Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pastoral Pings ~ Children Who Understand and Know

          Through all my years of walking with children, I continue to marvel at how much they know and understand. Their ability to learn from listening and watching what goes on around them is often truly astounding. I learn a lot from them, and from Jesus’ referring to them as the special recipients of his grace and mercy.
          Here is the way a variety of Scriptures came together to build up my childlike faith. It began with another look at Jesus’ introduction of himself as the only source of soul-rest.[1] As he transitioned from the faithless and unrepentant hearts of the multitudes, he gave his commentary on what everyone had witnessed.
“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”[2]
          Much could be said about what would happen if God gave his revelations of truth to those who were wise and understanding in their own eyes. In fact, history is full of examples of what prideful people accomplish when they take God’s words into their own hands and twist them to their own desires. It is not pretty.
          On the other hand, there is this characteristic of God’s word that can only be described as God revealing his truth to those who qualify as “little children.” God’s word exhorts us to, Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”[3] It then shows us this beautiful picture of God’s “gracious will,” that he reveals his ways to those who do not lean on their own understanding.
          Another Scripture that serves as a prelude to what Jesus expressed is this:
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”[4]
          What I love about this is the way it mercifully turns us away from the things that block our experience of God, and graciously guides us into the best gift of all, that we can “understand and know” him. To “understand” means to have true information about him, and to “know” means to have personal relationship with him.
          This adds such glory to Jesus’ prayer, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”[5] God so loved the world that he gave us his Son, so that, through believing in his Son we would be saved from perishing in the condemnation of our sins, and would receive eternal life.[6] This eternal life, which is the gift of God’s grace, brings us to know this God who so loved the world, and know his Son who came into the world as the demonstration of God’s love.
          In other words, Jesus came so that little children could understand and know God.
          Here is one more facet of this glorious diamond of divine revelation: Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’[7]
          Here is the gracious gift of God, that Peter understood and knew Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This was not revealed to Peter by flesh and blood, neither a teacher’s ability to teach, or Peter’s ability to learn. It was revealed to him by the Father because the Father wanted Peter to understand and know him.
          It is awe-inspiring to now take another look at the praise Jesus offered up to his Father: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.”[8] It was the Father’s good pleasure that he reveal “these things” to “little children” so that little children like me can understand and know God.
          Even while I need regular loving discipline from my Father to keep my mind focused on such wondrous truths,[9] I am thankful that the Lord of heaven willed to reveal these things to me. I have a feeling that he has willed that I would understand and know him even better than I do now! I suppose that is what tomorrow’s time with God will be all about.

© 2014 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Matthew 11:28-30
[2] Matthew 11:25-26
[3] Proverbs 3:5-6
[4] Jeremiah 9:23-24
[5] John 17:3
[6] John 3:16-18
[7] Matthew 16:16-17
[8] Matthew 11:25-26
[9] Hebrews 12:6

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