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From the editor: Babes and Sucklings (Ps 8.2)

J Grant

There are occasions in Christian life when it is profitable to stand back from demanding and time consuming responsibilities and, in contemplation, consider the greatness of our God and of His work in creation and redemption. This psalm has that "feeling" about it. There are different views as to the occasion when it was composed, but the wording fits David the shepherd, caring for his flock, and contemplating
the glory and beauty of the heavens seen against the backcloth of night.

The first two verses give the praise due to His name. Both the beginning and the end of the psalm are marked by the words, "O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!". But, not only is His excellence seen on earth, His glory is seen in the heavens. On earth there has been opposition to the Lord, the enemy has been active. Against such opposition "babes and sucklings" are mentioned, not to indicate a state of immaturity but rather to mark out those whose faith is as confident as a child’s unswerving trust in its mother. The Lord Jesus speaks of "babes" (Mt 11.25) and "babes and sucklings" (Mt 21.16) and in both He is commending them. Such "childlike" faith is marked by certain characteristics. It has complete confidence in the one who is the object of that faith; it is humble faith; it is strong faith; and it does not change when circumstances alter.

In Psalm 8 the lesson to be learned from v.2 is that faith like that of a babe can overcome enemies. It will stand as a bulwark against those who oppose; it is the faith that makes one an overcomer - "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou established praise…to still the enemy and the avenger" (JND). Before such faith the enemy is stilled. Such a believer is marked by spiritual power.

In Matthew 11 the Lord Jesus states that those who consider themselves to be "wise and prudent" have truth hidden from them, as they would regard such knowledge as the product of their own intelligence and intellect. They would glory in their own abilities. However, what has been hidden from the "wise and prudent" has been revealed to the "babes". Those who enjoy such a privilege will have understanding. Such a believer is marked by spiritual intelligence.

The Lord Jesus entered the Temple in Jerusalem, and after casting out those who were buying and selling in the Temple courts, was challenged by the "chief priests and scribes" (Mt 21.15). The complaint was that the children in the Temple were crying out "Hosanna to the son of David" as they praised Him. It is little wonder that those in the priesthood were opposed to such statements being made. The answer of the Lord was again taken from Psalm 8 as Matthew records: "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise" (Mt 21.16). "Perfected" indicates that what they cried was the praise climax of the day and it was acceptable to Him. Such a believer is marked by, and able to express, acceptable spiritual praise.

Most of us have met believers who are characterised by spiritual power and intelligence and from whose lips godly praise is often heard. We know those who would never regard themselves as being well-versed in the things "touching the King". These are saints who make little claim to knowing much of God’s ways. But, in their company there is found godly tenderness and wisdom. How was this brought to them? How did they make it their own? Is it not that they trusted their God as a child trusts its mother? They practise this childlike faith and experience what it is to be one of His "babes".

We see, therefore, that the description of them as "babes and sucklings" does not mean that they failed to grow spiritually. On the contrary, the sweet simplicity of their faith was the means by which they did grow and yet never changed their attitude to God who had led them, preserved them, schooled them, and blessed them. Complete dependence on Him was what they sought and what they practised. Complete confidence in Him is what they gain.


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