Summary: As the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they were at a threshold, just as we are every new year. In Dt. 28:28, Moses gives us a formula for facing the Future, one that is as apropo for us today as for the Israelites.
A Formula for Facing the Future
January 5, 2014
TEXT: Deuteronomy 29:29 – “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
To understand better our text, let’s look at the context of which verse 29 is a part. Look with me at Deuteronomy 29:1-5 – “These are the words of the covenant, which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. 2 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 3 The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles: 4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.”
Verses 1-5 form the introduction of Moses’ farewell speech before departing to the mountain to die just before the Israelites were to enter into the Land of Promise.
It’s in this extended speech we find verse 29 (READ AGAIN:) – “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
The people of Israel were at a threshold.
• BEHIND them were the promises of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the golden calf, faithlessness and grumbling.
• BEFORE them was the Promised Land—a place of great promise and great potential…but also a place of uncertainty and danger.
We too stand at a threshold—not of a new land, but of a new year.
• BEHIND us are God’s provision of salvation; the experience of both successes and accomplishments as well as hardships and blessings—and, unfortunately, the memory of sins, faithlessness, and grumblings.
• BEFORE us are many promises and potentials, but also, many uncertainties and dangers—national, community, family, personal.
We’re like the Israelites in this passage—ready to march forward, yet somewhat fearful. In our text, God gives to us, as He gave to Israel, a formula for facing the future. Let’s look at that formula:
I. THE FIRST PART OF THE FORMULA IS THIS: “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God…”
The “secret things” are the things we don’t know about, but the Lord does…
• Such as national and international events.
On a national scale, who knows how the economy will go in 2014?
Who can say if results of the our efforts in Iraq will be permanent?
Who knows what gruesome surprises Al Queda has in store for us?—OR—maybe Al Queda will be dealt a fatal blow in 2014.
Who knows? It’s a secret known only to the Lord our God.
• The secret things Moses refers to also include things PERSONAL—our health, financial success, job security, the state of our marriages.
You may have another year of good health, or you may lose your health entirely—or for that matter, you might even pass from this life to the next.
Financially, your ship might finally come in—or you might go bankrupt.
You may get a promotion—or you may not.
• The secret things also include THE FUTURE OF OUR CHURCH.
What may God have in store for Grace Baptist Church in 2014 and beyond?
Will we grow, or will we stagnate?
Will there be revival, or will there be church problems?
Will we hold fast to our duty, or scatter and desert our post?
These things, our text tells us, “belong unto the Lord our God.” They’re for HIM to know, not us.
In a sense, I believe this is an act of mercy. Matthew 6:34 tells us, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” In other words, we have enough to worry about TODAY without having to worry about tomorrow and the future.
Aren’t you glad you don’t know what the future holds? It’s really of God’s grace and kindness that He doesn’t lift the vale to let us see all that will happen in the next year. The Bible says that these things belong to the Lord our God.
As I ponder this truth, I can think of two implications for us today:
• The first is that we should not be obsessed with looking into the future.
Many people in the secular world are preoccupied with astrology and psychic predictions—to get a glimpse of what the future holds for them. But God has already told us everything we need to know already about the future in His Word—the Second Coming; the Tribulation; and so on. Beyond that, God has forbidden us to try to peer into the future. He wants us to trust in HIM for the future, and all attempts to circumvent simple trust in God through palm readers and astrology and psychics are forbidden by Scripture, Satanic in origin and spiritually dangerous.