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In Case You Missed It -- Deuteronomy 29-30, Psalm 114

Moses speaks to Israel and reminds them that their eyes have seen God’s deliverance out of Egypt (Deuteronomy 29:2). Immediately after saying this, Moses presents a paradox, “But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.” (Deuteronomy 29:4) Isaiah 6:9-10 and Matthew 13:14-15 revisit this idea. Whatever it means to be able to see and not see, hear and not hear, we can certainly say that God has given Israel many reasons to trust Him, but they don’t. Israel lacks the ability to perceive God’s greatness, and even their eyes, ears, and minds somehow fundamentally fail to detect truth. Readers resolve the tension of passages like these in different ways; we have a hard time overcoming our biases, but it is important to affirm scripture’s witness that humans can interpret even what our senses incorrectly tell us. Additionally, as we are told above, it seems that Israel’s inability to perceive truth comes about because God hasn’t given them “a mind that understand or eyes that see.” What this means remains mysterious for the time being, leaving us to say, “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” (Deuteronomy 29:31). May God help us to be sober about our ability to perceive truth apart from His kindness and to be loyal to obey God's clear commands.

Jeremiah Vaught