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What does creation teach us about humankind (Psalm 8)? June 28, 2009

Posted by roberttalley in Creation, Hebrews, Jesus, Messiah, Psalms, Religion, Sermons.
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Lessons From Creation: What Is Man?
(Psalm 8)

THEME: Humankind is the Key Created Element in the Eternal Majesty of God

Introduction: This is a psalm of praise. When someone approaches royalty, they might say, “His Excellency” or “Your Majesty.” This is exactly what this psalm does. David prays to God but He does not say, “My Father” but rather in total submission to God bows before God and worships “His Excellency”, “His Majesty”, “the LORD his Lord.”

I. In his praise of the majestic Lord God, David beautifully points out that the key created element of God’s eternal glory is humankind. This psalm asks and answers the question, “How is it majestic Lord, that you are glorified in the weakness of humankind (verses 1-8)?”
A. You are already universally glorious (verse 1).
1. You, that is, your name, is excellent, is majestic in all the world around us (verse 1a). When God separated the waters on the earth from the sky with a word and gathered the waters into oceans so that dry land would appear, He showed His lordship over the earth. When with a word He caused grass and trees, savannahs and rain forests, gardens and prairies, with that one word He showed His excellency in all the earth. When with a word He put fish in the oceans and birds in the trees and animals on the land, God displayed His majesty and glory.
2. Lord, not only are you majestic in all the world around us but you are glorified in the created universe (verse 1b). Your glory, your majesty, your authority, your beauty is above and beyond the heavens. This universe of ours is beyond measuring, beyond comprehension but God is greater than this universe. It is His created domain to rule and to reign over.
B. God created mankind to create greater glory for Himself. This psalm asks the question, “God, do you need humankind to create greater glory for yourself (verses 2-8)?” Let’s think about this. If God had stopped with the creation of land animals on the sixth day of creation, would this universe be glorious? Absolutely! Would He still reign over His domain? Of course, but God’s creation went beyond creative power and glory but rather centered around humankind. Humankind is the focal point of God’s creation.
For example, when God created the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day of creation, for what purpose were they created? To give light to the earth. This is God’s perspective of the universe. It was all created for this seemingly small and insignificant ball of land and water.
For two hundred years, we have been taught differently. We have been taught that our sun is an insignificant star (“rather ordinary” according to Gary Edward Schnittjer in “The Torah Story”) “located in a remote area of the rather unexceptional Milky Way galaxy, which is one of billions of such galaxies.”# Schnittjer quotes one of the lead characters of the 1997 movie to illustrate this point, “If human beings are the only life in the vast universe, then it sure is a waste of space.” This psalm says just the opposite. It is the existence of human beings that give purpose to this universe in that they enhance the glory of God.
1. Silencing God’s enemies enhances His glory. (verse 2).
a. Strength out of weakness silences His enemies (verse 2a). Jesus quotes this verse on the first Palm Sunday when the learned religious rulers of His day wanted the “Hosannah’s” of the children silenced. In the context, David is speaking of humankind in general and the nation of Israel in particular. God has enemies and His enemies are powerful. Satan controls the rulers of this earth. He is called in Ephesians the prince of the power of the air. He is a mighty force. Now God could easily defeat Him with one word but He chooses instead the words of the weak. That is why Satan hates humankind and desires to deceive humankind, because He understands that God will defeat Him through the praise of our lips.
b. The illustration of ordaining strength from babies (verse 2b). When God cursed Eve for her part in their disobedience, He promised her that through her seed, that is, through a man, that Satan would be defeated. How was Satan’s mouth stopped in the book of Job? Through the integrity of one man. How were the Philistines brought to their knees? Through a young boy with a sling whose strength was not his own but the LORD’s. How were the God-hating Pharaohs and the Nebuchadnezzars of this world shown the glory of God? Through weak men made strong by the everlasting arm of God.
2. This is why God gives priority to humankind over the heavenly bodies (verses 3-8). God enemies are defeated through humankinds weakness. An observer would say that we are insignificant in comparison to the universe. It appears obvious yet God gives priority to us over the sun, moon, and stars. He gives us a glory that is above all creation.
a. Humankind’s earthly glory is the result of God’s care for us (verses 4-8). God does not pay attention to the heavenly bodies nor does He concern Himself with the animals and plants except as they relate to humankind. God could have saved the dinosaurs from extinction but He did not. He could have through His power saved hundreds of species of plants and animals from extinction but has not. Why? Because they are not the focus of His plans. Humankind is the focal point of God’s creation which is why we find Him caring so diligently for humankind and specifically for His people.
