“God’s a jerk!” he said as he tossed his Bible on the table.
“What makes you say that?” I answered, as I slowly distanced myself from him a bit… just in case a lightning strike was on the way.
“Why would God hide things from us? Isn’t God supposed to love us?”
He was trying to make sense of this conversation Jesus is having with God:
“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.” (Matt 11:25–26 NLT)
And it’s a fair question: why would God hide things from us?
In context, Jesus’ prayer comes just after He pronounces woe on cities who refused to believe in Him despite miracles and works. Some may have tried to explain away the miracles. Others may have been too preoccupied with their lifestyles to notice.
The text doesn’t give us their motivations… it only gives us this observation from Jesus Himself: the people are so clever and intelligent, and yet so blind to the Kingdom of God.
How does this happen?
To trace this problem, we have to go back to the beginning… the very beginning!
In Genesis 2, Adam and Eve are given free reign of the garden, with one big exception:
“But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden —except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”” (Gen 2:16–17 NLT)
So, what’s the big deal with the fruit of this one tree? The tempter explains the supposed advantage in eating this fruit:
““God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”” (Gen 3:5 NLT)
On the surface, it sounds pretty good: We’ll be like God… we’ll know more. But there’s a big difference between being “like God” and actually being God.
And there is some knowledge that makes us less than what we can be… not more.
If you know Adam and Eve’s story, you know they take the bait… they eat this forbidden fruit and “their eyes are opened.” But as their limited, human eyes open, their vision of God dims.
Interestingly enough, the first thing they feel is shame. And they HIDE from God! When it comes to the game of hiding, God can honestly say to humans, “You started it!”
Their disobedience results in eviction from paradise. Their knowledge charts a course of human history that eventually leads God to call a “do-over” in the story of Noah and the flood.
How did we get so far from God?
Apparently the human eyes that were opened are near-sighted. As we lost our distance vision of God, we began to focus on things that are close… like ourselves.
“Being like God” can make one feel self-sufficient. Humans began to experience pride… and even arrogance as their vision grew ever more narrow and self-focused.
And it all makes me wonder if the things of God are truly hidden, or if our eyesight is just so near-sighted that we no longer see them? (Maybe a better term for that kind of eyesight would be “self-sighted”).
Either way, it’s bad news: the things of the Kingdom of God are hidden.
But there is good news as well… these things are not hidden from everyone.
“…thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike” (Matt 11:25 NLT)
So the questions begin… how do we regain our distance vision? Why do we have to be childlike in order to see? And how do we get started?
And these are questions we’ll address in our next post. So, as they say in the heart of Texas, “Y’all come back now… ya hear?”
With any luck, not only will we hear… we’ll “see” too!
What do you think causes us to lose sight of the Kingdom? How might we see more of God… and less of us?