Deuteronomy 29:1-29 (Part 4) – That’s Life, Mark, That’s Life!—Trying to Understand The Mysteries of God

Posted: April 26, 2017 in 05-Deuteronomy

Deuteronomy 29:1-29 (Part 4 of 4)

Moses Reviews the Covenant

There are mysteries that we do not understand and never will on this side of eternity. Death is one of them. Proverbs 27:1 tells us, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Death can come to us or those we know and love at any time. We may walk out of our house or apartment this morning and never return to it. Our next breath is never guaranteed. Death, to us, can seem random at times and uncontrollable.


Why is that my stepson when I was married to my second wife was taken from us at age 16 in a car accident while Billy Graham continues to live and is now the ripe old age of 98? Why is it the young man that would have been my brother-in-law was killed in a car accident at age 23, two weeks before I married his sister, my first wife?  Why is that my mother was taken from me when she died at age 70, some seven years ago now, but my wife’s mom is 85 and her dad is 92? Why is that my mom suffered some before she died but essentially she went downhill so fast that there was no lingering on. Yet, my wife’s dad is suffering in the throes of dementia and has been nursing home bound for three years or more. Why does he linger on but yet my mom went quickly? Why do some families have to deplete their life savings on end times medical care while others die within in 6 months of needing nursing home care? Why do some live to near 100 years old and others are taken in the prime of life? Why do some families endure multiple tragic deaths and other families are never touched by tragedy? These are all mysteries of God, our Sovereign God.


Other mysteries include how did the universe get started? Was there nothingness but God before created the universe? How big is the universe? Is there only life on this planet and if so, why only here? What was the purpose of creating a vast universe if there is only life here? If there is humanoid life elsewhere in the universe, did Jesus come to each planet that sustains life so that there is salvation for every humanoid life form that has a soul? When the Bible says that there will be an end to all things, is that only for Earth? Will he end the universe at the same time he ends everything here? Will there be only heaven after the end of the universe?


Another mystery to me is about heaven. How crowded is heaven since it now contains all the souls of persons who are God’s chosen through faith in God that have ever lived in all of human history up through this very moment that have died? That’s a whole lot of people. Mathematicians estimate that there have been at least 200 billion people born and that have lived any amount of existence since the beginning of man’s existence on this planet. Currently only 7 billion of those are currently living. That means that 193 billion have died. Let’s be optimistic and say half of those who have died ended up in heaven. That’s close to 100 billion souls that currently occupy heaven and the number is growing every day. Is there room for all those souls? Will we have our current bodies in heaven? Will we know our loved ones in heaven? Will we be aware of the reality of hell while we are in heaven? Will we be aware of the passage of time in heaven or since we no longer are bound by the decay of time of the temporal world, will we not know or even care about the passage of time? Do our loved ones in heaven have awareness of our continued existence on this side of eternity? Does my mom look down on me daily to see what I am doing? Do they not have time for that because they are praising God for all eternity? Is there more to do in heaven than doing the same thing, praising God on his throne daily?


Another mystery is why was I born in this era of temporal time? Why is that I am here right now? Why is that I am me and you are you? Why is that I was born in the United States in the 21st century to such excessive privilege never known by man in human history while other souls that are of equal value to God and not any different from me except for the unique personalities they have compared to me were born in desperate poverty in a third world country? Why do some teenage girls in India never have a chance other than to be captured and sold into sexual slavery while my young granddaughter will most likely have every opportunity to become the fullest extent of who she can be – maybe a doctor, a lawyer, a beautiful actress, or whatever!


Other mysteries are about life itself? What gives us life? Cells multiply and divide throughout the universe and they do not become thinking human beings. What is that spark that makes a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm become human life? We can explain all the physics of fertilization and how the cells multiply but what makes that little fertilized egg in a woman’s womb become a human being? What is it makes that egg divide and multiply? What is that makes those cells develop life? What is that intrinsic moment that life begins? Once the spark of life begins at conception, what is that force that makes it grow into a child with a brain who becomes a baby aware of his own existence and its separateness from those who gave it life and who grows and grows into a adult human being? What makes me, me and you, you? Why am I inside this body and this moment at this time with these 7 billion people? Why do I view the world as I know it from inside this body?


Another mystery is less dignified but not any less profound. What is the purpose of ticks? What is the purpose of fleas? What is the purpose of roaches? There are so many creatures on earth that seem to have no purpose at all in the keeping the planet functioning.


Other mysteries include like why in the world would someone choose to be a Gamecock fan! LOL! Just kidding with all my University of South Carolina friends out there!


Seriously though, If you sit down long enough and think about these things, even as Christ followers, it will blow your mind! As Christ followers, we know where we will spend eternity but these are mysteries that are mysteries than cannot be explained on this side of eternity and they can blow your mind!


