Devarim Twenty-Nine: Hidden Things

Moses reminds the people all that they have seen of God’s greatness and wonders, particularly as they pertained to His actions against the Egyptians. “Yet until this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to know, eyes to see, and ears to hear (Deuteronomy 29:3).” Somehow, it seems, that throughout the time in the wilderness, the people were in some kind of divine incubator, a magical state in which they didn’t have the same material needs that they would have normally. Their clothes and shoes didn’t wear out, and they didn’t eat and drink as human beings. God took care of them through manna and divine will, and through this, the people knew God on a very intimate level as the one who took care of their daily needs. It’s crazy to me that all of this was happening, and yet the people always found something new to complain about. Even when all of our needs are met, through no effort of our own, human beings constantly find ourselves grasping for the next level.

Now, the people are at the place where they defeated Sihon and Og. And so, they have come to the place where they have to begin fulfilling their end of the bargain in terms of the covenant. Now, they must work for their portion. God is making His covenant with them, and they have to actively participate in upholding it. “But not only with you am I making this covenant and this oath, but with those standing here with us today before the Lord, our God, and with those who are not here with us, this day (Deuteronomy 29:13-14).” The covenant was made in a moment, but lasts beyond that moment, and beyond the individuals who were physically there at that instant. It pertains to all of us, and is all of our responsibility to uphold.

This chapter ends with a fascinating verse. “The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God, but the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever: that we must fulfill all the words of this Torah (Deuteronomy 29:28).” I don’t remember ever reading, or at least ever paying attention, to this verse before, but I love it. I think that today, we as a society are consumed with knowing, or at least having “the right” to know everything. Nothing is sacred, or personal, or just off-limits in a world of social media when we offer the public insights into our lives and thoughts on a constant basis. Yet, according to this, there are things that are hidden, that we aren’t meant to know. I know that most people wouldn’t be content with that, but I am. I’m happy with what has been revealed to me, and what continues to be revealed, but I’m also more than at peace with the knowledge that there are things that I will never understand or even be aware of, because I’m not meant to. I’m more than occupied with that which I do have access to, and don’t need to be hung up on the hidden aspect of the universe.


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