It must have been a beautiful evening when David, the author of this psalm, wrote these words. When God created man in his image, He gave him a prestigious place in the creation. Creation has three levels. The first level was God, the Creator, then the angels, and then the human beings created just below the angels. And although mankind was given charge over the universe, he fell far short.
In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that after God created everything, he named the head of his creation man and woman. They were created in God’s image, which means they have a mind with which they can think, a will with which they can make decisions, and they are immortal. God did not create man to be a puppet, but with the ability to go contrary to His will. And that is what happened. Satan came into the garden and asked, “Did God really say, ÔYou must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Eve said, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ÔYou must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”
“You will not surely die,” said Satan. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
The Bible says that Eve ate of it, and it was good. Then she gave some to Adam and he ate it. Sin had now entered the world and Adam and Eve were no longer innocent, but fallen. Everything they did from then on was a result of their fallen nature. They had turned themselves into little gods. God gave them a tremendous responsibility to rule the world, but they couldn’t do it because they had lost the power.
Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain became angry with Abel and killed him. Adam and Eve were helpless against sin even in their own family.
God created us to have dominion over the works of God’s hands, and he does not take it away after the fall. Man still has the ability to turn away from God, because God created him in His own image, which includes the will.
Adam’s problem is also our problem. We like to make ourselves little gods thinking we can rule ourselves. However, Psalm 8 tells us that we are not God. We are part of the third level Ð under the angels Ð trying our best to run this world, but without the power to do it. We rule our lives without consulting God, and we make decisions that will affect many lives.
How often do we ask what God’s will is for our nation? Just imagine the Congress of the United States or the legislature of your state meeting a few minutes early each day to implore the Lord of the heavens as they rule in their great places of this country. Think of them bowing their heads and asking Almighty God to lead them in the decisions of the day. Dream with me about what would happen if God’s intentional will for this particular group of people had been carried out, and they were ruling the nation according to the power he has given to the authorities.
What about the home? Many parents, sinful though they are, live under the grace of God and try their hardest to be good parents. They bring their baby to the baptismal font, but do not stop there. As they hear the pastor’s admonition, they take the child home and introduce him to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word is read. Prayers are made. They are brought church, Sunday school, to catechetical instructions, and the youth events. Many of these children grow up to be great men and women of God themselves and raise their own children the same way.
So here you have two, three, or four generations of people who realize their role in raising their children is under the guidance and help of Almighty God.
But then, as can sometimes happen, the relationship between parents and children breaks, and parents wonder where they went wrong. To those in that situation, I would say to them, take heart my brothers and sisters in Christ. We raise our children as sinful people. However, if we have brought them to the means of grace, then we have to leave the rest to God. For you have been a good example according the Psalm 8.
During the forty-three years I served in the church, I performed around 1,200 marriages. In preparation, I would talk to the couple about their relationship with the Lord Jesus. Every so often I would hear one of them say, “I have no relationship with him at all.” I’ve often wondered if I should have told them to get their relationship with Jesus straightened out first, then come back to see me. I failed in that way, for I was afraid of what the congregation would say if I had told them they are not yet ready for marriage. I was afraid the father and the mother might leave the church. It sounds ridiculous that someone would leave the church because their pastor was enforcing the Word of God, but I was afraid it would happen. This is my confession.
So the young people were married and the years flew by, one after another until one night one of them said to the other, “How long can we keep doing this? We fight with one another. We don’t have any real love for one another. We don’t have anything in common. Our marriage has gone to pieces. It has no depth. Don’t you think it’s time to get a divorce?”
God did not intend marriage to be that way. He knew we would have difficulties in the home. If he had trouble in the garden, we can have trouble in the parlor and can get into some very tough times. But he tells us in his Word to forgive. Look at yourself. What are you contributing to the problems? Go and get some help from your pastor or a good Christian friend who knows the Word of God well. Let God lead you during this time when your marriage is on the verge of breaking.
But often times it does not happen, and the divorce comes. Children, who love both their parents, live with a broken heart because they want to live together as a family.
This is not the will of God. He created us in his image to turn to him, not live according to our own will making ourselves little gods. Instead, God asks us to come to him, and he promises to lead us.
What about the Christian church? You would think that those who confess faith in Jesus Christ certainly would want to know what the Word of Christ says and be faithful to it. But that is not always the case. History books are full of the heresies, and they continue on today. We debate the primary mission of the Christian church. One article after another fails to clearly ring the purpose of the Church to “go and make disciples of all the nations by baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I command you. And lo, I am with you always to the end of the age.”
Our Heavenly Father wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, comfort and counsel in any way possible. We are to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. But it is our second mission. The primary mission is to proclaim the contents of the Word of God.
Still we chip away at it and make something else the great mission. We feel we have to adjust it to make it fit with our culture better. Something that was considered a sin five or ten years ago is all right today, because culture has said so. This is not what our Heavenly Father intended when he gave us the right to be the human ruler of the Church. We need to come to him in his Word and listen to his voice. Then we will be in charge.
We may not change this nation; I pray we could. But we can listen to a psalm like this one as far as our own person, our own church, our own marriage is concerned. These are the words God sets before us this day. In Jesus’ name,