Voices
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

The mouths of babes

Children sing, and the Enemy shudders

Issue: "Upside down," April 9, 2011

The scene opens with Jesus "humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden." Cloaks drape His mount, as befitting a king at a public appearance. The crowd presses in, waving palm branches. Along winding streets come shouts of "Hosanna" (Matthew 21). The rider looks serene. Iconic image.

Rewind. The scene opens with Jesus "humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden." This is the signal! The Enemy summons his SWAT team from every remote outpost to converge on the target. They take their positions on the temple roof, atop the balustrade, between the columns, interspersed among the parade onlookers. They wait for a clean shot.

At this point something unusual happens. Children in the temple begin singing spontaneously, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" The Enemy is suddenly unnerved, as a division of messengers dispatched from the four corners of the earth (Psalm 91:11-13; Hebrews 1:14) lock arms in an invisible barricade along the lines of gawkers, blocking Enemy special ops. The rider on the colt, observing all, looks serene.

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Explanation given in Psalm 8:2: "Out of the mouths of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger."

This is heaven's secret weapon-a child's worship. Those of least account in the world hamstring principalities and powers with a song, setting the example for fathers and young men who will dare to become like children: "I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one" (1 John 2:13).

Truth indeed hides in the light. Psalms repeatedly testify to these strange realities of spiritual warfare, but we mistook them for quaint and dead liturgy. We read in Psalms 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times"-but do we? We recite, "His praise shall continually be in my mouth"-but is it? If we praised more would we not experience more power in our daily lives?

I was whining on the phone, and my friend listened a while, then interjected: "Read Isaiah 61:3, a garment of praise instead of a faint spirit." Some time later he asked about my progress. "It's a beautiful verse," I said. "Never mind 'beautiful': Did you do it?"

"Sing, O barren one" (Isaiah 54:1), says the Lord to Israel in exile. That would be cruel if it were not that the One who commands it knows it is the way to overcome. "Shout for joy to God, all the earth" (Psalm 66:1). Do shout it! Don't just have a Bible study about those who shouted it. This is the way the walls of Jericho crumbled. There is something that transcends logic here. God is "enthroned on the praises of Israel" (Psalm 22:3) in an almost literal way. His presence with joyful rule in your life awaits your decision to speak out words of thanks and worship-on your bed, in your car, in the shower, against your foul mood.

The Enemy has no authority over us Christians unless we give it to him. We give it to him by putting ourselves in agreement with his assessment of God-by pious grumbling, by hopeless speaking, by repeating to each other our theories about life, rather than the truths of God. We say: "That situation is impossible," "Love in marriage always fades," "Children will rebel when they're adults if they don't do it when they're little." All lies and self-curses.

The Enemy had no power over Eve until she gave it to him. All he was able to do was to keep talking to her until she finally agreed with him: God is not as good as He makes Himself out to be; He's holding out on you. Eve gave Satan the foothold he needed, and the rest is world history. The tongue is consequential beyond our wildest dreams, the most underestimated of the wonders of the world.

Little children in the temple thought they were singing nice songs to the king. They were in fact stilling the Enemy and the avenger. They were providing entry points for His kingdom come. If they had not done it themselves, the stones would have had to. 

Email aseupeterson@wng.org

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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