Matthew 11:25, “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.”
This morning, perspective rules the day in many lives. Though the difference between reality and one’s perspective can be rather broad, some people do not allow any mode of thinking that cuts against the grain of their perspective on life. For the child of God and more especially the disciple of Christ, perspective must be put in the proper focus. Two of the failings of fallen humanity is to assume that 1. people see things the way we do and 2. that people generally experience life like we see immediately before us. These two points can skew a person’s perspective to think that others automatically feel what we feel and think like we think, because why wouldn’t they? Life is generally for everybody like it is for me, right?
One of the constant topics of discussion – and tension points – between Christ and the Pharisees was what He thought about their religious conduct versus what they perceived in their own decorum. To the Pharisees’ perspective, they were the authorities and pristine examples of God’s law to the people. To the Lord of Glory’s untrammeled sight, they were hypocritical and full of error. When facing someone else’s perspective, their opinion (for that is all perspective generally is) merits equal footing to my opinion. However, the Lord is not a frail man with limited sight like we are. Therefore, what the Lord says is reality, and our perspectives should move toward reality, rather than expect everyone else to gravitate to our way of thinking.
This verse before us is often quoted and coupled with verse 26 proves as a strong testimony to the sovereignty of God. However, quite often this verse is not used to discuss a subject like perspectives, though it is brimming with rich thoughts along those lines. For example, is the intent of Christ’s statement the standpoint that learned men of the world will never have the rich truths of Scripture revealed to them? Is His intent through this prayer of thanksgiving that only the worldly poor and naturally beggars those to whom will have this wonderful knowledge imparted? Should that be the case, I can safely say that most everyone that I know within the household of faith would be excluded. By worldly standards, those of us in America are far richer than most of the worldly population, with vastly more education and learning than many others even have access to. Therefore, the intent of Christ’s prayer must entail something else.
Christ is speaking about how someone views himself, particularly in relation to God. Do we view ourselves as wise and prudent, or do we view ourselves as babes, standing in desperate need of help at all times the way a natural baby would? Indeed, this is the question that everyone, particularly disciples, should ask themselves. This idea of what we appear to be is something that does not just cover our outward behavior that everyone else sees. It covers our innermost thoughts that only God sees. Therefore, God’s revelation does not come or go based on what man thinks is right to his perspective. It comes or goes based on what God knows is right due to reality from his unchecked sight.
Therefore, let us look at these two perspectives and put them side by side, but ultimately in contrast with the reality of God’s understanding. The first mindset is the wise and prudent that no longer sees himself as dependent on anything. As one “who has been there” and who “knows,” there ceases to be any feeling or necessity to get help or get better. This mindset can invade the richest and poorest of people, for it gains a foothold in the most basic of all human failings: pride. Man in his natural state has a very unhealthy dose of it in his character. Pride keeps someone from feeling their need and dependency upon someone else. Pride kills marriages, ends relationships, and most importantly, takes fellowship away from us and God. God is not pleased to reveal sweet truths to the prideful man, for what would a prideful person appreciate about the gracious workings of God anyway?
The babe in perspective realizes that he is still a student. As a young one (whether young or old in nature), he needs help, guidance, and perspective adjustment all the time. As a young father, I have the rich privilege of watching my children experience things that are old to me but new to them. One of their favorite questions is, “Daddy, did you do this too?” They want the confirmation and affirmation that the one they trust has been there and understands what they experience. God desires that His children ask Him for help and understanding as it shows that we rely on Him and desire to know that He has been there and understands. The revelation that God knows, and through His Son understands where we are what we see (Hebrews 4:15), is something that a babe will beam and rejoice in.
Now, considering the character of God, what wisdom level or understanding base could we possibly gain to be on equal footing with Him? As one that sits on the circle of the earth, there is none that can match His understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and character. (Isaiah 46:10-11) So, the wise and prudent in his own sight appears to be the foolish and stubborn being that he really is to God’s sight. The babe in perspective that feels the need and trust of God is precious to Him for they are closer to reality in their thinking.
When a child of God develops the mindset of being a lifelong student, he is on the right path to gaining the gracious smile of the Heavenly Father and the revelation of His will through His Son. One of the reputations that can plague someone like a preacher, college professor, parent, etc. is that when someone is in a position/office of authority, there can be a tendency to not feel the need to learn and progress anymore. When that mindset invades, watch out. Pride is lurking in the shadows ready to reach its ugly tentacles throughout every avenue of our lives. No matter how much we know, have learned, or attained unto, we fall mightily short of God’s standing. Therefore, let us constantly approach life seeking the answers not like we already have all the answers. Let us take situations that come not as an opportunity to be feted by others but rather as another opportunity to laud Him and beseech Him for what we truly need. How are we doing? Is our perspective wise and prudent that others just need to get on board with us, or are we destitute babes needing Him for our every moment of life?