Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Glory of God

This post is a response to a challenge that I helped to initiate as I shared with my bible study friend Todd. As we were starting to understand the true meaning of Psalm 8, we stopped several times and asked what does that word or phrase really mean. We got through a couple of the verses during our study and began to scratch the surface. Today, I admitted I looked at a 3 minute video on Utube yet Todd so far had 8 pages of notes. So here is my attempt to dig under the surface of Psalm 8 and uncover the richness of its meaning.

When I survey the glory of God, one of my favorite Psalms comes to mind. It is Psalm 8 and it reads like a poem that is suspended from above. It is one of majesty. I am reminded of our executive Pastor's sermon in which he states that Glory is like a bride coming down the aisle to meet her groom who is waiting for her. To take the illustration of the wedding further, it involves getting to know each other, to understand how this new couple will fit into their families well and how values and talents will be nurtured and understood.

In the same way, God from the beginning of time has laid out for Himself the earth as a place for which His redemptive history is going to take place. Through the interactions of storms and trials, God is molding for Himself a people that He will gather together in the most permanent place of heaven that He is going to create for those who love Him.

Now for a more verse for verse analysis of this terrific Psalm 8.
In verse one, David the Psalmist writes "O Lord, Our Lord," This signifies David's acknowlegement of God as being his personal God and also as a God for the communities of people who are gathered under His name. His name carries with it His identity. God has been called in the scriptures-God the Provider, God the comforter, The Alpha and the Omega. Each of these could carry with it a signifcant commentary.

David continues in stating in the rest of verse 1, "How Majestic is your name in all the earth." When one looks at the earth, it can appear as a ball when looking at it from the distance from space. When one zooms in on it, one can see the complexities of the earth in a way that can not be measured when looking at the depths of the ocean.

David further states in v. 1, "You have set your glory above the heavens." The heavens are not only the stars and planets live, but it is where black holes exist. Thus, there is no way to measure them exactly. Even if they could be measured, it still inspires within me a sense of awe. I will never be able to reach a planet or star and touch it. Yet God has touched them and made them special.

In verse no. 2, David uses the illustration of children to communicate more clearly how God deals with mankind. In Matthew 11;25 Jesus praises His father for hiding eternal truths within children and not communicating them with the learned and the wise. When one looks at the original nativity story, God appeared through His angels to the shepherds and the magi who traveled a long distance. King David who was writing this psalm worked as a shepherd and understood implications of how messy and dirty being a sheepherder can be. Sheep can wander off and get lost. It also illustrates the character of David in that he was determined in keeping his sheep in order no matter how difficult it became. God is the same way with me in that He does not want me to get off track so He will convict me of my sin as well.
But what is great about this Psalm is how God is able to use the ordinary experiences of an ordinary boy before He became King and before he wrote the Psalms. It was these experiences that molded and made King David understand God somewhat better.

God could trust children to understand His precepts since they don't have preconceived notions that adults often have. They do not have agendas to address. They have a simple child-like trust.
Paul used a similar idea in 1cor 1:17 where he states that Christ did not send him to preach words with human wisdom since the cross would be empty of its power. Thus when I look at children, I see how they look up to the adults who love them and have a strong sense of hope for the future. They see Jesus as a source of their strength and many studies have shown that the key time to reach people for Christ is when they are children.
In 1cor 1:27, God chose foolish and the weak to shame the wise and the strong. This is in stark contrast to what one would consider how one would gain influence. Yet through this very truth, it is how I have experienced God's working power.

FOR I have never had prominent offices where I have led people. It has been within a realm of being a servant that I have led others and influenced them. It is from my being faithful to these experiences that I have been able to allow people to reflect over many decades since they first met me as a handicapped teenager. And it is gratifying to hear how the way I have handled my life since has given them hope and admiration. This correlates well to the end of verse no 2 which states that God has silenced the foe and the avenger because of your enemies.

Many theologians and even Jesus himself declares that God is sovereign. He has control over the universe. David had the opportunity when he herded his sheep to look up at the night sky and see how God placed the stars and planets and the moon into place. He realized that it was through the works of His fingers and also from Genesis where God spoke the world into existence. When I look at how the planets are lined up in an exact orbit where we are neither too cold or too hot. In a way where we are able to maintain our existence on the earth.

Then in verse 4, David reflects back to when he was a shepherd boy and sees how God is mindful of man. God took the time and care to create mankind and valued him.

GOD's crowning of Mankind.

In verse 5, King David states declares that humans are lower than heavenly beings of angels yet humans have been crowned with glory and honor. When I reflect on honor, I recall how King David was looking for the remnants of Saul's household and how he could respect them. He discovered Mephoboseth and invited him into his household into a place of honor to spend the rest of his days. Even though David had to flee from Saul many times upon threats of his life. He decided to honor Saul and not harm his reputation by extending a forgiving arm to Miffy who had nowhere to go. And to provide for his future.
God did the same thing when Jesus arrived as a child. He offered to the world a chance to live life and be surrounding by constant love and to be invited to the banquet table at the end of ones life at the wedding feast of the lamb.

GOD ARRIVED AS A CHIld through verse 4 in that Christ became a human baby with whom men can identify. God cares deeply for both mankind and Jesus. He brought Jesus to the world to bring mankind back to Him. I recall how Abraham argued in Genesis to save Sodom from its sin and kept arguing with God to give them another chance. Yet, the ultimate chance for man is Jesus; yet, many have rejected Him over the years. But by the faithfulness of the apostles Jesus has brought many people to God even today through the disciples since Jesus ascended into heaven.
When the apostles went out, the Jews rejected the Gospel so it was then given to Paul to bring it to the Gentiles. This shows how much God cares for man and is mindful of Him. God always had the history of humans in His mind when He made His plan. He knew men would fail; yet, it deeply grieved God when He sent Jesus to the cross for the redemption of mankind. This truly shows how much He cared and the grief expressed by the son of man, Jesus, as He cried out to God, Why God have you foresaken me shows again how much Jesus cared as well

Verse 5.

Verse 6 emphasizes the notion of stewardship. God entrusts men and women to serve Him and take care of what He has made, He trusts them. In my life, it was the same way. When I became a teenager, mom and dad would leave me home alone for several hours as they went to a movie and ate out at an area restaurant. They trusted me with their possessions and their house and checked in several times to make sure all was going along fine. In the beginning God created the world and then created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and gave them a responsibility of naming all the animals and plants. He asked them to be responsible and careful with what God has created for them. The world created by God was meant for them to enjoy and also to reflect who God is by the way they treated the world.
As I reflect on how some people have mistreated the earth, it must grieve God with all the ills of pollution and global warming that is going on.
├ůs God was commenting throughout His creation of the natural world in Genesis, He kept commenting on how it was good and when he came to mankind, He stated that it was VERY GOOD.

1 comment:

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Scott, as an analytic approach to Psalm 8, this is very impressive. You have made so many good connections. I especially liked the reminders of David as shepherd and of Jesus as baby.

I have some other thoughts that I'm going to email you.