Summary: When we get a glimpse of the majesty of God and the marvel of his creation, is it any wonder that we are mystified that God would care for us?
Title: The Wart
Text: Psalm 8
Thesis: When we get a glimpse of the majesty of God and the marvel of his creation is it any wonder that we are mystified that God should care for us?
Great American humorist Mark Twain told a story about a California man who died and went to heaven. Arriving at the pearly gates he was asked where he had come from and he proudly responded, “I’m from California.” The keeper of the gate asked, “Where is California?” The man, totally put off said, “It’s in the United States.” The gatekeeper asked, “Where is the United States?” Now really frustrated he said, “It’s in North America.” The gatekeeper said to the man, “I guess I’ve never heard of North America.” Now indignant, the man shouted, “it’s part of the earth!” The gatekeeper asked to be excused for a minute while he asked around about this place called earth. After a good bit of research the gatekeeper learned that the earth was a little forgotten speck, flung out into space that was once known as “The Wart.”
Mark Twain was of course exercising his considerable wit in making the point that we earthlings tend to exaggerate our sense of self- importance in the universe. In his mind he doubted that being from Texas or California or Colorado would open any doors in heaven.
However, I suspect that God would take exception to referencing his creation as “wart-like.” The bible says that when God had completed his creative activity in Genesis 1, he stepped back and “saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
And, it would seem that David, the Psalmist, did not see the world in which he lived as a “wart.” In fact Psalm 8 is a hymn and a hymn is intended to give praise to God for something. In this case, God is to be praised for his work as Creator and for his ongoing care of his creatures – especially people.
So Psalm 8 begins with a joyful expression of praise:
I. The Majesty of God
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1 and 9
The Apostle’s Creed begins with the powerful proclamation: “I believe in God the Father, almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”
However, Psalm 8 is not a Confession of Faith we speak to each other… it is praise spoken to God. It is not an expression of praise about God, it is praise expressed to God.
Examples from the Hymnal:
Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee:
• Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, Opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day!
How Great Thou Art:
• Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee; How great thou art, how great Thou art! Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art, how great Thou art.
Immortal, Invisible, god Only Wise:
• Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.
Hymns like these are not sung to each other as expressions of our faith. They are sung as if we are the choir and God is the audience to whom we sing.
So when we sing, “Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!” we are not singing praise about God, we are singing praise to God.
New York’s Museum of Natural History once arranged a room in accordance to the way it looks to a dog entering the door. When the dog enters a room, especially if he is one of a yippy smaller breeds, the legs of the table look like giant pillars, chairs look like lofty thrones, the mantel on the fireplace is an unscalable precipice high overhead.
However, when we enter a room, the mantel on the fireplace is eye-level, we may raise our eyes a bit to see the kilted portrait of the head of our ancient Celtic clan. But mostly we look down on the table and we look down on the chairs upon which we slump.
We are rather taken by our largeness in relation to the things of earth that we rule over. In order to grasp the majesty of God, we have to stop looking down and rather, look up.