Transcript of Midweek Meditations podcast episode aired on Wednesday, 10th June 2020.
How do you respond to challenges and difficulties in life? A child might throw a tantrum, run to a parent seeking comfort, or scream as they struggle to communicate their frustration. But us, mature adults, we don’t do that, do we?
No, we’re mature. We think things through, we develop strategies to manage situations, we process our thoughts and emotions, or we suck it up and persevere. We’re not naive or innocent like children.
Yet, how mature are we, really? Sometimes, we’re as naive and ignorant as children, not knowing what to do. Yet, as we meditate on the words of Psalm 8:2, the psalmist reveals a simple response to the challenges of life and faith.
Psalm 8 is a psalm of praise, opening with the words:
Lord, our Lord,Psalm 8:1 (NIV)
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
This psalm speaks of the glory of God. The comparative insignificance of humanity. And God’s choice to honour people over his creation. But then there’s verse 2:
Through the praise of children and infantsPsalm 8:2 (NIV)
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
This God who sets his glory in the heavens (8:1). Who sets the moon and stars in place (8:3). Whose name is majestic in all the earth (8:1, 9)—“through the praise of children and infants” he establishes a stronghold against his enemies and silences his foe. The God of the universe defeats his enemy with “the praise of children and infants.” Huh?
The God of the universe chooses the praise of naive and innocent children as his battle cry. What’s going on here? How do naive and innocent children go up against the enemies of God and his people? They do it with innocent praise.
Yesterday morning, as we left the house, my son looked up at the sky and asked, “Why can we see the moon during the day?” There’s an innocent curiousity about life in children, something many of us lose as we supposedly mature. The beauty of the moon by day, gently floating in the sea of a blue sky…when did you last take notice of it?
As the psalmist considers the creation around him, he responds in praise. He recognises his dependence on God’s care (8:4) and the honoured place he holds over God’s creation (8:6-8). In this way, he becomes like a child, his curious wonder of creation leads him to praise God.
He praises God in awe and wonder of God, as a child might adore their parent. He praises God in recognition of his dependence upon him, as a child innocently demands their parents’ attention. The child is totally unaware of the other demands of adulthood. He praises the majesty of God, as a child naively believes their parent is the most amazing person in the world.
Do you remember what Jesus said to his disciples when people brought children to Jesus for him to pray for them:
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”Matthew 19:14 (NIV)
The Christian life, the Christian faith, isn’t built on a deep knowledge of the Bible. It isn’t built on reaching some level of maturity. It isn’t built on religious purity or obedience. All of which are good things.
No, the Christian life is built on the child-like faith, the innocent praises and declaration that the Lord is God. He alone deserves the praise. He alone is the source of all our needs. And, he alone gives us the greatest honour over his creation—that is, he defines who we are.
How do you respond to challenges and difficulties in life? How do you live the Christian life? How do you overcome the enemy? The evil one who seeks to destroy your life and faith? Praise God as a child unashamedly praises their parents. Depend on God as a child depends on their parents. Determine your worth by the declaration of God, not people, just as a child determines their worth by the words of their parents.
Whatever comes your way today, whatever comes your way in life, respond in praise to God. Remember who he is. He is the Creator who sustains the world by his word. He’s the one who sustains your life by the power of his word.
Remember who you are. You’re a child of God, crowned with glory and honour. You’re given authority to care for God’s creation. You’re redeemed by the blood of Jesus. So praise him because you’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
Heavenly Father, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory in the heavens. You set the heavens, the sun and moon, the stars and planets in their place. You know them all by name. How awesome are you!
Yet, you choose the weak and foolish things of this world to demonstrate your glory. You choose us, weak and sinful people, to display your glory. How wonderful you are!
You demonstrate your power over sin and death, over the evil one and his angels, in the praises of your children. As we praise you, as we declare your glory, we overcome the enemy. Help us to do that, help us to praise you.
Holy Spirit, continue to work in us, draw our eyes to see Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. May we glory in his love for us. Through his blood we’re adopted us into the family of God. For this we thank you, Lord Jesus.
Remind us all these things by your Holy Spirit that we might praise you. Remind us, in the face of challenges and difficulties, to turn and praise you!
This we ask for your glory’s sake, in Jesus’ name we pray, amen.