33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end. 34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. 35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. 36 Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! 37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways. 38 Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared. 39 Turn away the reproach that I dread, for your rules are good. 40 Behold, I long for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life!
25 At that time Jesus declared, “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; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“You have hidden these things from the wise…and revealed them to the childlike” (Matthew 11:25)
In his prayer of gratitude to the Father, Jesus acknowledged that divine wisdom is hidden “from the wise” (Matthew 11:25). Why would God keep himself hidden like this, especially from those reputed to have deep wisdom in the first place? Wouldn’t a better strategy be to reveal himself to them first and use them to convince the simple?
Evidently not. If we look at the way God has worked throughout history, we can see that it’s more a case of people trying to hide from God than his attempt to hide from them. God doesn’t want to remain hidden. He wants to reveal himself. He wants to show us his mind and heart. It’s a gift that he freely gives; we don’t have to earn it. But as Jesus said, God reveals himself to the childlike, and that’s a challenge for all of us.
We should be clear. Accepting this revelation can be costly. It demands that we admit our need. We don’t have all the answers about life, about our friends and family or even about ourselves. Admitting this isn’t always easy. It cuts at our pride and puts us in a position of dependence. It means giving up control of our lives and allowing Jesus to reign in us.
The late theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar once observed that when Jesus said, “Unless you turn and become like children,” he wasn’t referring only to children but to himself (Matthew 18:3). Jesus, the Son of God, didn’t just become a child for a few years of his life. Throughout his time on earth, he emptied himself and sought his Father’s wisdom and plan with humility and childlike simplicity. Because of his childlike nature, Jesus was able to hear his Father at all times. His heart was always open to the Father’s revelation and wisdom.
May we all follow Jesus’ example and become little children in the presence of our heavenly Father.
Father, help me to seek your will, to become teachable, and to mediate on your word. I don’t want to just receive your wisdom; I want it to change my heart and become my way of life. May I become more like your Son every day.
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.