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Significant By Design - Psalm 8:1-9

Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:10
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Psalm 8:1-9 Significant by Design 20190630 Gloriously, even our insignificance is made significant through faith in Christ! Introduc:on A man named Paul Miller, tells a story in one of his books about a day in his life that I believe captures the essence of the quesIon presented at the center of Psalm 8. The quesIon is what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him? It is a quesIon concerning significance; and this man Paul, a man who has been involved in ministry endeavors his whole life is by no means exempt from struggling with significance. In order to make ends meet, like many of us in this area who find one job isn’t always enough, he runs a part Ime business during the tax season preparing tax returns to generate some extra income for his family. Thinking he was doing something good one morning many years ago he noIced the hard drive was nearly full on the computer he was using so he decided to back up the files and archive what wasn’t needed. Well in doing so he crashed the computer! And on the computer was? You guessed it, the tax preparaIon program that he used with his clients. This sent him into a frenzy of acIvity, finding out when his first appointment was for the day - 1130, calling help desks, working through troubleshooIng guides, all to sIll come up short. As many of us have experienced in Imes like this the clock doesn’t slow down and when 1130 came - his client arrived: computer – sIll not ready. He told his recepIonist to tell her he was running late. He slunk out the door past the woman who was waiIng for him not making any eye contact with her. He rushed to his house to retrieve the program disk and then rushed back to the office walked past the woman again who he couldn’t help but noIce seemed peaceful and content while he was absolutely franIc but aYempIng to keep his cool. He labored over the install and troubleshooIng unIl finally at 3pm he was able to call the woman back to go over her return. She entered and went through the tax review without any complaint on her lips or upset expression on her face. Paul was so morIfied that he had wasted this woman’s Ime as he did that, he offered to take her home since she had ridden the bus to get to his office that morning and would now have to catch a bus to get back home. She accepted the ride and along the way he just couldn’t contain himself and blurted out to the woman, “Does Jesus make a difference in your life?” He was depressed and frustrated and was hoping she might be able to minister to him in some way. She looked at him and said, “Jesus is everything to me, I talk to him all the Ime.” She was fully aware that her significance was grounded in her rela2onship with Christ. Paul just couldn’t believe the contrast in the way he had gone through that day and the way the woman had. He had allowed cynicism to take over his life which was keeping him from the kind of refreshing relaIonship with God that this woman demonstrated. You see his significance was all wrapped up in what he could do and not in what God had done for him. Do any of you idenIfy with the way Paul was feeling that day? You are not alone. Whether you are a believer in Christ or you are not a believer this struggle for significance is dealt with by all of us. Even though we can be told that God has made us, he has made men and women, boys and girls, to be the crowning jewel upon his crea2on we oAen think that this is not true, that it cannot be true, that we are in fact insignificant – that we are nothing! In our passage today the Psalmist deals with man’s quesIon of significance in what I would consider a most God honoring and God glorifying way. The Psalm is perfectly exquisite. The epitome of what a hymn should be. On this side of the resurrecIon of Jesus it is clear that what David penned, rightly idenIfies the source of man’s significance while at the same Ime idenIfying the felt tension of insignificance. What I see as the precious gem in the text is that: Gloriously, even our insignificance is made significant through faith in Christ. 1.God Rules for He is Worthy (vv1-4) If we desire to understand our own significance then this is where we start that discovery process by first carefully observing God, and how His Rule is Worthy as is His very nature - Worthy. Which means we are to Praise God for He is Worthy. a.Praise God for He is Worthy (vv1-3) David starts the Psalm by boldly praising God. i.v1 “O LORD, our Lord, how majes2c is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” 1.The Hebrew words Yahweh and Adonai are translated into the English with LORD [all caps] and Lord. The One True and Mighty God is our Lord, he is over us and his name is majesIc over all the earth! a.Our Praise of God begins by acknowledging Him, by acknowledging His Lordship, and by acknowledging His majesIc name. To oeen we begin our search for significance by looking elsewhere – But David rightly begins developing his search for significance by focusing upon God. 2.The concept of glory being set above the heavens. God’s majesty, his beauty, his glory has been set above the heavens. This gives us perspecIve on the magnitude of God. We think of the heavens as massive and expansive and yet the glory of God is above the heavens, God is worthy to be praised! Transi:on: Even the youngest among us understand this. The Psalmist says, i.v2 “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to s2ll the enemy and the avenger.” 