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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Deuteronomy 29

Verses 1-29

  1. Intro:
    1. Title: Can we unscrew the inscrutable? (impossible to understand)
      1. What do you do with mysteries in Scripture? What do you do with the biblical Gordian knots? When life itself doesn’t make any sense? Nor the hand you’ve been dealt?
    2. This chapter we’ll see God’s reminder, He had redeemed them (from Egypt) and thus they were responsible to obey Him. If they obeyed, He would bless; if they disobeyed, He would judge.
  2. COVENANT RENEWED (1-9)
    1. (1) Wraps up the last chapter...in the Hebrew text it is 28:69.
    2. (2) Starts his 4th address but doesn’t address anything new, he just reiterates what has been said thus far.
    3. (4) To this very day suggests that Israel had not yet understood these saving events.
      1. Thus apart from divine enlightening, people always remain insensitive to God’s work (Paul uses this text in Rom.11:8).
      2. This shows us though...if we are to be faithful, we need spiritual renewal for our eyes, ears, & hearts.
        1. We need to see His hand at work, hear His word, & love Him with all our hearts.
    4. (5-8) For 40 years the people saw miracles & heard words, yet they did not perceive what God was doing.
      1. They saw His acts but did not understand His ways.
        1. Ps.103:7 He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
      2. They had seen God defeat the idols in Egypt, yet they still had idolatry in their hearts.
        1. What could have been spiritual experiences was only a series of historical events because they did not focus on the Lord.
  3. ​​​​​​​COVENANT REVIEWED (10-19)
    1. ​​​​​​​(18,19) Moses warned that even one person could defile the whole nation.
      1. No individual should suppose they would automatically receive the benefit of God’s grace simply by living within the community of God’s people. No, not then, back in the wilderness. No, not today, in in the midst of His church.
      2. Think of 1 man Achon in Joshua 7, effected all Israel [Jericho, abstain from the cursed things, they’re the Lord’s] He didn’t. At Ai 36 soldiers died. Hid Babylonian garments, 200 shekels of silver, wedge/gold, under his tent...saw/coveted/took]
        1. Today, 1 family member can embarrass/humiliate his/her whole family.
  4. COVENANTAL REBUKE (20-29)
    1. ​​​​​​​(29) The secret things of the Lord refer to future details that God had not revealed.
      1. Yet what He had revealed (e.g., future judgment for disobedience, future blessing for obedience, His requirements for holiness, etc.) was enough to encourage the Israelites to follow all the words of the Law.
        1. So our goal is to obey what we know & not pry into what we do not know.
      2. Some of Gods secrets He can reveal though, if he wants to…
        1. Remember when Neb had a dream & asked for his magicians/astrologers/sorcerers to both tell him the dream & its interpretation.
        2. Dan.2:28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.
    2. Deut.29:29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever.
      1. Was what He said not enough? Not good enough?
      2. What if He never said anything new/different?
      3. What if in Heaven Jesus just quoted what He already said?
      4. Could He have said anything better? Wouldn’t He have then?
      5. Is there a stronger promise He could have given? A more endearing term for Himself?
      6. Does it get any better than...Our Father who are in heaven. Or, The Lord is my Shepherd. For God so loved. In Your presence is fullness of joy. Abba?
        1. ​​​​​​​What else am I looking for?
    3. So Moses lays out 2 classes of realities: secret & revealed. [Awake My Heart, J. Sidlow Baxter pg.216]
      1. Evidently there are some things which we are not meant to know yet.
      2. The Word of God is as wise in its reservations as it is wonderful in its revelations.
      3. Enough is revealed to make faith intelligent. Enough is reserved to give faith scope for development.
      4. Let’s admit it...despite the Biblical revelation, we are surrounded by many baffling mysteries.
        1. Birth is a mystery. Life is a mystery. Personality is a mystery. Human experience is a mystery. Death, the universe, satan, eternity, & God is a mystery.
