8. Strength From Out Of The Mouths Of Babes And Sucklings (Psalm 8)

O Jehovah, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth; You have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, You have ordained strength, because of the ones distressing You, to cause the enemy and the avenger to cease. When I look upon Your heavens, the work of Your fingers: the moon and the stars which You have fixed; what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man, that You visit him? For You have made him lack a little from God; and have crowned him with glory and honour. You made him rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all under his feet: all flocks and oxen, and also the animals of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, all that pass through the sea. O Jehovah, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9)

….the style of the Word is the Divine style itself, with which no other style, however sublime and excellent it may seem, can be compared, for any other style is as thick darkness compared with light. The style of the Word is such that there is holiness in every sentence, and in every word; indeed, in some places, in the very letters; and consequently the Word conjoins man with the Lord, and opens heaven. There are two things which proceed from the Lord, Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, or what is the same, Divine Good and Divine Truth; for Divine Good is of His Divine Love, and Divine Truth is of His Divine Wisdom. The Word in its essence is both of these; and since it conjoins man with the Lord and opens heaven, as has just been said, therefore the Word fills the man who reads it from the Lord, and not from himself alone, with the good of love and the truths of wisdom-his will with the good of love and his understanding with the truths of wisdom; thus man has life through the Word. (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 3)

That in the Word a “sucking child” signifies innocence, is also evident from other passages; as in David: Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast Thou founded strength (Ps. 8:2; Matt. 21:16); where “babes” denote celestial love, and “sucklings,” innocence. (Arcana Coelestia 3183{3})

Psalm 8 is a joyous Psalm of exultation and praise. It expresses the joy that comes in life when we have things in their right perspective from a spiritual point of view. When the Lord is given His rightful place in us as the very centre and focus for our life then a wonderful reordering of the mind can begin through which joy that accompanies the Lord’s love is able to find its place, from the inmost part of our minds right out into it lowest or most external reaches.

This involves having our external natural mind brought into subjection or obedience to the spiritual and celestial things that make up the internal spiritual mind. Hell, the doctrines for Spiritual Christianity teach, is when external things rule over internal things and heaven, is when internal things of love and wisdom rule over external things. We know this in the practicalities of our own experience. When we become overly concerned about external things, we invite states of worry and anxiety and move from trusting in the Lord to trusting in ourselves. We have all sorts of mental tricks we pull to keep us from admitting our state of disconnection from the Lord but at the end of the day the joy of heaven is only attained through working with spiritual disciplines in a genuine spiritual practice.

Can we with all sincerity say with the Psalmist…

O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth…

This statement of praise is a recognition that the Divine presence as goodness or love is supreme and should rule in all the things of our life. The two spiritual loves are love to the Lord and love to the neighbour. From the perspective of Spiritual Christianity, these loves have a very practical application for to love the Lord is to live from Word and to love our neighbour is to seek to promote what is good and true in our interactions with others, for what is good and true is in fact the Lord within each of us.

This is why these two commandments are really one, for when we are looking to support the development of what is good and true in our interactions with others, then we are loving the Lord and the neighbour simultaneously. But our ability to do that effectively will be directly related to our own personal practice of working with the Word in our life. On a personal level, we have a responsibility before the Lord to be examining the life of our thoughts and affections and calling out those things that are not in keeping with what we understand and feel to be of a higher spiritual quality. If we do this, then we are living a practical spiritual life that is centred on a genuine concern for the spiritual wellbeing of others.

The phrase, O Lord, our Lord…is an expression of the spiritual truth that Divine Love is our Lord. The first Lord in the statement is the word Jehovah, which refers to the Divine love but the second word translated as Lord is Adoni which means master or ruler, and refers to the Divine truth. In this simple statement we see the universal truth that love is one with wisdom, that the Divine Being makes itself known to human consciousness by means of truth which descends to the very external reaches of those who make love to the Lord and love to the neighbour the primary pursuit of their lives. Love, in order to be real must become expressed and the means it does this is through truth. It is precisely because truth gives expression to love that makes it truth. Something that is claimed to be true yet does not bring us or others into closer contact with love, is not really true at all.

The way in which love becomes real is through its expression and our ability to see love is a matter of perception. The things we focus on, the beliefs we hold and the values we live from, all form the ground or basis from out of which comes our ability to see love operating or not. If we are building our minds with truths from the Word through their application to life, then we gain a new perception of love. We begin to see that love is indeed all around us, that we are in wonderful and remarkable ways held by it. As we come to see this truth, so we find ourselves held in a more secure state of mind in which the difficulties we inevitably have to face in living our lives in the natural world, no longer appear to be as troublesome as they once did.