1.We love our liYle children and the nursing babies, we know that to be true here in the body of Pillar Bible Fellowship, but it goes beyond this doesn’t it. The kids this week at VBS were learning about an orphanage in Guatemala where children, even new born babies, are lovingly cared for by followers of Christ. Those pictures and video clips caused our hearts to yearn for those children because we saw they were made in the image of God. 2.Jesus demonstrated Ime and again his love for children and he quoted this porIon of Psalm 8 when the chief priests and scribes were indignant with him in the temple. They were indignant because upon his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, prior to his mock trial - the people were crying out, “Hosanna in the Highest! Hosanna to the Son of David!” And this adoraIon of Jesus conInued MaYhew records even aeer Jesus cleansed the temple of the money-changers and those who sold pigeons. He remained in the temple healing people in need and the children were enthusiasIcally carrying on with the praise – “Hosanna to the Son of David!” The chief priests and scribes couldn’t believe he was lejng the children say such things about him, and Jesus responded with this very verse (MaY 21:9-16). Which had to only further infuriate those opposed to him all the more, because not only was he saying the praise of him was right, equaIng himself with God, but that they were the enemies! They who thought of themselves as religious zealots were being called enemies and foes! a.As we grow in our understanding of God’s word passages like this help us understand more fully the provocaIve claims of Christ. Over and over again he claimed to be God incarnate. This is one more instance of that! I urge you to look for these links between prophesy proclaimed and prophesy fulfilled. Do this as you spend Ime in God’s word and I know the result will be a furthering of His praise for He is Worthy. ii.v3 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,” 1.CreaIon itself is a tesImony of God’s majesty. Think of the various works of God’s as portrayed in the heavens, works you observed this past month or even this past week. Thunderstorms, Sunrises, Sunsets, Rainbows. 2.This whole passage has been a meditaIon of mine the past several weeks, and this verse in parIcular reminds me of the pre-dawn sky that I was observing earlier this month which showcased Mt. Hood majesIcally glowing in the moonlight. Maybe some of you saw it too? A beauIful full moon was basically resIng upon it. But then the human perspecIve piece must also be recognized. StarIng with liYle me being able to observe the grandeur of the mountain, but then realizing the vast size of the earth’s moon which appears small, but we know is really extremely large. AddiIonally, another part of the perspecIve was a bright planet or star which was just sijng between the moon and the mountain. Who knows how far away it is and how much larger it is than the moon or the mountain or me? You take in such a scene and then it hits you – God made it all with the power of his word! Suddenly when all these thoughts rush over you – you just start praising God for he is worthy! Transi:on: Now, God clearly rules because he is the majesIc creator. He is worthy to be praised but we are sIll lee with how to answer the quesIon of our significance in God’s creaIon. The way we answer this quesIon determines whether you go through life like Paul Miller in his cynicism and depression or like the woman he had in his office that day, full of peace because of her faith in Christ. a.Take Pride In Yourself to Your Shame (v4) First, we need to look at the quesIon raised in verse 4 from a prideful perspecIve, one we might take if we fail to do the preliminary work of verses 1-3. So, what does this verse say in this light? i.v4 “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” 1.I’m not suggesIng this is the voice in which the author of Psalms wrote this verse but rather this is the ajtude we oeen approach this quesIon with. 2.Pridefully we say to our self, If I can think and do all that I can and know so much – then what is man that God is mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him. This is the way of Nebuchadnezzar and Herod. a.To understand our posiIon in God’s creaIon in this way ulImately brings shame upon us and does not bring God praise. 3.You might say, I would never act like that. But so oeen we do in that we don’t give God the praise that is due to him for the good things in our lives. Maybe you have earned enough money to buy something nice and it gets noIced – instead of praising God for the job that allowed you to have some money, in the first place, you engage in a prideful exchange of words of why the item you purchased is so good or why even another brand is so inferior. This happens oeen in our day to day living where we accept praise without redirecIng to God or we even solicit praise. This prideful view of self only brings shame upon us, it is an empty and unfulfilling way of life. Transi:on: What then is the alternaIve way of looking at this quesIon? a.Humble Yourself for He is Worthy (v4) i.v4 “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” 1.This voice fits with where David has been going with the Psalm. A voice of humility that in the middle of all God’s majesty and glory, in the midst of his creaIon he set man apart in a special way. 2.This Ies into our understanding of creaIon just as it would have for the Hebrew worshippers of God when God said “Let us make