Insights from a Stargazer
If you have your Bible with you this morning, I invite you to turn to Psalm 8. This Psalm opens with praise and ends with the same praise. This is a Psalm that points to the Messiah, as Jesus showed us, along with other New Testament writers. (Read & Pray)
About twenty years ago, Sidney Greidanus and his family were camping in a state park in northern Wisconsin. The ranger offered to take a group for a night hike — no lights allowed. As Sidney and his family walked slowly down a trail under the forest canopy their eyes soon adjusted to the darkness.
Then they came to a clearing and were absolutely astonished at the light. It seemed almost like daylight, with thousands of stars beaming down on them. It was an unforgettable moment of reflecting on the immenseness of space and the greatness of its Creator. Sidney praised God and said, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name!”
All too soon they went back to the campground with its artificial lights. Then later, traveled back to their city flooded with streetlights. Unable to clearly see the night sky, their praise of our great Creator was soon a thing of the past.
As David was gazing up into the night sky he exclaimed: O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
David uses two Hebrew names for God as he praises him: Yahweh and Adonay. “Yahweh” is the covenant name of God, revealed to Moses before the Exodus. “Adonay” means, “Master, Ruler King.”
David is saying “Covenant God of Israel, our Master and King, how majestic, mighty, magnificent is your name in all the earth!
The New Living Translations says, “Your glory is higher than the heavens.”
Donna Van Fossen said that while they were visiting friends in Mississippi, a terrific thunderstorm rolled through. Her friend's four-year-old granddaughter was standing at the window—fascinated by the lightning.
After a few minutes she said in reverent awe, "I just saw heaven crack open and part of God's glory spilled out!"
The Psalmist said, “Your glory is higher than the heavens!”
God reveals his Majestic name by using weak children and infants. Verse 2 says, From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger. God magnifies his name by using weak children to silence his enemies.
The biological process of birth is amazing. Nine months after conception, the baby’s brain sends a hormone through the placenta and into the mother’s pituitary gland. Although it is a complicated chemical transaction, its message is simple: “I’m ready! It’s time!” All of the baby’s complex systems—lungs, heart, gastrointestinal system, nervous system, brain—are ready to make it on their own.
The baby’s skull has not yet fused, so that it can be pliable enough to fit through the birth canal. As the process starts, the baby’s adrenal glands add a shot of stress hormones to help the baby cope.
Just before the mother and child separate, the newborn gets a last-minute blood transfusion through the umbilical cord. The placenta has stored the nutrients the baby needs for this exact moment. And, there is far more going on that we don’t understand.
Knowing all of this, how can an unbeliever look at a newborn baby and say that it happened by sheer chance, apart from our Creator? God silences his enemies through the weakness of a little baby.
Matthew 21:14-16 tells us that “The blind and the lame came to him [Jesus] at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.
The chief priests and teachers of the Law asked Jesus, "Do you hear what these children are saying?"
"Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?"
Jesus was referring to Psalm 8. Little children recognized Jesus as the Messiah and praised him, while the adult religious leaders rejected Jesus as Messiah.
So we see that God reveals his Majestic name by using weak children and infants.
God also reveals his Majestic name through his Mindfulness of man. Verses 3-4 say, When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
The vastness of the universe is contrasted with the smallness of man! Astronomers estimate that there are one hundred billion galaxies with one hundred billion stars in each one. Humans are but a speck in the universe—yet God is mindful of us and cares for us.
Pastor Scott Hoezee tells about a short science movie titled, Powers of Ten:
“As the film opens, you see a close-up view of a young couple spreading out a picnic blanket on a grassy section of Chicago’s Grant Park. Then every ten seconds thereafter the camera pulls back, each time increasing its distance from the couple by a power of ten.
First the camera pulls back just one foot; ten seconds later it pulls back ten feet; ten seconds later it pulls back one hundred feet and then one thousand feet and so on.
At first you can still see the young couple. But then you can only pick out the small square of their picnic blanket in the midst of the Grant Park. Seconds later Grant Park itself has been reduced to a small green patch as you can now see all of Chicago.
Next Chicago disappears as you see the whole United States. Then you see the whole planet earth. Within just a couple of minutes the picture has pulled back to the outer limits of the Milky Way galaxy and soon thereafter to the edge of the known universe.”
