In this episode, we do a deep dive into Psalm 8. This incredible Psalm guides us through some of the most fundamental truths about life. It shows the reason God created us, who He created us to be, and why it matters. Psalm 8 casts us as stewards with significant responsibilities and as royalty in waiting. Life is about seeing the opportunities God has placed in front of us and taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to know God by faith.
What I want to do now is look at the Bible. I’m going to prove to you from the scripture that Along Came Jones is what’s really happening. Look at Psalm 8. I’ve already mentioned these verses. I just kind of skimmed over them. We’re going to dig into them today. Psalm 8.
O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
I’m going to skip verse 2. I’ll come back to it.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
So you look at the stars. Impressive or not impressive? It’s really impressive! You look at the moon. You look at the whole earth. Impressive or not impressive? And then you look at your husband snoring, and he gets up and goes and eats a bowl of cereal and the milk’s running down his chin. Impressive?
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
Okay, we are not as powerful as the angels. We are probably not as intelligent as the angels. We certainly don’t live as long as the angels. We’re lower.
And yet, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
What glory and honor? What is glory? Doxa. Greek word. In the New Testament, what it is, if you look at 1 Corinthians 15, what you’ll see is the moon has a glory, and the sun has a glory, and the earth has a glory; and they’re all different.
All glory is someone’s essence on display and in view. There’s an audience watching, and they see who somebody really is, what your real essence is.
In Philippians, Paul talks about these people who are run by their bellies. Their appetites run them. And he says their glory is their shame. So glory’s not necessarily a good thing, if your essence is not a good thing.
Why did God create man?
Well, you crowned him with glory and honor. It’s an honor for something. The essence of who humanity is is something great. What is it? Here it is.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
Verse 6. You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
This is not a new observation for David writing this Psalm that we can now say, oh, that’s why God made man! God told us right up front. Go to Genesis 1. He told us this right up front. Genesis 1:26.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
You know, what it means to have dominion over the fish of the sea is fascinating to me. I think the reason why people spend 50 bucks to go to SeaWorld is because you go and see people interacting with fish. They ride them, and they get them to jump. It’s almost like they’re friends. Well, why does that appeal to us? Because that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
I love C. S. Lewis’s space trilogy. And in the space trilogy has these Adam and Eve characters on another planet, and the Eve character needs to go someplace, and she goes and whistles and all the dolphins come, “Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!” She picks one and rides that one. That’s a really cool picture of the kind of thing it’s supposed to be like.
Paul’s commentary on Psalm 8
But in probably the greatest understatement in all the Bible—we can go to Hebrews 2, where Paul comments on Psalm 8. Hebrews chapter 2. And let me read the commentary, and then we’ll go back and look at this whole passage because there’s a lot here for us about this quest, this story, this role that we’re playing because we’re supposed to be the heroes.
So look at Hebrews 2:5.
For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.
But one testified in a certain place, saying:
Now he quotes Psalm 8.
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
Well, is that happening right now? Are we as humanity in full harmony with nature? Are we in full harmony with one another? Are we in full harmony with God? Are we stewarding the earth together in a community of love and acceptance? It’s not happening right now.
He goes on in verse 8:
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
Can I have an amen to that? It’s not happening right now. This is the original design that God made where male and female all together are supposed to be in dominion over the earth and subduing it in perfect harmony with one another and nature and God. It’s not happening right now. We don’t see that.
Well what do we see? Well there’s a lot of ways you can answer that. You can say we see chaos. We see war. We see famine. We see catastrophe. We see violence. We see selfishness. Those would all be appropriate answers.
But look what Paul says we see. Verse 9.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels—
See Jesus became a man, a human. That’s probably the craziest plot twist ever!
And, actually, this is one of the favorite plot components. You see something like Tron where the computer programmer becomes part of the program in order to save the world. That theme is typically woven in. Or, what’s the guy’s name? Neo goes into the matrix and comes out of the matrix in order to save the world. He becomes part of the computer.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor—
So even though we’re not in dominion physically, and Jesus is not currently in dominion physically, he’s not here exercising authority over the earth, what Jesus did is he suffered and died; and because he suffered and died, the result is certain.
that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
So what we see is the world isn’t as it’s supposed to be, but Jesus came, and he suffered and died, and then he went back to heaven, because he was doing what? He was paving a path for us. He was showing us the way. I want you to follow me on this quest because this is how we’re going to restore the story to where it’s supposed to go. Follow my quest.