man in our image, aAer our likeness” (Gen 1:26a). It is only when we humble ourselves in light of God’s supreme worthiness that the shie which occurs in this Psalm, right here in the middle, over to the responsibility of man in light of his posiIon before God can make any sense. We can begin to understand our significance comes from God. 3.That is why it is right and good for tears to well up at the birth of a child, or why it is right and good to fall down in the worship of God when we witness his splendor on display in the heavens. We are humbled at Imes such as these that God would conInue to allow us one more breath in his creaIon to even take up space in his kingdom! Transi:on: It is only from our humble acceptance of God’s created order that we can rightly carry out our rule and dominion over other created beings and the environments in which they live. 1.Man Rules for he has been made for this (vv5-9) David takes his quesIon of significance from v4 in light of everything ascribed to God in vv1-3 and then applies truth from Scripture as to where we fit in the midst of all other created beings. It is densely packaged and theologically rich poetry, each verse is worth much meditaIon and consideraIon as to how we are to live as the significant image bearers God has made us to be. a.Humbly Accept Your Posi:on for He is Worthy (v5) i.v5 “Yet you have made him a liKle lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” 1.This is amazing! God is amazing - and yet - here in his word it says he has crowned man with glory and honor. Look back up at verse 1. “O LORD, our Lord, how majes2c is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” 2.Both verses, v1 and v5, resonate with the creaIon story itself and we must turn back to Genesis 1 for a minute to see again what God’s word says about the creaIon of man. Gen 1:26-31 3.Here in v5, in talking about the created image bearer of God is this connecIon with glory. We are to bring God glory and somehow God has allowed man to be crowned with glory and honor? I don’t get this! But I must humbly accept it. I want you to see that it is stated right here in the text and humbly accept it too. Transi:on: Because only by accepIng your special place in God’s creaIon will you be able to carry out your duty. a.Humbly Carry Out Your Duty for He is Worthy (vv6-8) i.vv6-8 “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.” 1.Do you noIce the order of God’s plan? He is over all, his name is majesIc, his glory is above the heavens. He has created man to share in his glory to be a liYle lower than the heavenly beings and to use his posiIon to rule over all things! 2.Is this how you go about your day as a steward of God’s creaIon? Maybe you don’t have sheep and oxen but what about their modern-day equivalents? What were sheep and oxen to the ancient Hebrew? They were their source of power and commerce. Such as electricity is today and everything that is connected from its generaIon to its consumpIon. Or the vehicles we use to get to and from our places of employment or to the store to purchase food for our families. Those might be a good places to start for some of us. Our job, whether it is income producing or not and our consumpIon of resources, how are we stewarding those? 3.For some here you have a more direct Ie to domesIc livestock, wild beasts of the field, and fish - along with their paths to the seas. Are we stewarding these animals and their environments in God honoring ways? What has gone into our understanding of how this is done? The way our parents taught us? That might very well be correct but more importantly have you allowed the Bible to inform your understanding of stewardship, even of all the things I’ve just menIoned? 4.Who does v6 say these things belong to? They were created by the hand of God, and ulImately belong to him. He has placed mankind over these things as image bearers, as stewards. 5.Here in the church body it is common for one family or one person to have an item that another member would greatly benefit from. You name the resource and it has probably been shared: horse to house, fridge to frying pan, truck to trailer. With all these items being shared if the item is not purely a consumable how does it get returned when it is no longer needed? It gets returned clean and oeen repaired if repairs were required. Why? Because we appreciate the opportunity that has been given to us to use it and we show that appreciaIon by saying thanks and by taking great care of the item – we are stewards. 6.Is this the same way we take care of all the things God has entrusted to us? CreaIon belongs to him and yet he has placed us over his creaIon as stewards. 7.Now, thinking of our community we would all acknowledge that when it comes to stewarding the environment that different approaches are taken. So how do we relate to someone who might be going about stewardship in a way that differs drasIcally from our own? a.I think of the water here in the valley. Some think all the water should flow free and natural from the top of Mt. Hood to the mouth of the Columbia with nothing to hinder it. b.Others think the water needs to flow but it also needs to be used as a resource to culIvate the valley for producing crops and feed to sustain human flourishing. c.How do individuals with these different views interact? First, if you are using a Biblical worldview to formulate your posiIon aYempt to see where the other person might be working towards a similar goal – even if they are coming at it from a different worldview and use that as a point of commonality. They