When we are in a conscious state of being held in the Lord’s love and care in the face of what we have to deal with in our daily life, everything can become transformed and filled with meaning from a spiritual point of view. We see we are not left alone or on our own, far from it, for the Lord is very real and present, and makes his presence felt as we draw back from states of anxiety and worry which the cares of this life draw us into. But to draw back from negative states of life, or in terms of spiritual terminology – to move into a more internal state of mind, we need support and help. That support and help is the Word with its truths and goods. These sit on a deeper or more inward plane within our mind and they are designed to hold the Lord’s presence with us so that we in turn can be held by Him.

Such an ability is open to all if they are willing to work with the Word as the basis for their life. No one need be overwhelmed by anxiety or worry or negative emotions to the point of hopeless despair. There is hope. The last thing the Lord wants for anyone is for them to feel abandoned. He wants everyone to be able to say with the Psalmist,

How majestic is your name in all the earth.

Don’t think of earth here as applying primarily to the natural creation or the earth we behold with our natural eyes. Sure, there are scenes of majestic beauty in the natural world that can take our breath away – and these certainly can provide us with a sense of the Lord’s presence, beauty and power. In a very real sense, they do have the power to lift us out of ourselves into what is other than ourselves for a moment in time. But really, such experiences point to a deeper reality, to something we can have in the earth of our external man into which what is higher within ourselves from the Lord, seeks to find its expression.

When we see the power of truths to bring about transformative changes in external patterns of feeling and thinking, we are in the experience of the transformative power that the Lord’s name has on those who seek to live from the Word. The transformative power of the name of the Lord has nothing to do with mouthing the name of Jesus like a mantra or magic incantation. The name of the Lord is everything that gives expression to His love and wisdom in a form that human beings can connect with. The most powerful expression of the Lord’s name is the Word itself for when the truths of the Word are taken into our minds and used to examine the life and activity of our thoughts and affections, and we respond to the challenges it makes upon us to think from what it teaches and not from how we feel – then we begin to think and feel in new ways in the external plane of life. This is truly a remarkable thing and it is in this experience of the power of the Word to change the earth or ground of our external man that gives rise to this expression of praise…

How majestic is your name in all the earth…

The next part of the verse is an acknowledgement that the power to transform our sense of ourselves, through lifting it out of lower states of selfish and worldly concerns, is sourced in the Divine who is above the heavens

You have set your glory above the heavens…

The name of the Lord in the earth is the Word for this is the Divine love and wisdom in its most external form; it is the Lord in His Divine Human. The truths of the Word are taken into the mind through reading it and hearing it and in this way the name of the Lord becomes present in the earth of the natural mind. It becomes majestic in all their earth’ when we obey it and so live from it. The Word is not of a worldly origin, it is not a human invention despite how it appears on its surface. It is the Lord in the fullness of His power to save us. Worldly wisdom cannot see this. It looks on the Word and sees something simple, unrefined, unsophisticated, and full of contradictions.

But this very simplicity of its presentation in its external form is the height of Divine wisdom. In taking the form it does, it keeps the way of salvation open to those who are able to receive spiritual things due to their willingness to live from them and yet closes the way to those who come to it in the pride of their own intelligence. To those who come to the Word in humility, heaven is opened and the glory of the Lord is seen within it. To those who place their strength in their own powers of reasoning, the way is closed because they look at the Word and see nothing in it of any value. This is expressed in the next verse where it states…

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, You have ordained strength, because of the ones distressing You, to cause the enemy and the avenger to cease.

Again, as with the word earth don’t think naturally in terms of the phrase out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. All expressions of the Word are spiritual and are to be understood in relation to heavenly realities. Babes and sucklings or infants refer to the highest of heavenly influences, and speak of what is of a celestial quality. The doctrines for Spiritual Christianity on numerous occasions illustrate this in that angels of the highest heavens appear as young children from a distance to represent the innocence that they are in. This innocence is the innocence of a profound wisdom which arises from their willingness to be led by the Lord alone. It is this quality of a willingness to be led by the Lord alone, that is meant by loving the Lord. And in the spiritual heavens that sit below the celestial heavens this celestial quality flows down and becomes embodied in qualities of spiritual life that are described in the Word as love to the neighbour.

The doctrines for Spiritual Christianity teach that the whole of the Word is nothing else but the doctrine of charity, in other words when rightly understood it teaches nothing other than how to love the Lord and love the neighbour. This fact is captured in the expression…

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, You have ordained strength, because of the ones distressing You, to cause the enemy and avenger to cease.

For the term mouth in Scripture, being that from which truths are voiced, means spiritual teaching and the terms babes and sucklings mean celestial love and innocence. Therefore, the spiritual meaning of this verse is that it is by means of teachings to do with loving the Lord and loving our neighbour that the Lord ordains the strength or the power to resist what opposes the heavenly life becoming more fully expressed in our life. From this we can see that the phrase the mouth of babes and sucklings is referring to nothing other than the Word itself which on its surface has a child like quality that is easily dismissed when we fail to appreciate its origin being sourced in the Divine Itself. Within this innocent child like appearance is the Divine Love and Wisdom in all its fullness and glory. Here indeed is the Lord.

O Jehovah, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

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