Once the edge of space is reached, the camera then quickly zooms back in on the couple in Grant Park.
Of the trillions of stars in the heavens, we are merely specks on one small planet. Yet, we have been singled out to by God for his care and his love.
God is mindful of you. God cares for you.
You might ask “How mindful of us is God?” God himself became a speck on this planet in the person of his Son. Jesus came to experience all that we experience, yet he lived without sin. He loved us and went to the cross, to die for our sins, so that we could be forgiven of every sin that causes so many problems and heartaches in our lives.
God is so mindful of us that he sent his only Son for us!
Verses 5-8 go back to creation. 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.
That’s what God did in the beginning, Genesis 1:28
God crowned man with glory and honor by creating him in God’s image. Then he made man co-regents over his earth. God gave man 1) dignity above all creatures, and 2) dominion over all creatures.
But, Church, we have to come to grips with the fall. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and became tainted with sin. All the modern accomplishments of men are tainted by sin. Proud man boasts in his accomplishments and often does not give God the glory for them.
Mankind is not ruling this earth as co-regents under God. Unregenerate mankind is being ruled by sin. Instead of ruling over the beasts, mankind acts like the beasts!
If you think man still has dominion over the animals, just go to a rodeo and watch the bull riding!
The writer of Hebrews quotes this passage in Hebrews 2:6-9: 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.
The writer of Hebrews went on to say, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels.”
Jesus had dominion over the animals. Remember on Palm Sunday, Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey that had never been ridden by another human. Jesus had dominion over that donkey.
Remember what Jesus told Peter on the night he was betrayed? He said, “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times,” Matthew 26:34. Why didn’t the rooster crow on the first or second denial by Peter? Because Jesus had dominion over birds.
Do you remember the time when Jesus needed to pay His temple tax? And what did Jesus tell Peter to do? He said, “Go cast a hook into the sea. You’ll catch a fish. Open its mouth and look in it. There will be a coin.” (Matthew 17:27) How was our Lord able to guide that fish at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee, so that it went along and scooped up that shiny coin that fell out of some fisherman’s pocket and deliver it to our Lord to pay His taxes?
Because Jesus had dominion over the animals, the birds and the fish. We don’t. When man sinned, he lost some of his dignity and lost his dominion.
The writer of Hebrews said, We see Jesus, . . . now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
God has crowned Jesus with glory and honor because he suffered death. God crowned Jesus with glory and honor by raising him from the dead. God has exalted him to the highest place, at his right hand. Jesus is sitting on a throne in heaven with all things now under his feet. And one day he will return and put all his enemies under his feet!
John Philips tells an amazing story about the present Queen of England. She was a teenager at the outbreak of World War II. As soon as she was old enough, she asked her father, King George VI, to allow her to join the armed forces and serve Britain as others were doing. Her father finally allowed her to join the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a private.
She had a superior officer who took pleasure in bossing and bullying her. She was made a little lower than the noncommissioned officers for the sake of her service to her people.
But then, on February 6, 1952, she received word that her father was dead. From that moment on she was Queen of England. She was no longer "Private Windsor," to be badgered by a noncommissioned officer. She was "Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II." She had entered into the position for which she had been born.
Jesus came to earth as an unassuming private under God’s command. He followed God’s every command—even to death on the cross. But now our glorious Lord has assumed His throne on high as the King of all kings. And soon he is coming again to put all his enemies under his feet. And one day, believers will rule with him on this earth, (Revelation 20:6.)
As we contemplate all of this:
1) Let’s stand in awe of our majestic creator who is mindful of us and let’s be sure to praise him.
2) Let’s treat each person with the dignity that God has given them. And let’s do everything in our power to lead them to the One who tasted death for us all.
3) Let’s be good stewards of all of God’s creation.
Can anyone say, “Amen!”
Sidney Greidanus “Preaching Christ Expository Series.”
 Donna Van Fossen, Bothell, Washington, Christian Reader, (November/December 1999).
 Geoffrey Simmons, “Billions of Mission Links,” pp. 11-12, in “The Summit Journal,” April 2007.
 From a sermon by King Duncan.
 John Phillips Commentary Series, Exploring the Psalms, Volume One.