Wednesday, March 15, 2006

For So It Seemed Good In Thy Sight

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:25-26)

I have spent a couple days mulling this verse over in my mind. Probably most clearly He was speaking about the fact that these uneducated poor people understood what faith was rather than the religious leaders of the time who walked around imposing themselves upon everyone. The Son of God was right there in front of their eyes but they couldn't see it. Yet a woman by a well, who wasn't even a Jew, understood exactly who Christ was and rejoiced in Him (John 4).

Paul wrote that the Cross is foolishness to the Gentiles and a stumbling block to the Jews (1 Corinthians 1:23). That says something. What the world would consider wisdom, what the world would deem important or logical is not necessarily how God works. He uses the lowly to humble the proud. To give these truths to the "wise" would have just put them on another ego trip.

Look at what they'd been doing with the truth God had given them for the hundreds and thousands of years before Christ (the money changers in the temple for example). But to give something so precious to the lowly, to give something so rich to the poor? Truly they rejoice in Him. Quite often it is the people that don't have much that give liberally (The poor woman with the two coins), and appreciate things that we often would overlook. How often have we washed our hands with our soap without realizing how blessed we are to have clean running water and soap to do that? It's so uncommon in other parts of the world, yet it is one of those things we often ignore. It's the people that are so deeply lost that really hunger and grab hold of the truth. Which plays well into what He said about not giving pearls to the swines (Matthew 7:6). And of course we must remember what He said in Matthew 9:9-12 (emphasis mine):

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

The choice of David probably seemed strange to people back then. A short young shepherd to fight big ol' Goliath (1 Samuel 17)? He probably seemed a little out of place, yet that is who God used. And even after David became king it must have been quite a change from the tall, strong Saul they had for king. And despite what the world might expect the leader of a nation to look and act like we see that David is still highly regarded. And it has very little to do with him, but what God did through him. It is when David leaned on his own understanding (like numbering Israel) and sought his own desires (Bathsheba), when he wasn't first and foremost seeking God that we see the biggest mistakes happen. But when he was on track with God? It was as if he was 10 times more wise and 100 times more strong than he actually was. And I think that's key, God used a small boy to inspire the hearts of the men around him.

Christ's entire life is like this. From birth to death his life was meant to be humbling. Born in a manger, a poor family, entering Jerusalem on a donkey, washing the disciples' feet, and the patient endurance of the most humiliating death of the time. Nothing about this man was what the Jews had imagined their King to be and do. No wonder He was a stumbling block! From the beginning Israel was meant to be different, yet they sought to be like the world. They had prophets giving them the very Word of God, yet they desired to be like everyone else. They wanted a king like all the other nations. They wanted the Savior to come dressed in royal robes, but instead He came wrapped in swaddling cloth.

Even the choice of the disciples wasn't probably what people expected. Fishermen and tax collectors? That's an odd choice for the future leaders of the church - at least from the world's perspective. He could have chosen anyone, but He called who He would for His glory.

Truly His ways are not our ways.

Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. (Matthew 11:26)

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