God’s Will

Title: God's Will

Bible Book: Deuteronomy 29 : 29

Author: Franklin L. Kirksey

Subject: God's Will; Will of God



God’s will is sometimes mysterious but its outcome is always marvelous. Professor Henry Drummond (1851-1897) said, “The maximum achievement of any man’s life after it is all over is to have done the will of God. No man or woman can have done any more with a life.”[1] From 1 John 2:15-17 we read, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Moses writes, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Dr. Timothy Dwight (1752-1817), late president of Yale College, comments, "In this chapter, Moses solemnly reminds the Israelites of the wonderful works, which they had seen accomplished by the hand of God; and urges them, as powerful motives to faithful obedience. In the succeeding paragraph he [foretells] the miserable destruction, which would follow their disobedience, in the most affecting language; and thus warns them not to disobey. Both subjects, he knew, would naturally excite, in their minds and in those of their posterity, many curious inquiries and many dangerous speculations, concerning the designs and providence of God. In the text, therefore, he prohibits all these useless and pernicious wanderings of an unsatisfied and too inquisitive mind; and the doubts, the unbelief, the murmuring, and the revolt, to which they regularly give birth in sinful men. Secret things, he informs them, universally belong to God; but things revealed, to men."[2]

Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) comments, “Moses ends his prophecy of the Jews' rejection, just as St. Paul ends his discourse on the same subject, when it began to be fulfilled, (Romans 11:33) . We are forbidden curiously to inquire into the secret counsels of God, and to determine concerning them. But we are directed and encouraged, diligently to seek into that which God has made known. 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. This, the Bible plainly reveals; further than this, man cannot profitably go. By this light he may live and die comfortably, and be happy for ever.”[3]

From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary we read, “This verse has no apparent connection with the thread of discourse. It is thought to have been said in answer to the looks of astonishment or the words of inquiry as to whether they would be ever so wicked as to deserve such punishments. The recorded history of God's providential dealings towards Israel presents a wonderful combination of ‘goodness and severity.’ There is much of it involved in mystery too profound for our limited capacities to fathom; but, from the comprehensive wisdom displayed in those parts which have been made known to us, we are prepared to enter into the full spirit of the apostle's exclamation, ‘How unsearchable are his judgments’ (Romans 11:33).”[4]

Allow me to share three truths from the divisions of our text found in Deuteronomy 29:29.

I. We find God’s prerogative in withholding certain things from us.

Moses writes, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God” (Deuteronomy 29:29a). One simple truth comes to mind here. Namely, the Creator is above His creation. God is sovereign. He does not have to give account to anyone. From Psalm 115:3 we read, “But our God is in heaven; / He does whatever He pleases.” To borrow a line from a sermon by Rev. Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) on another text, “This in his grand prerogative, / And none can in this honor share.”[5]

From Romans 1:18-32 we read, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

On Christmas Eve, Piers Morgan, host of "Piers Morgan Tonight" aired on CNN, called for an “‘amendment to the Bible’ for same-sex marriage.” He argued, "Both the Bible and the [United States] Constitution were well-intentioned but they are basically inherently flawed, hence the need to amend [them]."[6] We read in Deuteronomy 4:1-4, “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor; for the Lord your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal of Peor. But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you.” God warns in Revelation 22:18-19, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

In contrast to those Romans filled with pride, Paul the Apostle humbly exclaims in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” Dr. Joseph Parker (1830-1902) exhorts, “Let us leave God to deal with His own decrees, to manage the boundless realm of causes, and to work out His inconceivable purposes.”[7]

Dr. David Young (1784-1857), shares an essay titled, “Devout Breathing of a Pious Soul” in The Christian’s Companion in Solitude. Herein, we read, "My soul, be not curious to search into the secrets of God. Pick not the lock, where he hath allowed no key. He that will view every cloud, may be smitten with a thunderbolt! and he that will be too familiar with God's secrets, may be overwhelmed in his judgments. By curious increase of his knowledge, Adam lost his holiness and happiness. By prying into the ark of God, fifty thousand of Bethlehemites lost their lives. Let me never hover about this flame, lest it scorch my wings.--But, since God hath revealed to me as much as can avail to my sanctification and happiness, let me carefully improve myself by it, and never inquire into any thing which he hath reserved for himself. Till I have fully learned Christ, let me never waste my time on curiosities."[8]

