(March 18, 2018) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, shares a concern…
Deuteronomy 29:29 clearly declares: ‘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.’
Relevant concerns today
Matthew Henry, the 17th century Bible scholar, made this comment: ‘He has kept back nothing that is profitable for us, but only that of which it is good for us to be ignorant. The end of all divine revelation is, not to furnish curious subjects of speculation and discourse, but that we may do all the words of this law, and be blessed in our deed.’
Although these words were written over 300 years ago, they are still especially relevant today.
I am very concerned about:
- The plethora of books that have been written in recent years ‘explaining’ the mysteries of God and using the Bible like an Old Moore’s Almanac or the writings of Nostradamus.
- The increase of those who write articles and books based on what they claim to be personal divine revelation which, of course, is untestable!
- The corresponding hunger among many Christians for those who feed their imagination with ‘interpretations’ and ‘explanations’ of cryptic and hidden ‘truths’ supposedly found in the biblical text, and for those who publish their own speculation dressed as revelation from God.
In the past few years we have had a deluge of such writings focused on, for example,
- Attempts to reconcile everything that is happening in the world today with some verses in the Bible – generally out of context.
- Arguments that blood moons tetrads, blue moons, solar eclipses and indeed all cosmic events are referenced in the Bible and are thus portents of things soon to happen.
- Assertions that many of the biblical prophecies given in respect of Israel have an application to non-Jewish Christians. (America is the nation to which many of these prophecies are now often applied – regardless of the context!).
Such alleged revelatory writings may excite the thoughts of some Christians and feed a form of hyper-spirituality but they do little good for their souls. Those fairly gullible Christians are much like sugar addicts who consume large volumes of sugar in various guises and, while their bodies grow fat, their health goes into decline.
Time-wasting ‘treasure hunts’
After a lifetime of studying, preaching and teaching of the scriptures I have come to the conclusion that there is such a great need for Christians to have a better grasp and a more committed adherence to application of those things in the Bible that may be clearly understood.
Clearly there are things of God that lie outside the ability of humans to fathom. A forlorn treasure hunt of the scriptures to try to uncover some new ‘truth’, some novelty to titillate the imagination, some revelation from God that no one else has discovered is not only time wasting but an attempted intrusion into those things that God deliberately wants to keep hidden.
I suggest that it is best to leave unexplored ‘the secret things [that] belong to the Lord our God.’
In 1873 Dorothy Greenwell first published her hymn, I am not Skilled to Understand. The following is the first verse of that hymn.
I am not skilled to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned;
I only know at his right hand
Stands one who is my Saviour.
Christians don’t need to know ‘secret things of God’
With respect to Dorothy Greenwell, I take the liberty of offering some verses of my own:
I much prefer to leave concealed
The secrets God himself has sealed.
What we may know God has revealed,
And that will satisfy me.
I’m not enthused with the to-do
Of coloured moons when red or blue
Or books with the ‘interpretative clue’
Of Bible truths well hidden!
I do not claim to be a seer
With insights helping me to peer
Into events ‘soon’ to appear –
I know God holds the future.
I do not strive to know the date
Of Christ’s return, if soon or late –
I only patiently await
To greet him at his coming.
I am not skilled to know God’s mind,
Or why he’s loving and so kind
To pour his love on all humankind
And join with us for ever.
I do not need to understand
What God has willed, what God has planned,
For this I know – I safely stand
With him who is my Saviour.
Dr Jim McClure, author of several books and Bible study series, welcomes questions from Christians seeking enlightenment on biblical perspectives.
Recommended is his enlightening Looking for Answers in a Confusing World, available in electronic version in EPUB, Kindle and PDF formats with hyperlinks and offered free. Link for orders and questions: firstname.lastname@example.org