Verse 12. —for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying: “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”
So here you have the God of the universe, the creator of the universe, that made everything for himself becoming a part of the universe; and because he learned obedience even to death on the cross, God elevated him up, not just to being the creator, but also being the king of creation because now he’s a part of it, and he turns around to us and says follow me because I want to make you like me.
Be faithful in the quest?
Let’s go on and see, how do we do that? How do we do that quest? Look at Hebrews 3:1.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling—
See, we’re not talking to unbelievers. The whole, are you a believer or non-believer, here. Hebrews is written to people that Paul says please pray for me. And he says I’m confident about you because you’ve done many great works, and you continue to do great works. And he calls them holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling. There’s no doubt that these people are believers. The doubt is whether they’re going to follow Jesus on that quest, or are they going to follow a quest of their own appetite? That’s the question.
Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful—This is the whole point of Hebrews. Be faithful until the end of the quest. who is faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house.
This is another theme in Hebrews. Jesus is superior to everything. He’s a superior to the angels. He’s superior to the high priest. He has a Melchizedek priesthood that’s superior. He’s superior to Moses. He’s writing to a Jewish audience. That’s an audacious claim to a bunch of Jewish people. But he said, look, Moses just was a house, but God built the house. So the builder of the house has more honor than the house itself.
And then he goes on to say in verse 5,
And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if—
see there’s this royalty theme. We can go back to the princess motif, the Disney princess franchise. It’s worth billions of dollars. And we have granddaughters this week that went to a ballet camp, and they did princess day, and they went in their princess uniforms and their princess get-up.
Well, we’re supposed to be royalty; but every one of these princess things, it’s either a commoner that becomes royalty, or it’s someone who properly is royalty, but they have to be reinstated. And either way, what does it depend on? Whether they maintain their character. Will they maintain their character? Will Beauty continue to love the Beast so the flower will not fade?
—if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end, then we can get this reward.
Go back to chapter 2, and that’s what we’re talking about here.
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Don’t drift away.
For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast—that’s the Old Testament, and it did—and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward—and it did. When God said if you disobey me, you’re going to get whacked, they got whacked.
how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation—
We have an opportunity to follow Jesus through suffering to redeem the world. If we neglect that, you don’t think there’s going to be any consequences in that for us? We’re going to lose that reward.
Possess the possession
And back to chapter 3, he says in verse 7,
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: and now he’s quoting from the Old Testament.
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
In the day of trial in the wilderness,
Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me,
And saw My works for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
And they have not known My ways.’
So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”
Now what happened there? Who are we talking about? The children of Israel that wandered in the wilderness, right? And God gave them the possession of Israel. He deeded it to them. It was theirs. They just had to do one thing, which was what? Possess it. They had to possess their possession. God deeded it to them, and he said, be faithful and you can actually experience the possession of it. They didn’t, and they didn’t get that reward.
Now did God reject them as children? No. Their shoes didn’t wear out. Their clothes didn’t wear out. He gave them manna to eat. He made water come out of a rock. They had a few tussles with enemies, but for the most part he vanquished their enemies. But they didn’t get to possess the possession.
And, you know, you look at that and say, well, to possess the possession, they had to fight giants. They had to fight walled cities. The manna stopped. They had to grow their own food. So it was harder. There was more suffering to go and possess the possession. But they got to possess the possession, and they got all the rewards of that.
In the wilderness they just sat there, and they died in the wilderness, and their lives weren’t worth much. They were still God’s. They had God as an inheritance, but they didn’t possess their inheritance.
And when the scripture talks about losing your inheritance, this is what it’s talking about. We have as an opportunity to possess the possession of restoring the world by following the same path Jesus did. That is our opportunity for greatness as heroes in our story.
Be who God created us to be
Well what is it we’re supposed to actually do? What we’re supposed to actually do is what Buzz Lightyear did. What was Buzz Lightyear supposed to do? Be a great Space Ranger toy. Please Andy.
If he would have tried to be a great slinky toy, it wouldn’t have worked. If he would have tried to be a great GI Joe toy, it wouldn’t work. If he tried to be a great Bo Peep, it wouldn’t work. If he tried to be a great Pig, it wouldn’t work. He was supposed to be a great Space Ranger toy because that’s what he was made to be. And when he did and when he leaned into it, that’s when he got fulfillment.
