The Last Word in Praise
All true believers praise God, and that praise can take many forms. For some, praise amounts to sitting in a chair or pew, with no outwardly demonstrable signs. For others, praise amounts to folded or raised hands. For still others, praise amounts to vocal prayer and singing, oftentimes accompanied by swaying or other bodily movements. However, some praise is truly noble, and I want to describe an experience that I had with such praise.
It is well known from the book of Mark in the New Testament that Jesus loved little children. How capably and powerfully Jesus illustrates this:
People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
In the book of Matthew, Jesus says with particular emphasis how important children are:
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)
God cares so much for children that His angels constantly watch over them, by day and by night. No one is more precious than innocent children, and to them, God has provided the shield of His heavenly host.
Finally, children praise God as no others can… and Jesus has this testimony:
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “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 have ordained praise’?” (Matthew 21:12-16)
Jesus loved children because they loved Him unconditionally. The unmistakable hallmarks of children are that they do not in any way dissemble, they do not have ulterior motives, they do not play games, they do not want something in return for the love they give, and all that they want is to be loved.
Jesus knew well what usually comes out of the heart:
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ “ Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” Peter said, “Explain the parable to us.” “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.’ “ (Matthew 15:10-20)
All that comes out of a child’s heart is love.
This brings me to the ‘ordained praise’ that I wanted to mention. My wife and I babysit for our baby grand-daughter, who is 2 years and 3 months old. It is a habit with her that, following her breakfast, she will toddle into my office and sit on my lap with her ‘security blanket’ and her head down on my chest and shoulder… this makes it difficult to get any work done, but it is an experience I would not trade for anything this world has to offer. I admit to an emotional response when our grand-daughter does this, and one day recently I was giving praise to God for her and for all the blessings that our family has, and I spoke the name of Jesus. My grand-daughter immediately said all the truth I ever need to hear:
“I Love Him!”
The clarity that children possess is stunning. A child knows what the truth is, and is not afraid to speak it. Would that all grown-ups, with their alleged ‘wisdom’, would do the same! No king, queen or prince, no philosopher, no teacher, no person of letters, no mystic, no scientist, no one no matter how learned and experienced, will ever speak an economy of words with such a singular impact.
This is the praise that God wants from His people… this is the pure, undiluted fidelity to God and to the One that He has sent that will please Him. What love could be more compelling and focused than that which springs forth from a soul convicted by the truth that is God the Father Almighty? Children understand truth innately, and they are the living proof that God designed His message to be easy to understand: no one will be able to stand before God on the Day of Judgment and say to Him that His message, His love, His forgiveness, His compassion, His mercy, His grace and His salvation for a lost humanity were somehow hidden.
Can I get a witness?