# 65 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Twelve: Psalm 8 “He cares for you”

The Bible is full of questions, and this one by David is not the least of them. Listen:

When I consider your heavens,     the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars,     which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them,     that you care for them?

One doesn’t have to think too deeply or study too seriously the ‘heavens’ to realize just how tiny we are as compared to the vastness of the cosmos. On the earth I, as an individual human being, am already so very small and seemingly insignificant as compared to the whole planet. But then when we think about the size and position of the earth itself in the whole scheme of the cosmos, we are but the minutest speck of dust, lost in the endless universe of other planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies and whatever else there is out there.

And David only had a small glimpse of the cosmos as compared to all we know today. Let me remind you of a quote in my post on this psalm in May 2015. I wrote:

“It is approximately 3000 years since David wrote this psalm and we now know a lot more about those ‘heavens…the moon and the stars’ than David could have ever imagined. Through the use of powerful telescopes astronomers have discovered that the stars we can see by the naked eye are only the beginning of what seems to be an endless universe of galaxies beyond our imagination. The following is from a book written by a Christian astronomer.

“Astronomer’s now have plumbed the universe’s theoretically observable limits. Within those limits they see about two hundred billion medium sized and larger galaxies. These bodies and the dwarf galaxies that accompany them contain a total of about 50 to 60 billion trillion stars…All this stuff, however, constitutes only about 1 percent of the universe’s mass. The actual universe…must be significantly larger than the universe seen through our telescopes. The universe’s geometry tells us the universe…must be more than a hundred times more extensive than the universe we can observe. Thus, the actual universe must be at least a million times more massive than 50 billion trillion stars.” (Hugh Ross, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job Baker, 2011)

It certainly is a bit difficult to get one’s head around such numbers, but the point being that the question David asked seems to be even more relevant than ever before.

It could be paraphrased:

When I consider your heavens, containing maybe more than two hundred billion medium sized and larger galaxies,     the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which total maybe more than 50 to 60 billion trillion,     which you have set in place, what is mankind, so small, so temporary, so vulnerable, that you are mindful of them,     that you care for them?

Now, it is one thing to suggest that mankind somehow has some small place in God’s scheme of things, but the psalmist informs us that there is even more to it than this. In fact, something much bigger and very personal. He says we are constantly on God’s mind, on his heart, and he actually takes the time and effort to care for us. Such grace! Such love! Now that is worth reflecting upon and giving thanks for!

Broyles says, “This psalm expands our perspective to the heavens to see that God has other alternatives for his attention and delight, namely the vast and well-ordered heavens…And yet it is humankind that that he is mindful of, and cares for. In the midst of innumerable possibilities – as many as the stars of the heavens – God’s interest in us remains undistracted.” (see reference # 4)

And then Kidner adds, “Mindful has a compassionately purposeful ring, since God’s remembering always implies His movement toward the object of His memory; and care…similarly implies His action as well as His concern…” (see references # 29)

No wonder Peter confidently promised, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)

Father, what an amazing creation you have made. The more we discover, the more we are awed by you handiwork. And to think that in the midst of all this beauty, which reveals your incredible beauty, you love us and consider us beautiful as well. Amen.

# 64 A journey through the Psalms. Truths to help us to “…live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received.” (Ephesians 4:1). # Eleven: Psalm 8 Pure worship

Brother Lawrence once said, “We should devote ourselves to becoming in this life the most perfect worshippers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.”

And if this our desire then Psalm 8 will help us in this endeavour as David begins and ends his poem with words of praise:

Lord, our Lord,     how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Lord, our Lord,     how majestic is your name in all the earth!

This psalm is pure praise, without any requests or complaints. Quite a change from the previous psalms!

So, I wonder, what was the catalyst for David’s adoration and words of praise and worship to his Lord? We don’t really know, but possibly as a young man he was looking up at the sky on a quiet, clear night out in the fields while minding his sheep, and as he does he speaks to God and says,

“You have set your glory in the heavens.

And later expresses his appreciation for

… your heavens,  the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place…”

Recently my wife and I were privileged to be driving and camping along the isolated areas near the coast of southern Australia near the Great Australian Bight. Due to the lack of any other lights around us to hinder the view, at night the sky was filled with an almost overwhelming number of stars. It is times like these, as we consider the cosmos, that our hearts are filled with wonder and praise for our great and powerful and majestic Creator God. And such was David’s experience as expressed in this psalm.

But, as David’s introductory words suggest, our God is not only the Lord of “the heavens” but of “all the earth” as well. In fact he mentions other aspects of God’s creation as a cause for our adoration and worship. He speaks of,

“…human beings… all flocks and herds,  and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky,     and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”

Kidner suggests that this psalm “is an unsurpassed example of what a hymn [of praise] should be, celebrating as it does the glory and grace of God, rehearsing who He is and what He has done, and relating us and our world to Him; all with a masterly economy of words and in a spirit of mingled joy and awe. It brings to light the unexpectedness of God’s ways [which we will consider next time]…but it begins and ends with God Himself, and its overriding theme is ‘How excellent is your name!’” (see references # 29)

And as Francis Chan says:

“This is why we are called to worship Him. His art, His handiwork, and His creation all echo the truth that He is glorious.” (Quoted from Crazy Love in The Heavens Proclaim His Glory – see references # 35)

Glorious Father, indeed, how excellent, how majestic, how great and powerful is your name in the heavens and in the earth. Help us to pause more often in life and reflect on this truth and worship you as we consider the wonder of your creation all around us. Help us to desire to be the most perfect worshippers of You we can possibly be. “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth” Amen.