Psalm 8 Part 4: God Takes Care of Us
Psalm 8:4 - God loves His humans, made in His image
“What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?”
Psalms 8:4 NASB1995
David asks a question in the next phrase in Psalm 8 (verse 4) after seeing the magnificence of the heavens and sensing his insignificance when compared to Creation. What is man that God has thought of him and that He cares for the son of man? David really sees that we are not insignificant to God, that even with the incomprehensible vastness and complexity of creation (and David really knew nothing about that vastness and complexity), God loves and cares for those He created in His own image.
We are at a crossroads in our culture. There are many movements afoot in our “modern”age that drive humans away from God by focusing on materialism or pet causes or the futility of life. Examples of these include:
Embracing futility: Many people are descending a dead-end path of total despair and nothingness that is at the heart of nihilism. This depressing concept is championed by many post-modernists, atheists and philosophers and it rejects the ideas of objective truth, morality, knowledge, values and meaning. To the nihilist, God is dead (or He never existed) and humans are merely meat puppets with an emotional and often malfunctioning computer (brain); we are also are slaves to the genetic coding of our DNA. Even languages and concepts like mathematics are artificial constructs, so they are useless to the post-modernist. Embracing nihilism means that anything goes, there is no such thing as sin and everyone has their own “truth”. So you might as well give in to your desires and temptations and, when you tire of it all, go see the doctor that performs assisted suicides.
Worshipping the Creation: There are people in our world today that have decided to worship creation, instead of the Creator. God made us the stewards of creation, not its subjects. Paganism is creeping back into vogue and many bow down to “Gaia”, wanting to preserve things on Earth in a pristine state that does not include destructive humans (in their view, humans are only destructive, never a force for good). Some of the more radical environmentalists and earth-lovers quietly champion the deaths of billions of humans. I’m not sure who decides who stays and who goes if that time comes. Earth is dynamic, so an attempt to capture perfect climate conditions (whatever those are) and vast Eden-like parks for only a selected few elite caretakers of the animals and plants is incredibly anti-human and arrogant.
Storing up Treasures on Earth: For many others in our society, the goal is to be the one with the most toys at the end. Power, luxury, property and lots of money are pursued vigorously and our entertainment/sports complex drives many to envy what others have and then be selfish with what they get. This entrenched envy also creates criminal empires who get what they want by breaking the law (selling drugs, selling people, bypassing normal and expected rules of business). People upgrade houses and cars regularly, don’t establish roots, and are driven by a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). This was a problem for both of us during the wilderness years - we especially wanted the travel “points” for seeing many new places and having experiences (we still like traveling, but are downscaling our expectations as we try to follow a path of obedience and repentance). Estate lawyers love those who accumulate stuff, so they can also accumulate stuff.
Do-Good: There are also the people who are driven to improve other people’s lives. This concern is usually grounded in some kind of heartfelt ideal personal nobility and empathy for others, but it can become an obsession that everyone must live a certain way or believe certain things to be a “good” person (oftentimes embracing those ways or beliefs means an endorsement of sin). God is the one who has given us the perfect and timeless commandments that we need to live. Pressure to conform to the latest social trends is a losing battle, because those trends change in a heartbeat, but that pressure is enormous. Our enemy is thrilled with the cultural battles that are going on today.
Victimhood: The “do-gooders” in step 4 are amply supplied with people (“victims”) that constantly lament their position in life and the disadvantages that they have had to suffer because of heredity or history or their gender or even choices they have made; they demand instant acceptance, gratification and compensation. Someone, somewhere always has something that they lack; resentment often drives them to the point of hysteria. Everything is about feelings, feelings, feelings. The whiners remind me to some extent of the Israelites in the wilderness, complaining about manna and their plight, rather than being grateful to God for saving them from slavery.
We have another path that we can take. We can be counter-cultural and embrace the Truth of the Triune God. It is awesome to know that He cares for us. Commentary from Enduring Word by David Guzik has great insight into this loving God who created that vast universe, but also sees us:
What is man that You are mindful of him: Considering the greatness of the heavens also made David consider the relative smallness and insignificance of man. David wondered why such a big, great God would be mindful of such small beings.
“We gave you but a feeble image of our comparative insignificance, when we said that the glories of an extended forest would suffer no more from the fall of a single leaf, than the glories of an extended universe would suffer though the globe we tread upon, and all that it inherits, should dissolve.” (T. Chalmers, cited in Charles Spurgeon)
God is so big that He makes the universe with His fingers; man is so small that he is dwarfed by the universe. Yet David did not doubt that God was mindful of man; he simply said “You are mindful of him” and only wondered why. Before we share David’s question, we should first share his assured confidence that God is mindful of us; He thinks of us and considers what we do.
“Sorry, sickly man, a mass of mortalities, a map of miseries, a mixture or compound of dirt and sin…and yet God is mindful of him.” (John Trapp)
“David’s question can be asked with many nuances. In Psalm 144:3-4 it mocks the arrogance of the rebel; in Job 7:17 it is a sufferer’s plea for respite; in Job 25:6 it shudders at human sin. But here it has no tinge of pessimism; only astonishment that thou are mindful and thou dost care.” (Derek Kidner)
And the son of man that You should visit him: Indeed, using the poetic method of repetition, David repeated the idea in a stronger way. Son of man is a title that emphasizes the “humanness” of man, and we might say that visit him is yet stronger than are mindful of him.
David was confident that God not only carefully thought about man, but that He had some kind of personal connection and contact with men (that You visit him). He thinks about us and acts in our lives.
Morgan considered the use of the terms man and son of man as a “contrast between the stately splendor of the moon and the stars, and man – Enosh – frail man – and the son of man Ben-Adam – of apparently earthly origin. The contrasts are graphic.” (Robert Morgan)
I am thrilled, humble and grateful beyond belief that the infinite God has a personal connection with me!
My next devotional examines Psalm 8 verse 5.
Heaven on Wheels Daily Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father - You are the Creator who thinks of us and cares for us and we need nothing else to satisfy us. We are full of joy knowing that the worship of our great God is an opportunity we have every moment of our waking lives. Amen!
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. lockman.org
Commentary from Enduring Word by David Guzik is used with written permission.