Psalms Through The Summer #2: The Seeking Man
Key Verse: What is man that thou art mindful of him? Ps 8:4
A Farmer and his neighbor watching his hogs run from one end of a pasture to another. "What's wrong with your hogs, Henry?" Well, you remember about a month ago when I broke my leg and couldn't get around? I would come out here with a stick and bang on a fence post and then feed those hogs when they came." "Well, you ain't banging on not post now, why them hogs running everywhere?" "Since I got well them woodpeckers are about run them pigs to death."
Those hogs are like some people I know, mixed up and confused because they don't know who they are, they can’t answer the question, What is Man? And the consequences of not knowing who you are and why you are here is much more dangerous than just running back and forth all day long looking for something that isn’t there.
We as a society, have lost ourselves. We don’t know who we are or why we are here or what we are supposed to do while we are here. We have teachers, groomers, child predators telling our children that they can be any gender they want, boys can be girls, girls can be boy or if you don’t like those human genders then you can a furry and be a unicorn, a dog, a cat or I don’t know a great blue whale, they’re mammals right? Because we have a generation that doesn’t know who they are they also don’t know who they are supposed to marry. They don’t know how they are supposed to live or even if they are supposed to live. Their schools teach them that they are just the random chance of evolution and no better than a bug on a sidewalk, so when things go wrong why not just squash the bug? Whether that bug is you or a classroom full of kids who made fun of you or a church full of people of a different color. It doesn't matter they are not unique or wonderfully made so destroy them.
We have social influencers on apps like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and worst of all TikTok, pretending to have it all together by living the most immoral, materalistic and meaningless lives until one day they aren’t there anymore and we discover they have taken their own life because life didn’t have any value. This is in our families, our churches, and our public schools are reeling drunk with it.
But God’s Word has the answer to What Is Man, Who am I and why am I here. I want you to look at Psalms 8, Here is one of the central truths of human existence and it begins just as man began with God, his creator.
God's Glory - Psalms 8:1-2
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
First, Know God As God
He begins his praise by saying, LORD our Lord
First LORD is Jehovah/ Yahweh, the "I am "of the burning bush. The personal name of God. So revered by the people who transcribed the Old Testament that they did not dare to write it out fully or even to spoke it out loud. In order to write it here in scripture, they took the consonants from Jehovah, the true name of God and the vowels from the word Lord and made a new word that showed the name of God but dared not spell it out.
The second Lord in this verse is the word Adonai, it means controller, master "one who occupies the position of a master over a slave.
Then David moves from the address of his Lord God to His praise for his Lord God. He says, How excellent is thy name in all the earth! God is lauded as sovereign in power and majesty. David imagines God in all His might and splendor.
From David's perspective and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he looks up into the heavens and his mind is filled with the wonder of his God.
He says that God's glory is set high above the heavens. Higher than can be fully seen, imagined or comprehend. God is higher than what David sees in that night sky, more majestic than what he can write down in a psalms and higher than his imagination can transport him.
David then moves his psalms in a great sweep from the glories of heaven to the lips of a baby or a toddler. He says that even in the most elemental sounds of the human voice, even in the first steps of a human life, there is praise, strength, glory for their Creator, because God has ordained it.
First Step In The Quest
If we are to make sense of life, if we are to understand who and why we are here. If we are to overcome bad luck, bad circumstance, bad parents or bad choices, then we must see and understand God as David did.
We must see Him as Jehovah, God Almighty, God of Creation, God of Power and yet God who transcends the universe and can be known by me personally. I must see Him as the creator of all, Sustainer of all, all powerful, all knowing, and in all places and all times, but I must also see him as friend, companion, guide and protector.
Perhaps even more important to knowing that Jehovah, Yahweh is God, I must also know him Him as Adonai, Lord of my life. My master, that I have fully given myself to serve. If my life is going to make sense, if it is going to be a good life, if my time on this earth is going to be worth something, then Jehovah God must be Lord God to me.
Remember the story of Thomas after the resurrection. John 20:26-29 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
The Lord and God that Thomas knew and saw in the resurrected Jesus must be the God we see and know if we are to answer the question, What is Man?
No King but Jesus
There is a famous saying attributed to John Adams just before the Revolutionary War. I’ve always liked it and I’m going to share it with you to finish this point. When a British Major ordered several of the founding fathers to disperse, he added the command “in the name of George the Sovereign King of England.” John Adams who had a great way of turning a phrase spoke up and said, “We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” -John Adams. (pretty good isn’t it.)
John Adams along with the other founders of our nation, changed the world and went from outlaws to heroes and much of what they did was because they believed in a God who held the universe in His hand and that they had placed themselves in those very same hands.
The first step in knowing “What is Man?” begins with knowing God and without that knowledge you will never know yourself, your purpose or your potential in this life. From God Himself, David now turns to God’s handiwork, His creation
God's Handiwork Psalms 8:3
Second, Know God As Creator
David looks up into the night sky and he is astounded by the stars that he could see. At that time the visible eye could only see about 3000 stars and the “river of the sky”, the Milky Way Galaxy running through them all. Isn’t it ironic, that we know more about the universe than David but we are no longer impressed by it. Perhaps that is one of the things that has blinded us to our God, we think we can see further but we are actually seeing much less. We see so much less because we no longer see they One who put the stars there or places us in the middle of that river of the night sky.
The Bible tells us in Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
Job 22:12 Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
So let’s consider God's Universe, let view His Glory written in the heavens.
The universe is so vast that no scale model is possible.
If we tried to make a scale model that contained an earth only one inch in diameter, the nearest star at the same scale would be over 51,000 mile away.
If in our scale model we reduced the distance from the earth to the Sun, 93 million miles, to only the thickness of the page of my Bible, the distance to the nearest star (4 1/2 light years) would be a stack of paper 71 feet high.
