Most of us would like to know more about what to do with our lives than we do. It would be nice to have detailed, personal instructions. Should I apply for this job or not? Should I live here or there? Should I marry this person or stay single or look for someone else? Should I buy this thing or that thing?
Maybe that is the reason for the popularity of fortune tellers who promise to tell us what is coming so we can make good decisions now. Or life coaches who tell us what decision to make.
As I was preaching through Deuteronomy recently, I came across a very interesting verse. It is midway through Moses’ last speech to the people of God before they entered the promised land. A final warning and encouragement, a pep talk if you like, that summarizes all that has come beforehand. After a scary warning about what will happen if they turn from God, Moses says this:
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of the law. (Deut 29:29)
There is a contrast here between secret things and revealed things, which I think is a helpful category for thinking about things. There are many things we would like to know that God has not chosen to tell us, things you can call “secret things”. These include what is going to happen to you tomorrow, what job you should take, what major life decision you should take next. We’d like to know these things but we have not been told. We are not to obsess over these things. We are not to chase fortune tellers or gurus or look for secret knowledge. God has not told us. It is not because God doesn’t know, of course. He knows and controls everything. But it is good for us to trust God for whatever tomorrow might bring.
On the other hand, God in his wisdom has revealed much to us. We have the law, in fact, a whole Bible that tells us what God is like, what he has done for us, and what we are to do in response. The Bible is a wonderful gift. Believers are to know it, read it, reflect on it, talk about it with our kids, and get on with the job of following God. We don’t need secret knowledge to know we are called to worship God, to pray, to live lives that are honest and content and to love our neighbours as ourselves. We are called to do the daily job of loving God and following what he would have for us.
Let’s get on with the job. Let’s read our Bibles, reflect on them, apply them, and respond well. It might not be spectacular or mystical or as personal as we would prefer, but the Christian life is a simple life of obedience and worship. Let’s not be distracted but seek to live as God has told us to.