Follow Along

Get new posts by email:

Sunday, August 30, 2020

"Majestic & Mindful" [Matt's Messages]

“Majestic and Mindful”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
August 30, 2020 :: Psalm 8:1-9

One of the things that I love about Psalm 8 is how it puts me in my place in all the right ways.

Psalm 8 is about God. It’s an amazing song about our amazing God.

It starts and ends with magnificent praise to God’ and the middle is full of worship, too.

And while King David is leading us in worshipful praise of our magnificent God, he is also, at the same time, masterfully putting us in our place in all the right ways.

I don’t know about you, but I often need to be to put in my place.

I need to be told where I belong, where I fit in the grand scheme of things. So that I don’t get to big for my britches. (Or too small for them either.)

Psalm 8, while praising God, puts us in our place in all the right ways.

Let me show you what I mean. 


Psalm 8, verse 1. “For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David. 

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.”

Here’s my place:

#1. LOOKING UP AT OUR LORD’S MAJESTY.

King David wrote this song “according to gittith.” We don’t know what that means. Maybe it’s a song for people from Gath or maybe a “gittith” is a musical instrument or musical style. We don’t know. But David wrote it and gave it to the director of music for the temple for God’s people to sing their hearts out.

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.”

You can just feel the praise pulsing through the psalm!

David is joyfully overwhelmed with the glory of God.

He names God here. He uses God’s covenant name: YHWH.

Whenever you see that capital L-O-R-D in your English Bible, the covenant name for God revealed most gloriously at the burning bush is standing behind it.

Yahweh

“O YHWH, our Lord,” our sovereign.

King David is singing about His Heavenly King and claiming Him as his.

You see that little word “our;” that’s a relationship word, isn’t it?

He isn’t just saying, “God you are majestic.”

He is saying, “Our God is majestic.”

The one we belong to. The one we are in relationship with.

"O Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

Do you feel it?

That word “majestic” means “awesome, magnificent, splendid, beautiful, grand, exalted.”

King David is enthralled by how dazzling, awe-inspiring, sensational, and glorious God is!

His name (His reputation, His glory, His name) is majestic, not just here but everywhere, “in all the earth.”

Wherever you go, God’s glory fills the earth.

And above! “You have set your glory above the heavens.”

All creation (in heaven and earth) is a testimony to the glory of God.

All things point to the majesty of the name of the LORD.

God is transcendent over all.

That puts us in our place, doesn’t it?

Looking up at the majesty of our God.

He is worthy of our worship.

That’s one reason why we need to set aside time every day and especially every week just to worship.

We come together whether at home or as a congregation to worship, to declare the majesty of the name of Yahweh.

His name deserves our praise. His name deserves our singing!

He is transcendent and glorious over all. Amen?

And then verse 2 is a real surprise to me.

It calls for praise, but the people praising are a surprise. Verse 2.

“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but I never see those kids coming in this psalm.

The Lord’s name is majestic over everything, and He has ordained praise from the lips of children and infants. 

From the smallest and weakest. 

I guess he’s putting us in our place. He doesn’t start with the great and the strong. He starts with the humble and weak. When the humble and the weak praise God, there is strength.

That word for “praise” there in verse 2 is literally, “strength.” Strength of praise is the general idea, I think.

And when the weakest lift up the name of the LORD, they shame the supposedly strong. They silence the foe and the avenger, the enemies of God.

Remember when Jesus quoted this verse? We saw it about a year ago in the Gospel of Matthew. On the Palm Sunday when Jesus came into town riding on a donkey, the little children praised Him. And it enraged the Pharisees, but Jesus said, in a mic-drop moment, “Haven’t you read Psalm 8? That’s what the little kids are supposed to do.”

God loves to humble the proud by using the praises of the humble.

Because He deserves it.

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

How are you doing at looking up at the majesty of our God?

Are you worshiping the Lord every day? Are you seeing how majestic He is in all of the earth? Not just on Sundays when we’re singing, but on Mondays when you’re slogging it out at work?

It helps to get out into creation.

A month ago, Heather and I were in Cook Forest, and we did a lot of sitting by the river and watching it go by. And we saw bald eagles and hawks in the sky and fish jumping and ducks and geese floating by.

And at night time, stars.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love to lay in the field up at Ridge Camp in Cook Forest and marvel at the Milky Way. So many stars.

I think that David probably wrote this song at nighttime reflecting on sleepless nights on guard duty as a shepherd on the hillside looking up at the night sky filled with stars and thinking, “My God made those.”

Which is very humbling, but also very exhilarating, isn’t it?

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

And then verse 3 is surprising, too. 

In fact, even David is surprised by it! Look at verse 3.

“When I consider your heavens [YOUR heavens], the work of your fingers [handiwork, like my wife’s knitting], the moon and the stars [it’s nighttime], which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

Do you see David’s question?

The Lord is not just majestic. He is mindful!

He is mindful of David and other human beings. That’s what “son of man” means here, it means humanity, humankind, probably represented by the first man, Adam.

