Mission glory. Number eight. Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual health and growth, for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. What’s your life about? That’s the question we are addressing in this series built on Psalm 8. The mission is God’s glory. We’ve looked at several questions already, of mission what, mission who? Now in the second section of mission where?
We’ve already looked at the cosmic level of splendor. Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name? In all the earth you have displayed your splendor above the heavens. But then the psalmist funnels down and focuses on a group of humanity, which still tends to praise God to bring honor to God because God has established strength to bring praise to himself through children. For all of us who have children and grandchildren, we know the sheer delight of children who are filled with anticipation, excitement if they’re going to discover something.
For those of you who know the Finding Wally, or Where’s Wally, or Where’s Waldo books, I think they had different names in the UK and the US, in an amusing way, the artist, illustrator will put a lot of crowded stuff of different themes. And then you’ll find Waldo with his red hat, and striped shirt, and all this good stuff. He’ll have big glasses and the children find it, and be so excited that they found Waldo, or Wally. We also had something called Goldbug. And the discovery and delight because children are so open and honest, they can exude enthusiasm and express without prohibition or any inhibition as to what they’re feeling.
That’s what happens at a children’s level. For he says in verse 2 of Psalm 8, “from the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise or established strength,” as another version had it. Because of your enemies to silence the fall and the avenger. God’s glory is already seen at a cosmic level. It’s even known at a child’s level. Even children ordained to praise God to bring glory to God. Infants, nursing babies, he talks about. You know what he’s referring to, is the fact that babies don’t have any independent existence. They’re completely dependent on their mother.
The sideline there is, does anybody have that kind of independent existence without being dependent on God? And yet, we think we are so independent we can run independently from him. So we as adults to ascribe glory to the Lord, for example in Psalm 29, because children already bring glory to him. Children don’t bring sacrifice. They don’t know Bible, they don’t know theology like we do. They don’t even reverence Yahweh. They’re just honest. They have not learned the legalisms on which we place around believers.
They don’t even submit to him in the way we think they should submit to him. They are sometimes irreverent. And yet, they’re already ordained to praise him. That’s the freedom that they have. It’s something that we can recover. For theologically, the concepts in this verse are terrifically potent, individually and en masse. Humans are not where we began. God’s glory revels in our infantile naivete and openness and freedom.
God uses our infancy to praise him. It’s seen in his cosmic establishment. It is strengthened at a child’s level. But independent adulthood, we have ordained praise for ourselves. We’ve grown up, but we’ve grown up wrong. Adult pride may be why the Lord Jesus challenges his disciples and said, unless you become like little children, not childish, but childlike, you can’t enter into the kingdom of heaven. Unless you give up your self-love, your conceit, your pride, where you think you’re independent of God, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
This children’s praise even confounds the enemy says the psalmist. Because the enemies of God put an alternative refrain of glory. They say, oh, self. Oh self. How majestic is my name in all the earth? Where God’s opposers, not just the atheists, and the active opposers, just even those of us who passively neglect him. We make a travesty of the majesty of God.
And so the sophistry of grown ups are confounded by children. They confuse adults who are against him. There are a couple of stories I know of the atheist father who wanted to inculcate atheism in his son. And he puts up a big sign that says God is nowhere. And the son walks into the garage and he stumbles over each syllable and reads, God is now here. Or the atheist father, who says, son, show me where God is not. I repeat that. Son, show me where is God. And the son says, show me where God is not, dad.
So and so, one day, the kid asks his father, dad. Does God know we are atheists? And in an unguarded moment, the father says, yes son. He does. The Greek version of the Psalm is found in Matthew 21. The Lord has done something unbelievable. Jesus has purified the temple, the blind see, the lame walk. And then it says, the leaders saw the wonderful things he had done, and the children shouting, Hosanna, in the temple. But then the leaders become defiant and indignant. And the Lord Jesus says to them, hey, Psalm 8:2. Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies, you have established prepared praise for yourself.
Oh, they knew exactly what the Lord Jesus was claiming, to be the Lord, the Lord of the earth. In all his excellencies, and he refers to his opposition as the enemies of God.
Sometimes, when I’m speaking in churches, they will release children for children’s worship. Oh, I so wish they didn’t do that because children are my most honest audience. Adults have mastered the art of deceiving the speaker to make the speaker think that they’re listening to him while they’re sending messages or planning lunch that day. Children, if they are interested, they show attention to you. If they’re not, they’re preoccupied.
So once my most honest audience goes away, I really cannot lead my audience, neither can I read their responses. Children are just like that. God’s purpose for humans is to magnify the majesty of his name. Creation already does that. Children are appointed to do that. Now comes the question, will you bring glory and honor to him, worship him rather than to resist his glory? His highest purpose for your daily existence. Don’t reject his glory. That’s what his enemies do. Will you stay childlike when it comes to glorifying God?
Recently, I had an email exchange with a 95 year old atheist. And he says, I am going to do it my way. And God says, don’t be my enemy because I’ve initiated friendship with you. Since you’re my friend, you’ll give me weight in your life, worth in your life, and as God, worship from your life.