I was startled recently by an obscure verse in a famous psalm. Usually, verse 1 and verses 3-9 of Psalm 8 get all the attention. They are marvelous verses describing the majesty of the Lord and the humble wonder of humanity. God is rightfully praised and humans are rightfully placed. "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your Name in all the earth… What are mortals that you should think of us… For you made us only a little lower than Elohim (God)…" Etc. These are orienting verses that help us discover God and ourselves more clearly.
But verse 2 shocked my system a bit. For some reason through the years I have skimmed over this verse. This time, however, I became ashamed that I had so passively dismissed these words in the past. It reads like this:
"You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise.
They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge."
First, I am reminded that God places tremendous attention on young people. In a world that dismisses and neglects children, God intentionally teaches them. God focuses time and energy to equip them to be proactive proclaimers. Most of us would naturally agree that babies and young children exude a sort of passive praise of God. Their innocence and fragility and sweetness emotes with the wonder of our Creator. But to think that God enables them to personally engage in the act of praise is a remarkable thought. God believes that children, even nursing infants, are able to praise Him. Again, as Scripture reveals repeatedly, we read that we should never hinder a little one from following God.
Secondly, I am startled that nursing infants and children have the power to silence God's enemies. No missles, no hidden nuclear program nor secret drones. No government authority, no military advantage nor organized movement. These babies still rely upon their mothers for life and nourishment. They are weak and fragile. Babies cannot yet completely control their fine motor movements. Babies poop in diapers… as long as someone has diapered them. Nursing infants and children are at the mercy of others who care for them. And yet, somehow, according to Psalm 8, they are able to pacify God's enemies.
It's quite a picture: God's enemies silenced by diapered, nursing infants. Like Daniel in the den of lions, babies shut the mouths of devouring beasts.
How? Simple really. Astonishingly simple. God cares for young people and teaches young people to proclaim praise in the midst of the terrors roaming this earth. And in their fragile innocence and wide-eyed wonder, these children quell the rage of sin and shine hope to the nations.
Thank you, Jesus, for the unbridled wonder of the next generation!
Here's the entirety of Psalm 8 in the New Living Translation (taken from Bible Gateway):
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by a stringed instrument.[a]
1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,[b]
silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?[c]
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God[d]
and crowned them[e] with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
- Psalm 8:1 Hebrew according to the gittith.
- Psalm 8:2 Greek version reads to give you praise. Compare Matt 21:16.
- Psalm 8:4 Hebrew what is man that you should think of him, / the son of man that you should care for him?
- Psalm 8:5 Or Yet you made them only a little lower than the angels;Hebrew reads Yet you made him [i.e., man] a little lower than Elohim.
- Psalm 8:5 Hebrew him [i.e., man]; similarly in 8:6.