Children: God’s Fortress-Builders


Reflections on Psalm 8.

My sons love to create fortresses, or more accurately, clandestine caves where they plot top-secret strategies for global domination.

As part of their covert operation they play ‘spy’, where they sneak around while I’m trying to get ready for work.

Their challenge is to approach without me seeing or hearing them. This game goes down well with me as it keeps them busy. Not only are they entertaining themselves, but they willingly enter that most golden of states: silence (so I can get on with doing my hair in peace).

That is, until they introduce Nerf guns as part of their challenge, supposedly not aiming at me!

Think of a child you know. When was the last time you released them to build fortresses against the forces of spiritual darkness?

When did you last recognise them as agents of God’s silencing work amongst his enemies?

If you have encouraged a child in singing their praises to God recently then you surely have.

Psalm 8 begins by reminding us of the majesty of the Lord and sets humanity in its rightful context of creation, a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honour.

Children and infants are placed right into the midst of God’s glorious creation, in this Psalm, with the expressed purpose that through their praise God will establish “a stronghold against [God’s] enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8: 2)

In a surprising interplay between Jesus and the Chief Priests in the temple, Jesus uses the praises of the nearby children, quoting Psalm 8: 2, to efficiently silence his foes.

Jesus firmly highlights that it is the worshipping children shouting in the temple courts, not the teachers of the law, that have truly understood who Jesus is.

In Matthew 21: 15-17 we read: “But when the chief priests and teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise” And he left them…”

Releasing children in their worship to the Lord, through singing and shouting the truth of who God is, enables them to realise one of their God-ordained purposes as agents of fortress-making against rival forces of darkness.

God uses their praise to build spiritual fortresses against the enemy.

Think of a child you know. When did you last allow them to be the spiritual fortress-builders that God has designed them to be?

For further reflection on Psalm 8 see: Keith White, ‘Toddling to the Kingdom’, edited by John Collier, 2009.