When I look up at the Milky Way, I think, how is it that that majestic God would even have one thought about me? Little old me.

Do you feel the amazement? Do you get a sense of the wonder that David is singing about?

This song really puts us in our place.

It humbles us, but in a thrilling way.

And then it humbles us again by telling us that we are not just insignificant.

Yes, we are small, but we are not insignificant.

You would think that we are less than a speck.

When you think about God and Who God is in all of His majesty and splendor and beauty and glory and magnificence.

And then you think about who you are...

And then you think, God thinks about who I am?

I’m in God’s mind? God cares for me?

What dignity! What significance! What meaning that gives to our lives!

The world will not tell you this.

The world will either tell you that you are the greatest, you are a good, you deserve all of your wildest dreams to come true.

Or the world will tell you that you are worthless, a nothing, a meaningless speck, a cog in the machine, here today and gone tomorrow.

Neither are true, because of Who God is.

God is majestic over all creation, and God is mindful of His special creation, humankind.

And even more mindful, if you can say it that way, of His own children, those belong to Jesus Christ.

Remember when Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29-31).

This majestic God is mindful of you.

Do you need to hear that today?

God’s mind is on you.
He sees you.
He knows you.
He knows what’s on your mind.
He knows what’s on your plate.
He knows what’s coming this week.

And you matter to Him.

Not because you’re so grand. He’s so grand!

But because you’re His.

And because He made you to represent Him.

That’s where David goes next in verse 5. He goes back to the creation account in Genesis 1 and sings about that. Verse 5.

“You made him [Adam, the Son of Man] a little lower than the heavenly beings [or literally, “a little lower than God”] and crowned him with glory and honor.”

The majestic and mindful King of the World made us...little kings of the world.

Remember what God said in Genesis 1?

“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. [Rule.] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Image and rulership go hand in hand.

God made us to represent Him and rule the world as His image-bearers.
He put a crown on our heads!

How’s that for putting us in our place?

The shepherd boy who became a king knew that He was tiny and made out of dust and yet was also made to wear a crown and rule the world for God!

Did you know that you were made to wear a crown?

Verse 6.

“You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.”

We were made to rule all of that.

Just think about everything in those categories.

Here’s your place: Looking Up at Our Majestic God.

But also:

#2. LOOKING OVER THE REST OF CREATION.

As one of our God’s faithful representative rulers.

Humans were meant to be a kind of royalty.

If you’ve ever read the Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis was a master at creatively communicating that truth. King Peter, Queen Susan, King Edmund, and Queen Lucy learn of their royalty that comes as a gift of the Christ-mirroring Aslan and the Emperor Over the Sea.

And they learn to rule as representatives.

How are you doing at representing God in this world?
You may not rule over very much right now.

I have a little 5 acres and 3 vehicles and a little family that has gotten really big with kids that will soon all no longer be under my authority.

I don’t rule over very much.

But how am I doing at representing the God in whose image I am supposed to rule?

What do you rule over?

I was over this week to visit the Long family. Bill and Shasta and 10 Year Old Carter and Princess Jocelyn and the ever-grinning Chance. The first time I’ve seen them all in person since March! What a joy to be with them again!

10 Year Old Carter showed me his pet turtle Poseidon. He obviously takes good care of Poseidon.

I’m not exactly sure how you can tell, but I know he’s a happy turtle.

What do you rule over?

And how are you doing at representing God there?

Maybe in a workplace?
Maybe in a household?
Maybe in a community?

What’s your dominion?

We were made to look up to the majesty of God, and (amazingly) in the mindfulness of God, we are also made to look over the rest of creation and represent our Lord to it as responsible rulers.

And of course, as an entire race, we are not doing a very good job it.

The image of God has been defaced and marred and broken and cracked, and our rule over the world God made has been despotic and disappointing and disastrous.

That’s why we have wars and violence and rioting and racial injustice and even hurricanes and raging forest fires and raging pandemics.

Because as the human race we have dropped the ball.

Only one human has ever lived up to promise of Psalm 8.

And it sure wasn’t David.

He could see it, and he could sing it, but he couldn’t live out it the way it should be.

Do you know where this Psalm gets sung again in the New Testament?

It’s the book of Hebrews chapter 2. Listen to this:

“But there is a place where someone has testified: ‘What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.’ In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. [Things are not the way they are supposed to be.] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (6-9, NIV84).

Psalm 8 puts us in our place. Here’s our place:

#3. LOOKING FORWARD TO JESUS.

Looking forward to Jesus, because of His death and resurrection, putting everything back to the way it was always supposed to be.

“We see Jesus...now crowned with glory and honor.”

Fulfilling Psalm 8, being everything we were always supposed to be.

And one day making everything new.

Majestic, Mindful, Messiah.

No wonder, David returns in the last line to the first:

“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”


***

My favorite rendition of Psalm 8 set to music (I must have listened to this 125x preparing for this sermon) is by Poor Bishop Hooper:


0 comments: