God and Man
Jerry A. Collins
What we have in this Psalm is a demonstration of the name of God whose glory is reflected by the heavens, is also glorious on earth. A Psalm of David from his experience as a shepherd under the starlit heavens at night alone with his sheep on the hillsides of Judea. There he had ample opportunity to observe the glories of God in nature. This Psalm displays a magnificent impression with the being of God. Here we will discover what David has discovered about God that awes and inspires him to express in these words how majestic is your name in all the earth! He begins with who God is before he asks who man is.
WHO IS GOD? 1-3
One can imagine with time on his hands out there in the fields overwhelmed with all the majestic display of nature around him that he asks what is man? vs 8 in light of all of this. But his question came after he had been considering who God was. He did not begin with the popular mistake of starting with man in his effort to understand man and his place. He began with God and could then see man in his correct perspective. So beginning with God we can see how all things, including man, fit into the divine pattern. What is it about God that is so impressive?
(1) Godís Self-Existence 1 The first Lord is the name of God and the second Lord is his title and both are majestic. The name Lord means self-existent one. This very name gives us the clue to the meaning of humanity. Man is not self-sufficient. He is not the final authority. The Lord alone is impressive and without equal. This makes that name majestic first, in all the earth meaning that God has dominion over his creation and second above the heavens meaning that his glory fills the heavens. There are absolutely no rivals to God! Whether in creation or in the heavens we see and cannot see Godís majesty, glory, dominion, magnificence and splendor is unequaled! In light of this reality, how puny mankind looks. His philosophies. His resources.
(2) Godís Simplicity 2 Even though Godís majesty extends to all of the universe, it still shows up here on earth as it is grasped and expressed by a child. God, thru the mouth of babes is letting us know that things are basically simple and should be dealt with accordingly. Here is a God who can reveal himself in such marvelous ways that children, babes, infants even can grasp what he means. If only man would stop getting so smart, so sophisticated, so enthralled with his own undeniable abilities he could still hear the truth of God in simple terms instead of the spin of so much lies and deception. To sophisticated men God speaks establishing strength thru the mouths of babes against His enemies. The idea is that when God speaks thru children, those too who are childlike persons, he often baffles the rational, the intelligent. He uses the foolish things to confound the wise (1 Cor 1:27). So God uses the obscure, the insignificant, the feeble to rout those opposed to Him and his glory. Jesus said except you become as little children you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven MT 18:3. You find your way there by the humility of a child. That same childlike humility is the same way you grow up spiritually.
(3) Godís Wisdom 3 This is not a casual glance at the heavenly expanse. As often as he gazes, and we can assume it has been numerous, He is convinced this all bears the markings of God with the lights, the boundless spaces and extending beyond the reach of mortal eye, the moon, and beyond this the innumerable stars which are lost in infinite space. God has formed all of this with all the skill of His creative wisdom. Even though we have traveled to the moon which David could only see, the knowledge we have gained about the universe in which we live only serves to deepen our impression of the tremendous wisdom and power of God. It is sustained and kept operating harmoniously. While contemplating Gods greatness he asks, what is man, in the sight of God who could make a universe like this? Where did he come from? What is his purpose here? Why does he exist on this planet?
WHO IS MAN? 4-8
We are told that Gods greatness is revealed by what he intends to do with man. He does not leave him to himself but enters into personal relationship with him as a special object of Gods favor and love in at least two ways.
(1) Man has a unique relationship to God 4-5. The rhetorical question of verse 4 emphasizes that man is an insignificant creature in the universe. Yet God cares for him immensely. It amazed David that the Lord of the universe even thinks about man. Our unique relationship to God was to be made a little less than God or a little lower than God. So man was created as Gods own representative on earth, over the creation, but lower than God. A little lower than God is a whole lot better than slightly higher than the apes. That is Satans lie. Lets get the order straight. God, spirit beings, man, then animals. Angels did not evolve from God and man did not evolve from animals. Man is the creature nearest to God and as such God himself was to live in man. Man has a special place in the heart of God as the crowning achievement of His creation. So it is possible for us to have a kind of fellowship with God that he has with nothing and no one else. We are equipped for divine fellowship with a mind to grasp God, a heart to respond to what is grasped, and a will to act on what is grasped. David was amazed that God should exalt finite man to such a place of honor.
(2) Man is designed to be in dominion over all things 6-8 After God created Adam and Eve He commanded them to have dominion over all the earth (Gen 1:28). All living creatures were to be under them. Man is a king and a king with territory, the earth. That dominion is limited to different classes of animals in the regions of that territory, of land, air and water. It begins with domestic animals and passes on from these to the wild beasts. From land animals, to birds of the sir, to fiches of the sea. It is all-encompassing. But because of sin that dominion has never been fully realized (Hebrews 2:8). Man is both the golden boy and black sheep of our world since the fall. But we see Jesus (Heb 2:9) the beginning of a new humanity God is building who will restore this dominion (water to wine, stilling wind and wave, loaves and fishes) as perfect man ruling over creation fulfilling Gods intention for us. God is not defeated by our foolishness but creating new creation in Christ.