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Psalm 8

Psalm 8 - The Wonder ofGod’s Concern for Us. 

 

Eugene Peterson reading

 

Introduction: I’vegot to be honest with you.  Ihaven’t always liked the Psalms. In fact just in the last few years I found myself saying to my wife, “Idon’t really like the Psalms.”  Itseemed so whiny in places, you know, like a one large emo song and I justdidn’t have the tolerance for it. It was this guy complaining about his circumstances which many timesinvolved foes and enemies chasing him and I can’t really relate to that, I’mnot really amassing a lot of foes these days.  And I think part of the reason that I’ve never been veryengaged by the Psalms is because I’ve never been a very expressive person andalso I didn’t have a very good understanding of the Psalms.  But in the last year I find myself moreand more attracted to the Psalms and connecting with them more.  It’s not because I’ve started tocollect more enemies, but it is because Psalms like the one we’re going to readtogether today.  This Psalm standsout from the rest.  In fact it wasthe first praise hymn written in the Psalms and the ONLY one that is directlyaddressing God all the way through. 

 
Read Psalm 8 Together
 
I.  Psalm 8:1-2: God’s Majesty in Creation

Vs. 1-2 - “O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than theheavens. You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength,silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.”

 

The setting behind the writing of this Psalm is that Davidis having an awe-filled observation into the night sky, possibly in thewilderness, a place that is nice and dark and looking at the thousands andthousands of stars that are in the sky. This is an opportunity David must have enjoyed on many occasions as ayoung shepherd.  

Maybe you’ve been in a place like this.  I grew up in a small farming community in the middle ofIllinois where you could drive out in the country away from the lights and see thesky crammed full of stars perfectly clear!  Have you had those experiences where you were in pitchdarkness and the night sky blew your mind?  How did it make you feel? 

SHOW PICTURES OF SMALL EARTH (5 of them). 

How does that make you feel?  Small,right?  Insignificant might be abetter word.  Compared to thisincredible universe, we’re not very big are we?  David is experiencing this same awareness.  And He is praising God as the mastercraftsman, the great artist who dreamed up a world so great that it is hard toeven comprehend it. 

Have you ever seen something so incredible in nature thatyou could not even describe it with words?  Or something so breathtaking that you wanted to telleveryone you know about it?  I sawone of those things that just blew my mind on Planet Earth this past year and Ijust can’t help but show it to you. 

 

 

SHOW BIRDS OF PARADISE CLIP

Isn’t that mind-blowing?  Why inthe world did God create those? They’re like little cartoon birds! What a fascinating reminder of God’s creativity and greatness!  If you haven’t seen Planet Earth on theDiscovery Channel I highly recommend it. If you totally want to be in awe of our Creator, do yourself a favor andwatch this.   

Majesty isn’t a word we use often anymore but it is a wordthat means power, authority, dignity, greatness, splendor, royalty.  The power and greatness of God’s name,Yahweh fills the earth.  David saysthat he sees God’s greatness everywhere he looks. 

 

-Let me ask you, “Where do you see God’s greatness, his majesty, his power on the earth?” 

 

Notice however that David is not praising the earth asmajestic, he’s not worshipping the creation, he’s worshipping the God whosefingerprints all over what you and I see. This is easy to mix up when we see beauty in nature!  But David says, “How majestic is yourname in all the Earth.”  God is like an artist leaving hissignature on his painting.  God’ssignature is all over our world.  Thename of God which God revealed to the Israelites in the wilderness is anextension of God himself.  WhereGod chooses to place his name in the land, in the temple in the Old Testament,on his people, there God is also. 

 

This Psalm would be pretty awesome if it ended there withpraising God’s power and majesty that we are able to see everyday in creation. Butthen David expresses his feeling of insignificance: 

 
II. Psalm 8:3-4: Man’s Insignificance in Contrast
Vs. 3-4 – “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
      the moon and the stars you set in place—
   what are mere mortals
that you should think about them,
      human beings
that you should care for them?”

 

Can you think of a larger contrast than this?   With all of creation at Hisfingertips, why is God so concerned with us???  It doesn’t make any sense.  One author said “Surely, I reasoned, a God who built auniverse of more than ten-billion-trillion stars would not concern Himself withevents on an insignificant speck of dust we call earth.” 

What makes us so special?  Whatis it that gives humans their value? 

In fact God’s care and concern for us is so great Job perceived it as beingoppressive and quoted this Psalm in his tirade. 

 

 

 16 I hate my life and don’t want to go onliving.
      Oh, leave me alone for my few remainingdays.

 17 “What are people, that you should make somuch of us,
      that you should think of us so often?
 18 For you examine us every morning
      and test us every moment.
 19 Why won’t you leave me alone,
      at least long enough for me toswallow!  (Job 7:16-19)

God’s care for humanity is too much for Job! 

 

Are you ever humbled by the fact that God cares aboutyou?  That in light of this hugeuniverse with billions of creature that God has chosen to be intimatelyconcerned with the details of our lives? That God takes the time to hear our prayers, to comfort us in difficulttimes, to challenge us, to confront us, to care for us?  Do you ever just stop and contemplatethat?  Are you awed by it?  I can’t imagine not be!  Some of us need to be humbled in thatway.  Some of us feel as if Godowes us, or that God is obligated to us in some way.  It’s God’s job to care for me.  If that is how you think or feel right now, you need to getaway, you need to climb the highest peak you can find, you need to look atGod’s creation and remember the greatness of God, the power that God displaysin His creation, and how in light of how great God is, He still takes the timeto even give us a thought!  Andwhen you do that, then you will understand like David does here, what it reallymeans to praise God.   

