Psalm 8: Small, but not insignificant

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.

Physically speaking, there is nothing above the heavens. The heavens are the limit. To say that God has set his glory above the heavens is the closest we can come to describing the transcendence of God’s majesty, and even then our best words fall short. God’s glory is a weight that needs to be both seen and felt.

It can be seen when we look at the heavens, the moon and the stars. The universe we live in is vast. At last count, our observable universe is a sphere with a radius of 46 billion light years. There are more than 100 billion observable galaxies, containing an estimated 3×1023 stars. When you consider that the size of our Sun, which is very much bigger than our planet, is lower than the average star size, that last number becomes pretty unimaginable. In short we were made to feel small, so that we might have an inkling of the weight of God’s majesty.

But it does not naturally follow that we are insignificant. This surprise is echoed by the Psalmist –  “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (v.4)” Though we are small in comparison to the majesty of the universe, and the greater majesty of the Creator of the universe,  our Creator is mindful of us. He is not merely mindful in the way we would be mindful of unnecessarily offending a stranger with our actions, but he is mindful of us as a father is mindful of the well-being of his children. It is a strange wonder that man enjoys a privileged position in God’s universe. We are “crowned with glory and honour (v.5)” and “given dominion over the works of his hands (v.6)”.

This was God’s design for man from the beginning. Yet the first Adam failed to live up to his privilege and calling. He rebelled against God, rejecting the glory that was his to have, and lost all claims to the mindfulness of God. All of us are descended from him and so we have all similarly fallen short of God’s glory. But God’s designs are not thwarted. From the midst of sin and failure, greater glory and greater good would emerge. Jesus Christ came as the second Adam to do what the first Adam could not, namely live up to the privilege and calling of man to give glory to God. Not only that, his death would also bring many sons to glory. By virtue of his God-glorifying life and death, Jesus alone deserves the crown of glory and honour (Heb 2: 9-10).

But don’t miss the good news. The death of Jesus was designed to bring many sons to glory. We have all fallen short of God’s glory, and only deserve his wrath. Yet in love, he has made a way for glory to be restored to us. The way is Jesus, and he has promised us the gift of himself and all the blessings he has secured for us if we would gladly receive him. If you’re skeptical about the deal here, here’s another thought for you to ponder. Our trust in people rises and fall with the moral quality of their character. Now is there any one whose character is more trustworthy than Jesus?

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