are fools.

Isaiah 41:21-24 furthers this thought.

God says that he is the only one that knows all things. He is the only one that can tell us the former events, the events happening now and also the events that will happen. He continues in Isaiah 46:10.

Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;
Isaiah 46:10

Here God takes it even further. He not only is saying that he knows all things but he has a purpose for each thing that happens. So, there is not only things happening which he knows of, but they all have a purpose, and he alone is the one who knows them. So, when a rape happens to a Christian, or anyone for that matter, God knows why this happened. We as humans can know the fact that this person was raped, but we cannot know the purpose. God does. This is how far above his knowledge is when compared to our own.

So, think of this. When we read Deut 29:29 that states, “the secret things belong to the Lord” can we come to the conclusion that this has to be true, that God has secret things, because he knows all things, knows why they happen, and is forever eternal from eternity past to eternity future? Especially when compared to us, who are said to be foolish, worthless, and today we are here and tomorrow we are gone, that our life is like a vapor.

Our understanding compared to God is not even close to the understanding that a child and a parent have, we are even more far off in knowledge and understanding compared to the child.

So, think of my knowledge and my two year old’s knowledge. My knowledge compared to Coleman’s (my two year old) isn’t even close…yet my knowledge when compared to God’s is even a further distance off.

This is why there are secret things that we do not know that only God does.

We will take a look next to where our rest must lie, if we know that the secret things belong to God: Salvation.


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