GETTING THE MESSAGE/To God be the glory!
God does all that he does for His own glory. Psalm 8 is about the glory of God in creation and redemption. Verse one reads, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens.”
There are none greater than God. He made all things without the help of anything or anyone. He holds all things together. Nothing was made except by God, and nothing exists independently of God’s sustaining power. There is no such thing as an independent creature. God alone exists in and of Himself.
He has set His glory above the heavens, meaning His glory is expressed in the wonder and infinite nature of the universe - yet not even such a display can convey the full extent of the glory of God. When we speak of “breathtaking views” of nature, we are sensing how glorious God is.
Despite the plainness of God’s revelation in creation, there is opposition to Him. Verse 2 says, “Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and avenger.”
What creature should be so foolish as to be an enemy of God, who is glorious and almighty? The devil and all those he has infected with the same poison, which sadly includes all men. Our great problem is we resist God’s glory and God’s will for our own glory and our own will.
How may a little child still the enemy, the one who opposes God? By seeing the glory of God in the heavens, being in awe, and saying God is great. There are plenty of teachers if one wants to learn. All nature has lessons for him. Not just seeing creation but the wonder of the Creator is a blessed thing.
The glory of God in creation is plain, but we must humble ourselves to see that there is but one God and that He has made it obvious His purposes will stand. The Lord uses the simplicity of a child to illustrate our rebellion. Jesus put a little child in front of Himself and told his disciples, “Unless you turn and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus was speaking of our need of repentance and redemption. Jesus uses Psalm 8 to teach us that He is the Redeemer God sent. In Matthew 21 after He has made His triumphal entry, Jesus first entered the temple and cleansed it of the corruption in it, which was symbolic of His displeasure with man’s corrupted worship of God.
He then healed all the blind and lame that came to Him, which provoked praise from the children, who cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” words which meant “save us, promised descendent of David, our Messiah.”
When the religious leaders heard they objected and were indignant. But Jesus asked them if they had read Psalm 8:2: “Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies, you have ordained praise.” What was plain to the children was hidden to the religious leaders.
The children knew the Scriptures. Isaiah 35 speaks of the coming of the Messiah: “They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God… then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then the lame man shall leap like a deer and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.”
The children saw Jesus doing the very things Isaiah had written that the Messiah would do. Jesus did many other wonderful things, all in fulfilment of many other Scriptures. God made it very plain that Jesus of Nazareth was the one Moses and the prophets wrote of, the one who would be the Savior of men, and destroy the works of the devil.
How do we, like children, still the enemy? We believe Christ. We believe the promises of God in Christ, that His death takes our guilt away. We take his name upon our lips as the name above all names. We cannot honor God more than to believe His promises and build our lives upon Him. Faith honors God. It gives Him the glory of His goodness, mercy, and truth.
Man and God are separated at so great a distance by sin that they can only be brought together by a mediator, and this mediator is declared to be Christ Jesus. We must become small in our own eyes to see how great a Savior God has given to us.
The Rev. Chris Shelton is pastor of Union’s First Presbyterian Church.