Scottish author, essayist, and historian, Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), stated, "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance but to do what clearly lies ahead."[9]

II. We find God’s purpose in revealing certain things to us.

Moses continues, “. . . but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29b). “If we miss the truth,” says [Dr.] Jeremy Taylor [1613-1667], “it is because we will not find it, for certain it is that all the truth which God hath made necessary he hath also made legible and plain; and if we will open our eyes we shall see the sun, and if we will walk in the light we shall rejoice in the light.”[10]

Rev. Robert Ainslie (1802-1876), author of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: The One True God: a Lecture Delivered to the Agents of London City Mission, concludes, "We have habitually to recognise the fact that secret things belong unto the Lord our God. Whatever belongs to the infinite, which is not revealed, is far, far beyond us; and it is not profitable to spend our time habitually on that which is and ever must be beyond our grasp. Thank God, the path of life and the path of duty are both equally plain and intelligible. In doing all the words of this law, we must remember that satisfaction and happiness may be attained from the Christianity we in common profess. The Bible contains solace for the troubled heart and comfort for the wounded spirit."[11]

From 2 Peter 1:1b-4, we read, “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” The Apostle Peter continues in 2 Peter 1:16-21, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” Paul the Apostle writes in 2 Timothy 3:10-16, “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Beware of seeking guidance from forbidden sources. God forbids His children from seeking direction with the occult. God’s will never contradict God’s Word. Here are two such passages. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14 we read, “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” In Isaiah 47:10-14 we read, “For you have trusted in your wickedness; / You have said, ‘No one sees me’; / Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; / And you have said in your heart, / ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’ Therefore evil shall come upon you; / You shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; / You will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, / Which you shall not know. ‘Stand now with your enchantments / And the multitude of your sorceries, / In which you have labored from your youth—Perhaps you will be able to profit, / Perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; / Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, / And the monthly prognosticators / Stand up and save you / From what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, / The fire shall burn them; / They shall not deliver themselves / From the power of the flame; / It shall not be a coal to be warmed by, / Nor a fire to sit before!”

From Deuteronomy 30:11-20 we read, “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. ‘See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”

III. We find God’s pleasure in expecting certain things of us.

Moses concludes, “. . . that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). The term “law” refers to the Word of God. From Romans 10:17 we read, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” In Hebrews 11:6 we read, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Therefore, the only way to please God is by faith. The essence of faith is to trust and obey Him. To those of the community of faith, Jesus said, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). God expects us to trust Him when we do not understand and to obey Him as He commands.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) poetically memorialized the events in the Battle of Balaclava, October 25, 1854, in “The Charge of The Light Brigade”. You might be familiar with these lines, “Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do & die”.[12] We can personalize his famous lines as follows, “[Ours is] not to make reply, / [Ours is] not to reason why, / [Ours is] but to do and die.”

Dr. F. B. Meyer (1847-1929) explains, “The Bible rings with one long demand for obedience. The key-word of the Book of Deuteronomy is, Observe and Do.” Remember the words of Mary to the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee recorded in John 2:5, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”

Rev. Francis W. Dixon (1910-1985) former pastor of Lansdowne Baptist Church in Bournemouth, shares, “In our key-verse we have the golden rule of a happy and useful Christian life. Do we want to know His joy, peace and blessing upon our service? Do we want our life to be well-pleasing to Him in all things? Do we want our prayers to be answered? Are we seeking fresh and enlarged fields of service – and do we need guidance? Then we must do what He says. If we can live in obedience to this golden rule we shall always be filled with the glory of His presence, power and blessing. . . John Bunyan said, ‘The soul of religion is in the practic part’; that is, the doing of it.”[13]

