God Doesn’t Tell Us Everything

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God doesn’t tell us everything. Admittedly, in Genesis, God sometimes speaks to the Patriarchs in obvious ways. He tells Abraham, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). The Lord later tells Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you” (31:3). Yet so often along the course of their journeys, God remains silent. For example, God waits years and years before giving Abraham a child by Sarah. He waits into her old age. Abraham wonders how God will fulfill His promise to him, even growing impatient and having a child by Hagar in order to take control of the situation. God’s silence doesn’t mean He’s not with Abraham. It just means He’s working in His own time. He chooses not to tell Abraham the exact time and place of His fulfillment of His promise.

Later in Genesis, Jacob assumes that his son Joseph is dead. He has good reason to believe so. Jacob’s other sons brought him Joseph’s bloody robe to prove it (37:31). Except Joseph’s not dead. As the end of Genesis draws near, Joseph’s storyline takes over the narrative. At the same time, during the whole plotline of Joseph’s life, we have to assume that Jacob thinks Joseph is dead. The Bible says that when Jacob learned that Joseph was still alive, “his heart became numb, for he did not believe them” (45:26). God certainly could have let Jacob know that Joseph was alive. But He didn’t. He waited years and years to have that message reach Jacob. Upon hearing the news, Jacob said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (v. 28). We never see Jacob wondering out loud why God didn’t tell him, why God allowed him to remain in the dark all those years. We just know that God chose not to tell Jacob. He chose to let him find out later.

It is strange how God says some things and not others. That is, of course, God’s prerogative. The truth is that all of Scripture is what God chose to say, and He chose not to say other things that could have been in Scripture. Yet Scripture is enough for us. The promises contained in Scripture are enough for us. Our God has given us His Holy Spirit as our Helper, even as we, like Abraham, try to trust those promises. Yet God doesn’t tell us everything. He asks us to trust Him in the in-between moments. We remember what God said, and we look forward to the future.

We don’t know all that God is doing. Perhaps He will work a miracle, as He did in opening Sarah’s womb. Perhaps He will simply send us news, as He did with Jacob. Perhaps He is doing something we never could have expected—something that’s according to His own counsel, something that would surprise and delight us entirely. We have reason to believe that the Lord might enjoy working in that way. After all, He sent us His Son. He gave us His Spirit. Who could have expected such extravagant love? God doesn’t tell us everything, but He tells us enough, and He surprises us with His mercies.

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.