I have walked with Jesus for as long as I can remember, and yet never truly knew what it meant to study the Word of God. My brain just couldn’t comprehend how others could spend hours poring over a single chapter…even a single verse!
At the start of lockdown, I asked God to help me delve deeper into my Bible: to study it, to learn it, to chew on a verse or two, to apply it, to dissect and ingest it. I knew it would take some time and practice, but I was hungry for something deeper and trusted that my labouring would yield fruit and that by simply seeking, I would find.
So, I decided to study the book of Psalms – a psalm a day.
It didn’t take long for me to find a single verse that captured my attention for a long while… “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.” It’s the second verse of the eighth psalm.
In the first verse, David considers the might and greatness of God in Creation – evident from the earth to above the heavens. Now, he writes the same power is evident in small children.
Wait, what? Babies and infants are completely dependent beings. Without a parent, a baby is totally lost. They are uneducated, they are helpless, they are ignorant, they are physically and mentally weak. I mean, they haven’t even finished developing yet! Even a weak adult is nowhere near as weak as a baby.
Aren’t the weak the most unlikely vessels for God to choose to establish His strength? Surely God’s power is better-displayed and more convincingly conveyed in the strong?
His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12v9a). God chooses – He chooses – what is weak in the world to shame the strong (1 Corinthians 1v27b). Out of the mouths of small children, He stills the enemy and the avenger.
My brain is still completely in awe of this concept. It blows my mind that the weak not only display His glory, but that this stills the enemy. The Hebrew word for this is “shabath” which means to cease and, in this context, to exterminate. That is awesome. By choosing the weakest, most helpless, fragile vessel, God’s power and strength is all the more glorified. It’s so foolish, right? It’s so absurd?! This can only be Him. This really shames the wise and the strong.
What I also love about this verse is how it encourages a childlike mind-set. We need to be wholly dependent on God for our strength. The weaker I am the more room for God and the more He is able to use me. He chooses to use the weak, not the strong.
Just look at how God worked through the early Christians. They were weak, in one sense: uneducated, ordinary, ignorant (Acts 4v13). They were totally dependent on God. They emptied themselves of anything other than God. God used their weakness as a vessel for His power – sermons, healings, signs, and wonders…the list goes on! First century Christians were dangerous because they were so full of His Spirit and power!
Finally, this verse conjured an image of intimacy in my mind. Think about it, such strength and power is obtained only if there is that closeness and dependency, like that of a mother and her baby. The baby is helpless without its mother; it will never develop or learn. We must sow into a close relationship with our Heavenly Father if we are to be used to still the enemy. We must become like babes in His arms. Are we willing to do that? Only then will His power be made perfect in us. Only then will we be used to still the enemy for God’s glory… It’s all about the Lord!
And so, I conclude by echoing Paul’s words (from 2 Corinthians 12v9b): “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me!”
Photo credit: Photo by Kristina Paukshtite from Pexels.