What is Psalm 8? It is a song about the majesty of God. It is a glorious lesson in humility and thanksgiving.
Psalm 8 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Glory of the Lord in Creation
To the Chief Musician. [a]On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.
8 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have [b]ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit[c] him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than [d]the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth!
Undoubtedly, there is more to Psalm 8 than I know, but verse two puzzled me right away. Here is what John Wesley observed in his notes.
Babes – Weak and foolish, and contemptible persons, who are frequently called babes or children. Such are very unfit to grapple with an enemy: and therefore when such persons conquer the most powerful and malicious enemies, it must needs confound them, and advance the glory of God: as indeed it did, when such mean persons as the apostles, and disciples of Christ, maintained and propagated the gospel, in spite of all the wit, power, and rage of their enemies. Ordained – Perfectly or firmly settled strength; that is, the praise of his strength or power, Mat 21:16, it is rendered praise. Still – Silence and confound them. Avenger – The devil, and all who are his vassals and espouse his quarrel. (from here)
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Thorn in the Flesh
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to [a]buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As Christians we are not conquerors through our own strength. We are conquerors through Him who loves us (Romans 8:31-39).
Jesus told His apostles that the world would hate them for His name’s sake (John 15:18-25). If we follow the teachings of Jesus, we too risk persecution.
Are Christians persecuted in the United States? Yes. Instead obeying the commands of God, non-Christians, mostly secularists, demand conformity with their beliefs. The demands of these secularists empower politicians and hugely interfere with the free exercise of religion.
Consider some examples.
- To educate their children in private schools that allow them to efficiently pass their religious beliefs on to their children, parents must pay both the costs of private schools and the taxes for politician-run schools. Advocates for politician-run schools refuse to see any problem with this. Effectively, advocates for politician-run schools believe our obligation to pay for politician-run schools trumps our right to educate our children as we see fit. Yet virtually no one trusts politicians to get anything right. So why politician-run schools? Do some people despise Christians more than they value their own right to educate their children as they see fit?
- Christians see charity as an act of love. Politicians have redefined charity as an entitlement. So now we have people using our government to steal by voting for the “right” to receive other people’s money through the government. You don’t think that is stealing? Why not?
- Judges, appointed and confirmed by politicians, have redefined marriage. The Bible defines marriage as the lifelong union of a man and a woman. Judges and political elites would have us believe that marriage can be defined by law, not the facts of life. Our genes; the anatomy of our sexual organs; and our need to have, protect and educate our children demand we define marriage as the union of a man and woman. To exist a child must have both a father and a mother, but politicians buy votes by promising fantasies. So they want a different definition. Will even the denial of same-sex “marriage” is slowly become a “hate crime”? Would that be proper?
- Judges, appointed and confirmed by politicians, have redefined the beginning of life and the end of life. According to our political elites, life does not begin until a baby exits the womb. Until then, we must consider a baby just a soulless clump of flesh, a meaningless clump that can be discarded at will. In fact, taxpayers supposedly have an obligation to help women terminate their unwanted clumps of flesh. Similarly, life ends when it is not wanted. What is still to be determined is who has the power to decide that a life is unwanted. When does life begin? When does it end? How do we decide when we can rightly terminate a clump of flesh?
So are American Christians being imprisoned and killed by a secularist government? Not yet. Here the persecution consists of shaming and financial pressures often led by government agents. Either we conform by spouting politically correct words and doing politically correct things, or we are called names, hounded, and pressured financially, even with law suits.
Members of the early Christian church faced similar problems. The Roman Emperor demanded a simple sacrifice, recognition he was a god, that he was Lord. Those early Christians refused, saying “Jesus is Lord”. So they suffered. Some Roman emperors had no trouble ordering both the torture and execution of Christians.
With their suffering, those early Christians gave us a choice. Will we insist upon worshipping Jesus as Lord, or will we acquiesce to conniving politicians and worship our government? Do we have to wait until our government threatens us with torture and execution before we take a stand?
On November 6th we will vote. Please consider your choices carefully. Please vote for candidates who will defend our religious freedom.