We journey through a world full of lies. Though we sometimes think we are on the right path, it pulls us into a trap of deception and veils its own ugliness as we fall for Satan’s lies, time and time again. Satan tells us, “You can hide your sin. You don’t need the Gospel. You can climb to reach God everywhere. Truth is relative. Follow your heart. Wealth leads to happiness. Man is worth more through success and glory. You can worship God by your work. You can also find Him in your mind, heart, or hands.” And the list of lies goes on and on.
As humans we are constantly using our reason and senses. Although these things gifts from God, they have been tainted with sin and naturally cling to the wisdom of man that belongs only to this world and that has taken us captive since our fall into sin. This wisdom gives us many ways in which we can find God, yet the lie obscured in all of this is found within those deceitful words that tell us that we can actually find God with our reason and strength. We fall for this lie daily, because we are never fully satisfied with the truth that we are worthless in attaining salvation by our will. We desire glory, strength, and power and are content only with the natural knowledge of God that reveals nothing about who God is and what He has done for our salvation.
The wisdom of man is blind to that which has been revealed from God, whose hidden nature is revealed through His Word. While we hide from God to deny the truth of our sin, God hides His complete nature from us in order to reveal the true nature of Himself in His Word as delivered to us by the cross. Man’s wisdom seeks glory, strength, and success, while God’s wisdom creates truth and life through suffering, weakness, and even death. God is hidden in suffering, bringing life out of death, strength out of weakness, glory out of the cross, and wisdom out of folly. To the wisdom of man, the cross is foolishness, but to those who possess the wisdom of God through faith, it is the power of God by which all are saved.
Satan uses words to form many disguises to hide the truth. As the father of lies, he works to lead us away from this Word made flesh. While the wisdom of this age always changes according to our senses, the Word of the Lord remains forever. It is the strength by which the Church remains steadfast, and it is the root by which we flourish with love towards the neighbor. This love, as evident by God’s revelation to us, is best seen in suffering, because out of the depths of our weakness God pulls us out of the dirtiness of sin, cleanses us with the water of Holy Baptism, and clothes us with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. He does this by coming to us as a man, becoming sin for us, and suffering the punishment we deserve. God’s wisdom is manifested in the person of Jesus Christ, and in Him we are rooted in the truth of God’s Word that never changes and endures forever.
As we are swept away by our reason and senses that lead us away from God’s Word, we can take comfort in Christ who is our true leader on our path to heaven:
Blessed is the man whose path is
Led by God both day and night.
He treads not on paths of wicked
Sinners who despise God’s Light.
But upon God’s Law he ponders,
And with joy his heart obtains
Faith that hears of sin’s condition
as God’s righteousness he gains.
Blessed is a tree whose roots are
Planted by the stream of life,
Yielding fruit within each season,
Ending not amidst all strife.
For God’s Word is ever-springing
With abundant gifts of grace.
While like chaff the wicked tremble,
God feeds us in His embrace.
Blessed is the man whose path is
Righteousness that comes from God.
He is led by Christ who walked
The path of sin; for us He trod.
He was mocked, despised by sinners,
Yet He conquered death and won,
Granting us our life in Heaven:
God’s path for us in His Son.
Bethany Woelmer is a member at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Topeka, Kansas, and a student in the Master’s of Church Music program at the University of Kansas.