can now be viewed as more of an ally than an enemy, at least at that one point of commonality. You now also have a posiIon from which you can be evangelical. Now how does this help you be more evangelical? It comes back to the perspecIve you have on significance and focus. d.As one commentator menIoned, as a believer in God’s word you look at Psalm 8 and you see we are to be oriented towards heaven. Our looking, our gaze, is to be upward towards the heavenly beings that we have been made a liYle lower than. This upward orientaIon gives us a more proper understanding concerning our significance. e.But oeen Imes those who do not trust God’s word are resigned to look beneath them, if you will, at the created beasts and the environment we live in to aYempt to make sense of who they are. This orientaIon inevitably leads to confusion about their significance and about their relaIonship to God and others. f.Consider this next Ime you are building up all your defenses when preparing for a discussion with someone who holds an opposing view. Pray for them, look for an intersecIon of commonality concerning aspects of stewardship – something you can agree on and then explain why you hold the posiIon you do from a Biblical perspecIve and see where their posiIon comes from. Maybe it will provide an opportunity to share the gospel? Transi:on: We could probably discuss nuances of our dominion mandate all day, even the rest of the week and I would encourage the discussion and for the quesIon to keep coming back to how did the Bible help you in developing that posiIon. But moving on to our last verse in the Psalm will help us Humbly Praise God. a.Humbly Praise God for He is Worthy (v9) i.v9 “O LORD, our Lord, how majesIc is your name in all the earth!” 1.We have come back to where we began. It is right to do so as the center of this Psalm was the main thrust of the passage. Where we have contemplated the important quesIon of significance that haunts us all. Who is man that God is mindful of him? 2.God is mighty and powerful, He is creator of all things, and his name is majesIc in all the earth. 3.These 9 verses are absolutely exquisite, Derek Kidner writes, “This psalm is an unsurpassed example of what a hymn should be, celebraIng as it does the glory and grace of God, rehearsing who he is and what he has done, and relaIng 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 in the roles he has assigned to the strong and the weak (2), the spectacular and the obscure (3–5), the mulItudinous and the few (6–8); but it begins and ends with God himself, and its overriding theme is ‘How excellent is thy name!’” Conclusion Now at the end of our course through this magnificent Psalm you may be thinking, “Of course the ideal looks good but is sure doesn’t match up with reality.” So, you ask, “What am I supposed to do when I am struggling for significance tomorrow?” I readily admit, you are right, we are suffering under the ramificaIons of Genesis 3 where the Bible describes in detail what we oeen call the fall. It was at the fall that the good and right order God set was badly shaken, sin entered in and disturbed this ideal picture. But our significance can be solidified and it can be done so in the person of Jesus Christ. If Psalm 8 was read with only our human effort in mind we would be going crazy, like Paul Miller trying to get his computer fixed for the faithful woman who sat in his waiIng area. The author of Hebrews helps us understand Psalm 8 in light of the person of Christ. Hebrews 2:5-11 “For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come,…” The sufficiency of God’s Word brings about wonderful clarity on the passage we have been looking at and reveals a fuller picture of Christ. His suffering death was his source of honor and glory. By his tasIng of death for the sins we have commiYed, the death we deserved, he became the founder of our salvaIon. Friends, this is why as we read what Christ has done and then we read Psalm 8 in light of what he has done we proclaim: Gloriously, even our insignificance is made significant through faith in Christ! Prayer y l i m Fa 23-25 Table Talk June 30, 2019 GOD’S TRUTH Gloriously, even our insignificance is made significant through faith in Christ! Family Discussion 1. Have you ever stood on a street and looked up towards the top of a really tall building? How big did you feel looking up, up, and up? What about looking up into the night sky and seeing thousands of stars, they look so tiny, do you get a sense of being really big or really small when you take in the night sky? 2. Pondering large and expansive portions of creation inevitably makes you ponder how you fit into everything. The way you understand your role in God’s creation has a tremendous impact on how you relate to Him, to other people, and to the rest of creation. What or who has been influential in helping you to develop this understanding? 3. Do you see how having a high view of God helps develop a proper view of your place in his creation? It is God who has given your life significance and he has proved it by giving up his Son, Jesus, for you. Praise God for who you are in Him! Key Verse “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:4 ESV TABLE READING Lead your kids into God’s Word... 1. Genesis 1:14-19, Genesis 15:5-6, Psalm 8:4 2. Psalm 8:1-5, Genesis 1:26-31, Daniel 4:28-37 3. Psalm 8:1-9, Hebrews 2:5-11 Scripture Memory: Psalm 1:5-6 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” - Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (ESV)
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