By Marcus Omdahl
New Beginnings Christian Church
Before we get to the Psalms of disorientation, I’d like to spend some time on Psalm 8. Psalm 8 is short, so I’d invite you to read it sometime this week. Though this Psalm is one of orientation, is does not necessary mean David is comfortable where he is. It might be better to say that David is in “awe” with where he is, where he’s “oriented”or where he’s “placed: in this world.
According to Psalm 8, David discerns his (and the rest of mankind’s) place by both looking up, and by looking down. When he looks up at the beautiful evening sky, he is in awe because he realizes how small he is. When he looks down, he is in awe because he realizes how big he is. He realizes that all of creation has been divinely delegated to his (and the rest of mankind’s) wise governance and care.
According to Psalm 8, we humans occupy a very interesting place in his world. It’s a place not on top…and not on the bottom…it’s somewhere in the middle (more on this later).
I recently looked at some pictures on National Geographic’s webpage. One picture in particular caught my eye. The title was “The Cosmic Forest”. It’s a picture taken at Cedar Breaks National Park in southern Utah at night. The background of the picture is of the milky way, with a grouping of 5,000 year old bristlecone pine trees in the foreground. The irony in the picture is that scientists estimate the light from the Milky Way stars (traveling at the speed of 186,000 miles pre second, I might add) may have been sent by these stars, for our viewing 5,000 years later just as these trees were sprouting. The only appropriate response is….awe.
That’s what David does…he looks up at the evening sky, and is in awe. In fact, Psalm 8 give’s David’s response when he’s under this massive divine canopy, “When I look at your heavens….what is man that you are mindful of him?” (v. 3, 4).
But David doesn’t just look up, he looks down as well. And when he does…again his response is the same. Awe. “You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings…crowned him with glory….given him dominion over the work of your hands….put all things under his feet” (v. 4-6 abbreviated).
When he looks down he sees that all that God has made has been graciously delegated to his, and our wise rule and governance. That Adam and Eve then, and You and I now, have been charged to wisely rule and care for not just “some things” but “all things” is awesome. Having all things put “under our feet” is far from being derogatory. It is a Hebrew idiom denoting our place of responsibility and authority to carry out God’s wise governance and gracious ruling of His world in His behalf.
Psalm 8 is a Psalm of orientation because it tells us our place. We are neither on top, nor on the bottom…we’re in the middle. One way to look at it, is that we occupy the most glorious middle management position in the world. It is glorious position because it’s a tense one…we are both incredibly small, and incredibly significant at the same time. In fact, the Bible asserts that though we are incredibly small, we are also the most signifiant thing God has made (Genesis 1&2).
My prayer for you is that you would continually believe this is the best place for you. You weren’t meant to be on top, or on the bottom. You were meant to be in the middle, as a small, but incredibly significant part of the world God has made.
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