        2. And other mysteries: Like, Why are there no 'B' batteries? If God sneezes, what should you say? Is it still illegal to park next to a fire hydrant, even if your car is on fire? If a bunch of cats jump on top of each other, is it still called a dog pile? Do Jewish vampires still avoid crosses? And other very important questions.
      5. But breaking through all the mysteries we have the glorious transfiguring fact...the fact of Jesus Christ.
        1. He is a certified historical fact; a supremely significant fact; & an experientially realized fact. - He really came, lived, taught, died, rose, & will return again.
        2. An old Puritan said Never let what you don’t know disturb your faith in what you do know
      6. Also, when it comes to wars, accidents, bereavements, & a thousand other paradoxical ironies...let’s offer no cheap solution, but admit that they are mysteries.
    4. God has kept back no truth that it is profitable for us to know about His counsels, but only that which it is good for us to be ignorant of.
    5. Also remember why revelation is given to us in the first place...To become doers. vs.29b.
  5. ROMANS 11
    1. ​​​​​​​Paul in Rom.11 concludes the same way, on the same subject (prophecies of the Jews rejection)
      1. Read vs.33-36
    2. Ch.9 Israel’s Past Election; Ch.10 Israel’s Present Rejection; Ch.11 Israel’s Future Reception.
    3. Rom.11:1 Is Israel cast away?
    4. In eschatology, some have cast Israel away – Using 10:12 as their argument...For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek.
      1. But there isn’t a distinction in their sins nor salvation. But there still is a distinction nationally, as Paul speaks to in ch.11.
      2. Don’t forget the timing…this is after the death & resurrection of Christ, & yet he’s still talking about the Nation of Israel.
        1. Nationally they have not been stirred into a giant Gentile blender.
    5. (33) He praises God’s knowledge & wisdom, yet while at the same time saying they are beyond human understanding.
      1. It’s unwise to try to, “fathom the unfathomable or unscrew the inscrutable (imp to understand).”
    6. Depth – Things that are hidden in deep mystery, so deep that no human knowledge will ever reach it.
    7. Unsearchable & unfathomable (past finding out; beyond tracing out)
      1. Both are hunting terms: Unsearchable = indicates an animal that is untrackable. Unfathomable = describes one that is undetectable.
        1. We can’t track God’s thoughts. And even if you could, it would probably be so foreign to us, that we wouldn’t even recognize them.
    8. (34,35) 3 Questions that don’t need answers:
      1. [1] Can anyone explain God? [2] Anyone smart enough to tell Him what to do? [3] Has anyone done God such a big favor that God owes them now? [Ps.50:10-12]
    9. We cannot explain all the purposes & plans of God, but we can worship & praise Him for who He is.
    10. (36) Of Him – He is the source (or, Origin)
    11. Through Him – He is the agent (or, Channel)
    12. To Him – He is the goal (or, Destiny, All things consist for His Glory)
      1. The end result of all Bible study (studying doctrines) is Worship.
  6. PARABLES
    1. Jesus explained these mysteries in...Mt.13:10-17 Read
    2. Many have said it is a parable is an, “Earthly story w/a Heavenly meaning.”
    3. The parables are both Mirrors & Windows: Mirrors as they help us see ourselves. Windows as they help us see life & God.
    4. How to Study parables?
      1. Context: Parable of the good Samaritan’s context? [It stemmed from the Lawyers evasive question, “Who is my neighbor?”]
      2. Main Truth: What’s the main message? [Prodigal Son, is that God receives & forgives sinners]. You can discover in this rich parable many sp. truths, but all of them relate in some way to that primary lesson.
      3. No Over Kill: It’s not nec. to make everything mean something.
      4. Illustrates Doctrine, Doesn’t Declare it: Parables are windows into the house, not the foundation stones. [example: you can’t build the doctrine of good works from the parable of the sheep & goats]
      5. Ask God for Spiritual Perception: For all bible study, but especially imp. in dealing with the parables. [the disciples asked for help w/them]
    5. So, Can we unscrew the inscrutable? (impossible to understand) Only when He wants us to! :)
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Deuteronomy 29". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/deuteronomy-29.html. 2017.