"Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger."

PSALM 8:2
 

Psalm 8 defied our quick attempts to understand it as a single, interconnected thought project. As a result, part of our conversation this morning focused on whether we should assume that any given psalm is a single interconnected thought project. When you stumble on one that just seems like a bunch of pious ideas shoved next to each other, should you assume that there are more interconnections than you can see? Are some psalms more like stream of consciousness diary entries than like Petrarch's sonnets? 

We settled pretty solidly on that assumption of unified meaning. Since psalms were written for public singing, it's unlikely that they'd be an unorganized private stream of thoughts. And, based on our shared experiences at least, every time we've given a Bible passage the benefit of the doubt, it's paid off. There's always more unified meaning to discover. When we don't get it, the problem is probably with us, not with the psalm. 

But that assumption doesn't make the project any easier with this psalm. Here's one possible way to understand it that we came up with.

Maybe Psalm 8 is a story of how God used humans to baffle and oppose the fallen angels. It sets up two locations, both in reference to angels: the earth, which is a little lower than them, and the place of God's glory, which is higher than them. In both locations, God places his glory or his name. In particular, by placing his name in the "mouths of babies and infants," he "establishes strength because of [his] foes." Satan aspired to equality with God, so God went below Satan and placed his glory, honor, and name among men, giving glory liberally to the things that seemed beneath him. It's like a sandwich of God's glory on either side of "the avenger." In this reading, the psalm reveals man's vocation as bearers of the name of God, his representatives for dominion in the cosmos, baffling demons and glorifying the one who claimed them for himself.

We're not sure that's the right way to read this Psalm, but it sure was fun, and it makes us excited to go "in the name of the Lord" this week.

 

Questions:

- How do you behave when you encounter a Bible passage that doesn't make much sense to you, or one that just sounds like Christianese? How would you like to respond?
- What is the relationship between the name of God and humankind's place in the cosmos?
 

Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update
 


Wheatstone's requests and praises:

 

FINANCES

We're asking for earnest, focused prayer for Wheatstone's finances for the rest of this year.

We took some big risks in faith this year: moving to a bigger office, hiring new staff. We prayed and worked and assumed that donations would notch up in pace with the new ministry that these risks permitted, but instead we missed almost all of our fundraising goals, all year long (Student Sponsorships being a huge exception, thank God!). We need this year-end fundraising season to go well, or we will be forced to scale back some of the wonderful growth of the past year. We could keep growing if we caught up over the next few weeks, but we're at a pivot point, and we need your prayers.

Pray that God would abundantly provide for all our needs, and confirm our faith in expanding Wheatstone's ministry for his glory.
 


This Week's Psalm
 

PSALM 8

    O LORD, our Lord,
        how majestic is your name in all the earth!
    You have set your glory above the heavens.  

      Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
    you have established strength because of your foes,
        to still the enemy and the avenger.

    When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
        the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
    what is man that you are mindful of him,
        and the son of man that you care for him?
    Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
        and crowned him with glory and honor.
    You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
        you have put all things under his feet,
    all sheep and oxen,
        and also the beasts of the field,
    the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
        whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

    O LORD, our Lord,
        how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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