Out of the Mouths of Babes
“Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.” – Psalm 8:2
In our family “out of the mouths of babes” was proverbial, expressed when any wisdom or insight, even unintentional, came from one of the youngest members. Here’s an example: A married couple, bickering in the kitchen, was astonished when their young child walked in on them and said, “You should get counseling.” Out of the mouths of babes.
When my own children were very young our mealtime often had the feeling of a manic improvisational comedy troupe. Beverages were spilled with alarming regularity. One time my son turned to his little sister, and asked, “How do you know everything?” She quickly answered, “I don’t know!” Out of the mouths of babes.
Psalm 8 asserts the dignity of humanity before the glorious majesty of the Creator. If even babes and infants praise God then there must be something intrinsic in our humanity that recognizes that the Creator is worthy of praise.
In one of Isaac Watts’ great hymns he nods at this innate capacity for praise in this verse:
“People and realms of every tongue
dwell on his love with sweetest song;
and infant voices shall proclaim
their early blessings on his Name.”
Jesus tells us that we should be as little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. So perhaps we don’t need to know everything to know enough to praise God.
O God, our God, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have made us and love us. Let our mouths be filled with praise before your great glory.
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. A writer and author, his most recent publications are Romans, Parts 1 and 2 (with Michael S. Bennett), new titles in the “Listen Up!” Bible Study Series. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.