Our Galaxy then, which is 100,000 light years across, would be a stack of paper 310 miles high.The known edge of the universe would be a stack of paper 1/3 of the way to the sun or 30 million miles.
The universe is so immense that no one can count all the stars that fill it.
They say there are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
Then there are over 100 million galaxies in the known universe.
To count to 100 billion, just the stars in our universe, you would have to count to 250 every minute for 1000 years.
In David's time they had numbered the 3000 stars they could see and they were in awe of the creation of God. How much more should we be in awe when we consider the One who holds this vast universe in the palm of His hand?
Seeing The One Behind Creation
What do you see when you behold the night sky? And please do yourself a favor and every once in a while get out of town, go camping get yourself a blanket or if you old like my a good reclining lawn chair and look up into the real night sky. The same one David looked up and saw the handwork of God. What do you see? Do you just see stars, planets and darkness or do you see God who hung those stars in the fabric of space, like so many diamonds on a vast sheet of black velvet?
Do you see nothing, or do you see the glory, power and majesty of the God of creation? And then in the midst of that miracle of creation do you see yourself?
Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
God is talking to you through those passages. Don’t you understand what a difference that makes? What such a reality, such a truth does for us and to us who understand ourselves within God’s creation.
Illustration: The story of Galileo’s model of the solar system and his atheist friend.
After consider God’s handiwork, David then looks at man in vs. 4 and asks the question that is the theme of our message and the central truth each of us must know if life is going to make sense. David asks “What is man?”
God's Greatest Creation - Psalms 8:4-8
Finally, See God As Savior
David sees himself in the light of God’s creation. After considering the vastness of the heavens, the glory of God, he then asks God, "Why do you even bother with man? Why do you care about me? What is insignificant man when compared to God and all His creation?
H not only asks what is mankind in all the vastness of creation, but also, who am I, a son of man in all the vastness of mankind?
He asks, “God why would you visit me?” The idea is God, why do you reveal yourself to us?
This is a natural consequence of David seeing himself in proportion to all of God’s creation. What is man? Why do you care enough to reach down to him?
And David’s answer is the most amazing thing in all of Psalms 8.
David says you have made man a little lower than the angels. The Hebrew word here is Elohim, the word for those who dwell in heaven, both angels and God. David is saying that in the order of ranking, in all of God’s creation, man is second only to God himself. We have been made the highest creation in all of creation.
He says, We have been crowned with honor and glory.
We have been made in the image of God. He breathed into us the breath of Life. He made us like Himself, a free will agent, a being of intellect and eternity through that same image. That likeness has been marred by sin, but praise God, it can be restored through the gift of God in His Son Jesus Christ.
David goes on and says, All things have been placed under man's control. Thou made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands, you has put all things under his feet, under his authority.
And this is the answer to David’s question, What is man? He is God’s highest creation, made in God’s image, to rule in God creation. But this reality, can only be fully understood by David or by us when we see ourselves in the light of God’s creation and in the relationship of God as my Lord and Savior.
Finishing The Quest
Who do you see yourself as? Are you only an insignificant bit of nothingness in a vast universe? Are you only random chance or an accident of evolution?
Many hopeless people spend their life seeking as Socrates said, To "Know Thyself." But many, when they find themselves they don't like what they find. So, they attempt by any means to forget or change who they are. They use drugs, suicide, violence, rage, operations on their body or they simply stop caring about anyone or anything anymore especially themselves.
And yet, the question has been answered. Man with God understands who he is. He understands his purpose, his power and his prospect of eternity. Yes, man without God is hopeless, helpless and homeless for eternity. But when I realize who God is, when I realize who I am in light of God’s Word, when I see myself as loved enough by God to send Jesus as my Redeemer and save my life, then my life, my existence, my being has purpose. I know who I am, through God and His love for me. I am not an insignificant speck in the fabric of time and space. I am a child of God.
Now my life makes sense; I am someone in this universe, because God has revealed Himself to me through Jesus Christ His Son. I mean enough to the Creator that He would not give up on me and sent His own Son to redeem me and restore me to my proper place as his highest creation. This is what Psalms 8 says, we are God's greatest creation, second only to the Trinity. All of God’s creation has been given to our care, but this can only be true in a right understanding of God and a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
The final fulfillment of God’s design for man - Matthew 25:21 Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
That is what we were created for. That is our purpose!
John Newton's life.
John Newton was an absolute lowlife; He was the captain of a slave ship that traded in human beings like so much livestock. He was even terrible at this low profession since he was also a drunkard that hated his men and was hated by them. Once he was so drunk that he fell overboard in a storm. His men took a harpoon and tossed it at him as he struggled in the water. The harpoon struck in the leg and they used the attached rope to pull him back on-board. Ultimately, he lost his job as on a slave ship due to his drinking and wasted life and was sold as a slave to the very people he used to transport as slaves out of Africa.
You might look at John Newton and think that is a worthless waste, an nasty speck of a person not fit to be called human at all and you would be right. But this worthless piece of scum in the vast sea of the universe was touched by God, he became a pastor after many rejections and a famous writer of hymns. His most famous is of course is Amazing Grace.
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
If John Newton could rise from the empty, worthless, waste of his life by coming to a knowledge of and a relationship with God then you know you and I can.
Conclusion: The highest praise - Psalms 8:9
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
David finishes the Psalm as he began it, with the majesty of God. Now, he has found his place in God's universe, because God has found him. Now his own circle of creation is complete. He knows what mankind is. Mankind is God's greatest creation. And he knows who he is, just a man but one that has been remade, redeemed, and reclaimed by God. God who has chosen David and us to have a purpose, to serve Him and to be with Him for all eternity.
Have you found your place in God's universe? Has God found His place in your universe, your life?