That was the thing that came to mind today when I read Deuteronomy 29 for final time before moving on to the next passage, as we will tomorrow. Today my focus was on v. 29. So, let’s read the chapter again this morning with a focus on:


29 [a]These are the terms of the covenant the Lord commanded Moses to make with the Israelites in Moab, in addition to the covenant he had made with them at Horeb.


2 Moses summoned all the Israelites and said to them:


Your eyes have seen all that the Lord did in Egypt to Pharaoh, to all his officials and to all his land. 3 With your own eyes you saw those great trials, those signs and great wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear. 5 Yet the Lord says, “During the forty years that I led you through the wilderness, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. 6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the Lord your God.”


7 When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to fight against us, but we defeated them. 8 We took their land and gave it as an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh.


9 Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. 10 All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, 11 together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. 12 You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, 13 to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 14 I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you 15 who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.


16 You yourselves know how we lived in Egypt and how we passed through the countries on the way here. 17 You saw among them their detestable images and idols of wood and stone, of silver and gold. 18 Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.


19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. 20 The Lord will never be willing to forgive them; his wrath and zeal will burn against them. All the curses written in this book will fall on them, and the Lord will blot out their names from under heaven. 21 The Lord will single them out from all the tribes of Israel for disaster, according to all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.


22 Your children who follow you in later generations and foreigners who come from distant lands will see the calamities that have fallen on the land and the diseases with which the Lord has afflicted it. 23 The whole land will be a burning waste of salt and sulfur—nothing planted, nothing sprouting, no vegetation growing on it. It will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim, which the Lord overthrew in fierce anger. 24 All the nations will ask: “Why has the Lord done this to this land? Why this fierce, burning anger?”


25 And the answer will be: “It is because this people abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the covenant he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt. 26 They went off and worshiped other gods and bowed down to them, gods they did not know, gods he had not given them. 27 Therefore the Lord’s anger burned against this land, so that he brought on it all the curses written in this book. 28 In furious anger and in great wrath the Lord uprooted them from their land and thrust them into another land, as it is now.”


29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.


In this final verse of the chapter, we see that God has secrets that He has chosen not to reveal to us. There are many possible reasons for His withholding His full knowledge and His full qualities to us. First, our finite minds may not be able to fully fathom the infinite aspects of God’s nature and the universe (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Second, some things of His infinite nature and the infinite, eternal realm in which He operates are just not necessary for us to know on this side of eternity. Third, there are some things God is withholding from us to discover as we mature in knowledge as a human race collectively so that we would be able to handle the discovery. Fourth, God is simply so far superior to us in every way that it is impossible for us to know everything that He does – even when we are heaven, for we are created beings even in heaven and He is the Creator. The created will never know more than the creator.


This verse shows us that, although God has not revealed all knowledge of all time to us, and that He has not revealed everything that there is to know about obeying Him, He has told us enough to get us through the existence of our lives. He has told us enough that we can handle on this side of eternity. He has told us enough. Thus, our disobedience comes from an act of will, not a lack of knowledge. Through God’s Word, we know enough about Him to be saved by grace through faith and to serve Him. We must not use our limitations about knowing the fullness of the nature of God to reject His claim on our life.


As well, because we, as Christ followers, have the knowledge of our limited nature and limited range of understanding of things eternal on this side of eternity, there are just some things that we must accept that we will never know about God until we get to heaven. There, we will understand eternal things as we will no longer be bound by temporal limitations. But, for now, we must trust in God’s sovereignty even when the lack of understanding is so painful.


Like when a son or brother dies too young in a car accident. Like when one parent dies after a short illness while another parent lingers on for years and years before death. My dad would often have a saying that he would pull out when he could not explain something. He would simply say, “that’s life, Mark. That’s life!” There are just some things that God has ordained to happen that we cannot understand on this side of eternity and we must simply trust Him on those things, even if it is painful not to have the answers. His ways are higher than our ways, as Isaiah 55:9. It is just like sometimes we wonder why the cross is what gives us a chance at salvation. Why is that Jesus dying on the cross gives us a chance to be reconciled to Him. It is because God said so. It is because God said that He poured out His wrath toward you and me for all our sins on Jesus on the cross. He sacrificed His Son in this way because He said that was what He was doing. By pouring His wrath on Jesus, we are spared. We are made clean. Our penalty for sin has been paid. This was the whole point of the cross and it was because God said that was the purpose of it. There is a mystery about that event that we have to take on faith. Those are far from God will not understand the purpose of the cross of the cross until they are led there by the Holy Spirit.


God is so far above us that there are mysteries of Himself that He has not revealed to us and we must trust that He has revealed enough to us to get us to the cross and to eternity. We must trust Him with the rest.


Amen and Amen.

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