i. Is humankind worth remembering (verse 4a)?
ii. Is humankind worth tending to (verse 4b)?
iii. The assumed answer is “No”. “What is man that you remember him?” Mark Twain spoke for the modern man when he answered this question by saying that we are robots who simply go through life doing what we must do because we are in some way programmed to do that thing. Some, like the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and New Age adherents try to give us significance by proclaiming us to be gods or godlike in some way. The answer of David is this. When I look at God’s handiwork in the sky, there seems to be no significance in man to justify God’s dealings with him.
b. Humankind’s earthly glory comes from God’s gift to humankind of dominion over creation (verses 5-8).
i. You have made him a little lower than the angels (verse 5a). The angels are higher than us in rank. They are greater than us in power but only we have been given dominion over the earth.
ii. You have crowned him with glory and honor (verse 5b). I suppose it is not bad to be an angel. God created the angels for a great and glorious purpose but without the existence of man, one has to ask one’s self if the angels serve a significant purpose without man. Angels can sin but they will never be forgiven. Angels can do great things but they are never indwelt by the Spirit of God. I think it is likely that even the creation of the angels was directly connected with God’s plans for humankind. They are simply powerful and exalted tools, created as part of God’s redemptive purpose for humankind.
iii. You have given him dominion over your creation (verse 6a). When God created the heavens and the earth, He did not turn it over to an angel or a group of angels but rather to Adam and Eve. Physically and spiritually limited, God gave to them the dominion over the earth and the care of the garden of Eden. An angel was sent to block entrance to the garden and the tree of life to the very people who had been responsible for its welfare. What a glorious privilege they were given.
iv. You have put all animals under his feet (verses 6b-8). God could have named the animals but He gave that job to Adam. God could have tamed the animals but He left that for Adam and his descendants to do. “Under his feet”, however, goes much further than naming and taming animals. First, animals are just one example from creation of those things being subject to man. Secondly, this is the phrase used when one has defeated his enemies and they are submissive to him. Paul quotes this verse in 1 Corinthians 15, speaking of Christ’s victory over death. In the same way that death is submissive to Christ, creation is submissive to mankind.
v. We have not done very well with our responsibility. From Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden to the submission of the heathen to creation; from the unwise uses of our earth to the wicked uses with which man uses creation; in all of these things, we have shown that our sinful nature prevents us from ruling over the earth in wisdom.
II. God’s name is glorified through humankind in the person of Christ (verse 9). One man – Jesus Christ fulfills the expectation of God’s gifts (Hebrews 2:7).
A. His name is glorified despite humankind’s unworthiness. We have proven unworthy but God is worthy. Revelation 5:8-13 describes how the Lamb of God, the seed promised to Eve, the one made a little lower than the angels, when He had by Himself purged us from our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Father, so that all things would be under His feet (See Hebrews 1 and 2 also).
B. His name is glorified despite humankind’s abuse of His gifts. When Jesus was born of a virgin, He became one of those babes and sucklings referred to in verse 2. The world could not realize that the baby born in Bethlehem would be able to fulfill the expectations of God for the human race. Through Him God’s enemies are put to silence. Satan and His demons, death, sin, and hell are all defeated through Jesus Christ. Romans 5 shows us that Jesus Christ is the superior man, much more superior to Adam who gave us death through sin. Jesus, however, gave us righteousness through death, His death.

God created you for His greater glory. Every man, woman, boy, and girl sitting here today was the focal point of God’s creation. He has given us dominion over the earth. We, however, have failed and continue to fail and will continue to fail. There is a man though who descended from heaven to be born of a virgin, to live as a man, to die as a man, to bodily rise from the dead as a man, to ascend into heaven as a man, the Son of Man, the Son of God, God Himself. God’s glory is enhanced through Christ’s redemption of sinful man. He will save you when you put your faith in Him. Do it today!

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Comments»

1. John H. - June 28, 2009

Seriously. You’re an idiot.

roberttalley - July 5, 2009

Well, that may or may not be true but I would like to hear your arguments against the centrality of man in God’s created universe. Thanks for reading…


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