Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2 ESV)
Jesus regularly confronted the Jewish religious leaders about their unreasonable expectations of God and their false worship of Him. It was the children shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9 ESV) who truly worshipped God, not the religious leaders with their legalistic, unscriptural traditions and unrighteous deeds.
When God created Adam and Eve in His image they were innocent and teachable. They were God’s authority over the world, given dominion. Their purpose was to learn about God by examining and learning about what God created. They were not created with a full understanding of God or their world, but had to grow and learn as they matured. They were childlike without being children.
Children exclaimed over Jesus as He entered Jerusalem and taught in the temple. These children recognized who Jesus was, something the religious leaders refused to do. For the religious leaders, the traditional decorum of the temple excluded children, the poor and sinful, the physically imperfect or handicapped and any who did not, could not or would not adhere to their legalistic worldview. The religious leaders were the politically correct police of the first century. They were tyrants and God’s enemy.
Who is the enemy? Who is the avenger? How do the words of a child or baby still both the enemy and the avenger?
In the first part of this verse (Psalm 8:2) the word foe is used. A foe is anyone who physically or vocally tries to bind up, or shut up, those toward whom they are actively hostile. Up to this verse, the Psalms are filled with descriptions of the wicked and sinful person. There is one spiritual being who is totally depraved. He is the Deceiver who tempted Eve and Adam in the garden. Many are taught and trained by the Deceiver to stand against God. “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2 ESV). Foe is another word for enemy, those who violently oppose God. Ultimately, God’s foes are silenced and stilled by His judgment.
Jesus, speaking through David, poetically foretells the speech of a child will silence the aggressive and antagonistic teachings of God’s foes. To still means to cause to cease to act, to put an end to or destroy, and to cause to rest. The allusion is that not just any child or a number of children will do this but a specific child. God has already told us who this child is. In response to the raging of the nations and the leaders of the world, God establishes His Son as King of kings. “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:7-9 ESV). The child that will silence the enemy and the avenger is, of course, His Son, Jesus.
Isaiah gives a divine prophecy about the child, Jesus, the Son of God, who will lead the kingdom of God.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV)
We know who this child is. He is Jesus, who was incarnated as a child, who grew into a man who welcomed children and confronted the religious leaders. Jesus, by His sacrifice, puts an end to the hostile war against God by His enemies.