In the 8th Psalm the writer asks, “What is man that you (God) are mindful of him?”
While the Psalmist is looking to God for the answer, let’s consider how we humans would answer that question. Our answers would come from pure reason.
Sitting in a football stadium you hear the attendance is 87,000. That’s a crowd, and you are quite insignificant in relationship to the mass of people in attendance. Does one person really count that much? Commenting on a bombing in the Mideast, a reporter reminded his audience that fortunately only 37 people were killed. He did hurry on to say that it is tragic for even one person to die, but he had already left the impressions that, in many parts of society, when we are dealing with people’s lives, we play the numbers game. Numbers are what counts.
Here is another example. If you are pregnant and do not wish to have the child, all you have to do is have an abortion. Does this not show the insignificance of the individual who has been conceived, but now can be legally destroyed? Does the parent have this much freedom? Millions will say he or she does. It’s their choice.
If you are vacationing in Estes Park, Colorado and drive up Trail Ridge Road, you will find you are surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. What do the mountains tell you? They tell you what a small part of creation the human being is.
These verbal pictures can cause us to believe by pure reason that we are very small fish in a mighty ocean. We are not very important and very few would miss us if we were not around. This can lead to a poor self-image. However, it does not have to be that way.
If you ask the same question and look to revelation, that is, God’s Word, you get bigger answers. Look at the 8th Psalm. It says, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. God, when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, (and here comes the question) what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You have 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. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”
This Psalm relates well to the creation story where God says, “Let us make man in our image, and let this man have the right to rule over the creation.” Man is the crowning work of God’s creation, and in no way is he insignificant! In God’s eyes we are precious and important. This is one of the most important teachings in the Bible, and it affects one’s entire understanding of not only him or herself, but of the entire creation.
“We are not God,” the Bible tells us. We have to remember that. Sometimes we want to elevate ourselves to that position. However, we are the most exalted part of God’s creation. God does not want us to dwell on our smallness. Humility is not self-depreciation. No, we do not have all of the answers to God’s mysteries, but we do have a mind with which we can think, a will with which we can make decisions, and a soul that is eternal, making us the crowning work of God’s creation. God has created us, those trust Christ as Savior and Lord, to carry the message of His Holy Word to the far parts of the earth. He has commissioned us to reach out to human beings, and in the name of Almighty God who has created all people, to assist others in their walk through life. That’s who we are.
Let’s see what our responsibility to each other is in this fallen world. Disease, suffering, and death are a part of the fallen world. But look at what God is doing: He gives to men and women a mind that can treat the human body and begin to conquer some of these diseases. Through the advancements of medical science the sick have been made well. This is God’s gift to us through the ministry of people serving people.
Look at the compassion God has put into the hearts of a certain group of people to organize an organization called Hospice. Visit the Hospice house in your community and see the hand of God working through humans as they minister to people of all kinds in the last days of their lives.
Look at the poverty in our world. In this same world we have built a strong economy. This is fine. People have developed their talents and become very successful in their business transactions. But does it not say to us, who have more than we need, living in a nation that is blessed, to listen as God tells us to feed those who are hungry? We have the ability in America to address this matter of hunger. A very successful agriculturalist told me not long ago that we have the ability, in the state of Iowa, to feed the entire world. God has not only given us the rich soil, but the ability to develop seed and fertilizers that will provide an abundance of food. Now what does this say to us? It reminds us that all people are created in God’s image and are important. We are to minister to their bodies. We have been given the mission to help one another.
Having said all of this, God has given us our greatest mission – to tell the story of Jesus Christ. You remember that we are not only a body, but also a soul, and though the body shall return to the dust from whence it has come, the soul will return to the Creator Who made it. Feeding the hungry, assisting in blotting out disease, and trying to right some of the injustices found in our culture are very important callings for the Church of Jesus Christ. This work will make life much more pleasant for millions of people; but there is yet a greater mission. That mission is to move about in this world telling people about their Savior.
People need to know that, although they are created in God’s image, they have sinned; they have broken His Laws, and, by themselves, are out of a relationship with their Creator. What does that mean? As long as our sins separate us from a Holy God, there is no personal relationship with God. If there is no personal relationship with God, we are walking through this life pretty much on our own strength and the guidance of other people.
This is not the way God wants it to be. So He says through His Word, to those whom He has created, “Let me take away your sin and restore our relationship.” This restoration has been made possible through the coming of Jesus Christ to this world. He has taken our sins upon Him. He died as a payment for these sins and has offered that all who will confess their sins and place their faith in Him will be completely forgiven. They will be restored into fellowship with God and walk with Him on this earth until He comes to take them to their Heavenly Home.
This is why God made us just a little bit lower than the angels. In Christ we are very important people to this world. We have been created to introduce others to the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.
In the light of this revelation we say, “No, world. Though pure reason may lead us to believe we are insignificant people – one small fish in a mighty ocean – God’s revelation tells us this is not true. We are created in His image, and each soul is precious and important to Him.” Quite a difference. Amen.