From 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit.” Regrettably, there are many who attempt to be holy without the Holy Spirit. We do not overcome the flesh by the flesh as we read in Colossians 2:18-23, “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— ‘Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,’ which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”


Rev. Arthur Roberts (1801-1886), author of Plain Sermons on Gospel Miracles: Preached to a Village Congregation, shares, “I have said, that we know little or nothing about heaven. We cannot tell what place it is, except that it is God's own place, and therefore the very seat of joy. But observe, our gracious God has revealed to us as much about heaven as belongs to us to know. Though he has not told us exactly what heaven is, because such knowledge is above us, yet he has told us--what it is indispensable to us to know--the way to get to heaven. He has revealed to us that not any works or deservings of our own--no, but a humble child-like faith in his dear Son, is the way to get the pardon of our sins, and a title to his kingdom. Is there a poor awakened sinner alarmed at his condition--afraid of judgment--anxious to know what he must do to be saved? The Bible does not say, 'That is a secret matter which you must not ask.' No; it takes him by the hand; it says, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.'"[14] Dr. J. I. Packer affirms, “Scripture directs us to live by God’s revealed will of precept, rather than by any such pryings into his hidden will or purpose.” Dr. Packer also writes, “God may not tell me what he is planning, but he let’s me know how he wants me to live.”[15] May each one of us find, follow, and finish God’s will.

[1]Lloyd John Ogilvie, Discovering God’s Will in Your Life (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1982), p. 5


[2]Timothy Dwight, Sermons by Timothy Dwight, D. D. LL. D., Late President of Yale College, In Two Volumes, Volume I, "Secret Things Belong To God", Sermon Notes, Deuteronomy xxix. 29, (New Haven, Conn.: Hezekiah Howe and Durrie & Peck, 1828), p. 9


[3]Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991), Database WORDsearch Corp.


[4]Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset, and David Brown, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments, (Edinburgh: Collins & Company, 1875)


[5]Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “God's Glory in Hiding Sin”, Sermon Notes, (Proverbs 25:2) preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, on Lord's Day evening, July 15th, 1877


[6]Religion Today, powered by crosswalk.com, Friday, December 28, 2012, “CNN's Piers Morgan: Amend the Bible to Embrace Homosexuality”, Available from: http://www.religiontoday.com/blog/piers-morgan-amend-bible-embrace-homosexuality.html Accessed: 12/29/12

[7]Rev. William Jones, The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary on the Old Testament: Deuteronomy, chapter XXIX (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1892), p. 354

[8]The Christian's Companion in Solitude with An Introductory Essay, By the Rev. David Young, Perth, “Devout Breathing of a Pious Soul”, (Glasgow: William Collins, 1827), p. 375


[9]Available from: http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/31315.html Accessed: 12/30/12


[10]Gems of Sacred Literature, ed. Richard Cattermole, (London: John W. Parker, 1841), p. 35


[11]Robert Ainslie, “Limit to Theological Knowledge” Sermon Notes (Deuteronomy 29:29), Available from: http://ibiblestudies.com/auth/ainslie/limit_to_theological_knowledge.htm Accessed: 12/25/12


[12]Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Charge Of The Light Brigade”, (1854), Available from: http://www.nationalcenter.org/ChargeoftheLightBrigade.html Accessed: 12/19/12


[13]Francis Dixon, “From Strength to Strength”, Study 3, “Doing Whatever He Says”, Available from: http://www.wordsoflife.co.uk/BibleStudy/Series13/Study3.htm Accessed: 12/19/12


[14]Arthur Roberts, M. A., Village Sermons, Volume I, A New Edition, Sermon VI, “Things Secret and Things Revealed”, Deuteronomy 29:29, (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1850), pp. 74-75


[15]J. I. Packer, Knowing and Doing the Will of God, compiled by LaVonne Neff, January 8 Reading, Deuteronomy 29:29, (Ann Arbor, MI: Vine Books, Servant Publications, 1995), p. 17


By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com


http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / [email protected] / (251) 626-6210

© January 20, 2013 All Rights Reserved


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