In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees and leaders of the temple (teachers of the law) were considered the wise and learned. After all, it was they who studied the law all day long. It was they who conversed with each other about the application of the law and they who taught in the synagogues. They, together with the scribes and the very wealthy, were the few who were literate. The vast majority of the population could not read or write. They were far too busy trying to survive to sit down, and far too poor to pay a teacher to help them learn. Consequently the rest of the people looked up to the Pharisees and teachers of the law to dispense knowledge and insight, much as most of Europe looked to the priests during the dark ages.
Matthew writes, “At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”
Being young in the faith is not a barrier to learning things about God that even the wise and learned do not know. The disciples have only known Jesus for a year or two, but it was the disciples, not the temple leaders, who were getting the real spiritual ‘meat’. It was the Christ followers who were taught how to advance in God’s Kingdom through humility when Jesus said, “he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than [John the Baptist.]” It was the Christ followers who were given knowledge of the true nature of John’s ministry when Jesus said, “if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” It was the Christ followers who were given prophetic insight to the future of the Galilean towns when Jesus said, “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!”
This is the good pleasure of God; that He reveals more of Himself – His wisdom and insight and even His thoughts and intention – to those who truly want Him.
He reveals this to those who hang around Him and listen intently to what He is saying. Not to those who just want the honor and attention that comes to those who know more about Him than everyone else. The honor that the wise and learned get from others is enough for them. After all, in many ways they do get what they are seeking, because the honor and attention of men is all they are after. The practical revelation of God’s character and wisdom is not for them. It is revealed to those who come to God as children, hungry to hear and immediately apply that He says.
That practical application is perhaps more profound today than it ever has been. For in our day, entire congregations gather to hear what their favorite Bible teacher says. But are they gathering to seek God in prayer? Are they looking to hear directly from Him?
Perhaps the most important and difficult lesson we need to learn in the school of prayer is how to quiet ourselves so that we can hear His voice in the tumult of our lives.Terry Glaspey
Let us approach Him in awe and reverence. Let us listen to Him speak to our souls.