Those of you who know who Deputy Barney Fife is, know that Barney could not keep a secret if his life depended on his doing so. Barney enjoyed proving that he was “in the know.”
Sometimes things need to be held in confidence. In my work, I have access to all of the data for every employee in the company, and much of that data is sensitive, not for public knowledge. It has to be treated with the utmost confidence.
The ability to keep a confidence is a mark of maturity. “He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets. Therefore do not associate with a gossip.” (Proverbs 20:19, NASB).
Sometimes it is not so much an issue of confidence, but just need to know. There are things we cannot know, things we should not know, and things we simply do not need to know.
Following the resurrection, but prior to ascending to heaven, Jesus was spending time with his disciples. The disciples did not yet understand the nature of the kingdom Jesus was going to establish. They were still fixated on a military overthrow of the Roman occupation under which the Jews were living. Throw ’em out of here Jesus. Get that Roman boot off of our necks!
So the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6b, ESV)
Jesus did not answer the disciples’ question, but used the occasion as a teachable moment.
He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” – Acts 1:6, ESV
Similarly, Jesus addressed the time of his return, saying that no one knows, though almost 250 failed predictions have been made by various “in the know” crackpots and religious groups since the day Jesus ascended. What is somewhat surprising is that Jesus, himself, does not know when that will occur.
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only … Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” – Matthew 24:36, 42, ESV
Some information is reserved for God alone, and really, in our finiteness, we will be astonished in that day when we finally realize just how much we do not know and do not understand.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it. – Psalm 139:6, ESV
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV
God has graciously revealed to us as much as we need to know, and that should suffice. The Psalmist says “My times are in your hand,” and there is no other hand I want to be in. The Alpha and Omega knows the future and controls it. He is the inventor of time, and as such has all authority over it.
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. – James 4:14, NIV-1973
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:34, NIV-1973