 

So why in the world, out of all of creation do humans possesssuch value to God?

 

Humans havevalue, not because the earth is the center of the universe; not because ourplanet predominates space as we have seen; but simply because the Creator caresfor us.  The Creator cares for usnot because of anything special we have to offer, not because He needs us, butsimply because He has chosen to care about us.  That is unearned favor; that is grace.  It is completely out of God’s gracethat we have value to Him and that gives us value in all of creation.  With that I want to take a break andpraise God for his power, his majesty, his greatness, that in all the world hehas chosen to love and concern himself with us. 

 
Point out STATION!!!!
 
SONG BREAK
 
III. Psalm 8:5-8: Man’s Special Role
So we were talking about the contrast between the power we see of God and God’s decision to give us unearned favor and intimately concern Himself with us.  
 
God doesn’t just show concern for us however, but David reflects on our honored status as rulers over creation in the next few verses.  
 
Vs. 5-8 “Yet you made them (humans) only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.”

Now David turns back to Genesis. Do you remember the responsibility God gave us as human beings?  Read Genesis 1:26-28. 

Then God said, “Let us make human beings inour image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birdsin the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the smallanimals that scurry along the ground.”

So God created human beings in his own image.
      In the image of God
he created them;
      male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill theearth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, andall the animals that scurry along the ground.”

What does it mean to be made in the Image of God?  Godsays, “to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds inthe sky, etc.  To be made in theImage of God is to be given authority to rule and govern the createdworld.  We are the ambassadors andgovernors to the rest of creation. That is at least part of it. 

David says in this way He has crowned us with glory and honor by giving usthe authority that God himself has! 

What does this creation mandate mean for us today?

Do you think we’ve done a good job with this? 

---I will admit that I am not doing a good job.  Last week I was throwing a football around and I saw asquirrel in a tree from about 15 feet away and thought, “I wonder if I couldknock him out of the tree.”  I threwthe football and somehow managed to hit the squirrel which caused him to gohelicoptering out of the tree and onto the ground.  I think he’s going to be fine but we had to fly in thesetiny little instruments.  Anyway,that is NOT a responsible use of our governing authority. 

---Another great recent example of a corruption of the Image of God is what MichaelVick, the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons is being charged with.  Which is???  Dogfighting.  Hetrained dogs to fight and kill each other and if they didn’t perform he and hiscrew would hang them, or electrocute them, or beat them to death.  That is a corruption of the authorityGod has granted us. 

If our creation mandate is not focused on the praise and glory of God,eventually it will become corrupt. 

One author wrote about this, “Praise of God without humanauthority is abdication and “leaving it all to God”.  But to use human power without the context of praise of Godis to profane human regency over creation and so usurp more than has beengranted.” 

Unfortunately it is easy for us and our rule to becomeman-centered over God’s centered and our dominion becomes domination, our rulebecomes our own ruin.  What thisPsalm is leading to is Jesus.  Infact the New Testament writers interpreted this Psalm looking back from thecross as Jesus being the only one who really fulfilled this! 

 

The writer of Hebrews quotes this Psalm and says this:

 

6 For in one place theScriptures say,

   “What are mere mortals that you should think aboutthem,
      or a son of man that you should care forhim?
 7 Yet you made them only a little lower than theangels
      and crowned them with glory and honor.
 8 You gave them authority over all things.”

Now when it says “all things,” it means nothing is left out. But wehave not yet seen all things put under their authority.  9 What we do see is Jesus, who was given aposition “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death forus, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, choseto bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should makeJesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring theminto their salvation.  Heb. 2:6-10

It is Jesus alonewho is able to bring man to the place of honor and glory that God intended forhim (Heb. 2:9-10). 

Paul says in Eph. 1 that Jesus has fulfilled what we couldnot and is the head over all things:

“Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader oranything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has putall things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all thingsfor the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is made full andcomplete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.  Eph. 1:21-23

Paul once again in I Cor.15:27 interpreted this Psalm to bespeaking about Jesus, For the Scriptures say, “God has putall things under his authority.”

You see, this Psalm is not about us.  But it shows us our need forJesus.  Because of the sin andcorruption that we see all around us we are not able to fulfill our creationmandate to rule and govern creation. But Jesus is the one who rules over all and he is able to redeem ourimage to that planned at creation. That we may truly live in the Image of God. 

 

But at the same time, our leader Jesus has put together thisgroup, His body at this time so that by following his lead we may represent Godon this earth. 

 

What implications do you think this has for us church? 

 
IV. Psalm 8:9: Man’s Response  

This Psalm, although I have heard it preached this way really isn’t aboutus!  It’s about the wonder of God’smajestic power, it’s about God’s decision to crown us with the honor that comeswith our responsibility over that creation, and ultimately it’s about Godsending his son Jesus to fulfill the role that we could never live up toperfectly so that we may indeed be crowned with glory and honor. 

This Psalm ends the same way it begins.  After David contemplates God’s power and majesty increation, His intimate concern with humans, the special place that God hasgiven humans in his redemptive story, he ends with praise. 

Vs. 9 “O Lord, our Lord, yourmajestic name fills the earth!”

Prayer. 

 

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