Psalm 8 is known by most Christians. Maybe not by name, but for one verse, where David, in more modern language says. I can’t believe God Cares about me. Actually, about people in general. But since we tend to be more me-centric, I chose the word me.
Psalm 8 For the director of music. According to gittith.A psalm of David. Ps 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Ps 8:2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Ps 8:3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, Ps 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? Ps 8:5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. Ps 8:6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: Ps 8:7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, Ps 8:8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Ps 8:9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
But it’s more than that.
It’s about how to praise God. We’ll see why in a bit.
And that part about God caring?
It’s a theme throughout the Bible.
So while it may be amazing to David, since there was no New Testament back then. And since the Old Testament seems to be more about teaching people how to be civilized as opposed to what people had become.
Of course, it still feels like we need to learn how to be civilized. But we do at least have the New Testament, where it’s less about “don’t do this and don’t do that” to “do this”.
Both are loving. It’s not unlike parents, who must teach their children right from wrong, safe from dangerous, and other such things. The first things are to learn what not to do. What we should do comes as we get older and more mature.
Some background on Psalm 8
As usual, let’s get some background on this Psalm. This one quotes from one of my favorite Christian authors, C. S. Lewis.
C. S. Lewis called Psalm 8 a “short, exquisite lyric.” Derek Kidner, in his excellent two-volume study of the psalms, says, “This psalm is an unsurpassed example of what a hymn 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.” He adds rightly, “The range of thought takes us not only ‘above the heavens’ (1) and back to the beginning (3, 6–8) but, as the New Testament points out, on to the very end.” The psalm’s theme is the greatness of God and the place of man within God’s universe.
I call it “our God, our glory.” 1
Joy and awe. That’s what “fear of the Lord” is really about. It’s not actual fear. Yes, there is cause to fear God. But if we love Him, that fear of the Lord goes from being afraid to being in total awe of God.
Without getting into the details from The problem of “Fear of the Lord”, let’s just say one thing that indicates David’s awe of God is the verses we’re going to look at. The verses that inspired today’s title: I can’t believe God cares about me. That’s not fear. That’s awe.
I can’t believe God cares about me
Here are today’s focus verses.
Ps 8:3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
Ps 8:4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
See what I mean? Verse 8 goes back to creation, as C. S. Lewis pointed out.
And as usual, David has praise for God in the Psalm.
But the key for today is verse 4: Given the awe with which David views God, what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
I think the meaning here is fairly obvious. Not entirely though. Especially when it comes to the son of man.
What did David mean by son of man?
So let’s deal with son of man first.
You may remember, Jesus referred to Himself like that. Here’s an example.
The Cost of Following Jesus – Luke
9:57-60 pp — Mt 8:19-22
Lk 9:57 As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Lk 9:58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Lk 9:59 He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Lk 9:60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Lk 9:61 Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
Lk 9:62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
There it was in verse 58. Son of Man. In English, it’s capitalized in the NIV and other translations. Convenient for us. But not really something directly from the original Greek words. Rather, it’s from context and comparison to other times the term is used in the Bible. Why is that necessary, because the original words translate to offspring of man. That’s as opposed to using a name or word for God. To illustrate the point, below are some of the other times Son of Man is used.
Jesus Christ, Son of Man
Jesus Christ’s preferred title for himself. The term points to the humanity and servanthood of Christ, but also reflects Daniel’s vision of the son of man as a coming figure of judgment and authority.
Jesus Christ as the Son of Man in his human nature
OT use of “son of man” to mean “human being” Nu 23:19 See also Job 25:6; 35:8; Ps 8:4; 80:17; 144:3
Jesus Christ describes himself as Son of Man to stress his humanity Mt 8:20 pp Lk 9:58 See also Mt 11:19 pp Lk 7:34; Mt 16:13,15; Lk 6:22; Jn 9:35
Blasphemy against the Son of Man is forgivable Mt 12:32 See also Lk 12:10
Jesus Christ as the Son of Man in his prophetic ministry
The OT use of “son of man” as a title for Ezekiel Eze 2:1 2
People, in comparison with other creations of God
Now, we can look at the comparison between us, people, versus the moon and the stars. If anything, that comparison is incredibly understated compared to what we now know. Even images from the James Webb telescope are orders of magnitude more impressive than what we’ve previously seen from Hubble.
As we learn more and more about the universe, we just become, by comparison, smaller and smaller. And as we learn more about what it takes to sustain life on our little rock in that vast creation, the knowledge and the power required to create us, living beings, and to give us a soul, it’s more and more incredible all the time.
And yet, in all the vast creation, God cares about us. Truly amazing. And not something to be taken for granted. Or denied. And yet, too many of us do. David would be blown away if he was alive to see the things we do now.
How to praise God.
There will be plenty of other opportunities to show how the Psalms are like blueprints on how to pray, worship, and to praise God. But I do want to include just one thing on that.
The hymn has four obvious parts: celebration of the surpassing majesty of God (vv. 1–2); confession of the insignificance of man (vv. 3–4); astonishment at the significance of man (vv. 5–8); and a concluding refrain that repeats the psalm’s first lines (v. 9) 3
Conclusion – 2023.01.10 Psalms 008 – I can’t believe God cares about me
I feel like, if we pay any attention at all to the magnificent things in our world and in the universe around us, we have to think, I can’t believe God cares about me.
But too many of us don’t. Sometimes I feel like even too many Christians don’t realize just how awesome God is, or appreciate the fact that He does care for us. Tiny little creatures in His vast creation. And yet, He cares. How much does God care about us?
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
Image by charlotte_202003 from Pixabay
The post 2023.01.10 Psalms 008 – I can’t believe God cares about me appeared first on God versus religion.
This post first appeared on God Versus Religion, please read the originial post: here