The Disney princesses
I mentioned the Disney franchise, and it’s worth mentioning again. We can just go through a few of them:
Cinderella is one of the princesses. She’s an ordinary girl. She’s called Ella, Cinder-ella, because she has to sweep the fireplace ashes while her “sisty uglers,” as Andy Griffith calls them, are pampered and spoiled. But she does so cheerfully. She refuses to become bitter. She insists on having a servant heart.
The stepmother, all it does is just irritate her. She doubles down. But she has dreams. She has dreams of being a princess, and magic comes along.
Have you ever experienced any magic? Is the Holy Spirit of God coming to live in us magic? Is it transformative? Does it turn us from a pumpkin into a coach? It’s even better than that. Well, she gets a chance to go meet the prince, and then, of course, has to run away. And then the prince comes and finds her, and is Jesus seeking us?
You know, in this relationship with Jesus, we’re all brides. We got all these metaphors. We’re all brides. We all get to be princesses. I’ve never worn a Disney costume, but I embrace this notion.
And then they have a happy-ever-after fellowship. It’s us. Cinderella is the story of us.
And you take Aladdin, and it’s the same story; it’s just flipped because the princess is the royal, and Aladdin’s the everyday person. He’s worse than everyday; he’s a common thief. And yet he has these good values in him that then mature, and he becomes a different person, and he’s elevated to being a prince.
Beauty and the Beast. An ordinary girl. And, in this case, the prince is a frog. He’s warted and twisted. He has a curse put on him. Why does he have a curse put on him? Because he was selfish and did what he wasn’t supposed to do. Sound familiar? So he was cursed, and only one thing can break the curse: sacrificial love. Does that sound familiar? God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
So Beauty comes in, and the beast abuses her, and ignores her, and she’s tempted to be revengeful; but, no. She remains true to who she is and chooses to love in return. She turns the other cheek. She loves her enemy and in doing so, breaks the curse. Sound familiar?
Serve where God put us
What we’re supposed to do is take whoever God made us to be wherever we are and serve wherever we serve. You know, it’s a lot easier to park your kids in front of a TV than it is to read to them. When you read to your kids, you’re changing the world because you’re serving.
It’s a lot easier to turn and walk away from somebody that needs help. When you engage with them, you’re changing the world; and you’re being heroic. You’re following this quest that Jesus has paved, that he’s written for us; and this is where greatness lies.
He’s given us a possession, to be rulers in the world; but only those who are of his house if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. Only those will possess that inheritance. We’re talking about rewards here, not belonging.
Michael Franzese, the former mobster—I’ve talked to him some, and he said that people are fascinated with the Mafia. He thinks because in America, we don’t have royalty, and people are inherently fascinated with royalty. We even follow the English royalty, as silly as they are.
But he says it’s kind of like royalty because you got a group of people who can pronounce life and death. And that’s what royalty can do. They have a certain set of rules; and within those rules, they pronounce life and death. And they decide who’s promoted and who’s not and that sort of thing. It’s kind of a royalty thing.
Well it’s kind of a twisted part of our fascination; but, you know, appropriately, what we do is we look at these stories, and we’re elevated by them.
So why are these stories so enduring? Why are we fascinated by them? Why is the Disney princess franchise making three billion dollars a year as of four years ago? No telling what it’s making today. It’s because we’re ordinary people destined for royalty, if we can keep our character and do what we’ve been appointed to do until the end.
Why are these stories so appealing to us? Because they’re stories about us. And we are drawn to someone who can keep their character to the end.
Why do we like the Hobbits? They’re the most ordinary creatures in middle-earth, unassuming, and to them falls the quest of destroying the Ring of Power that the usurper is going to use to take the possessions using murder and deception.
Well, we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers. And this usurper wants to steal our possession using deception and coercion. And the question is, will we let him?
Belonging is something that is unconditional. We’re born. We didn’t have anything to do with birth. We’re born spiritually. We didn’t have anything to do that; we just received it. Who we become has everything to do with whether we follow this quest or not. We’re designed for royalty, but right now it’s masked. We’re pretty ordinary.
Will we sweep the cinders when we’re being abused? Will we do these servant things when we think no one’s watching, maybe even nobody is appreciating?
We’re royalty in waiting
One of my themes I carry in my head is from—and I’ll close with this—is from Lord of the Rings, which is, like, my favorite epic tale. And there’s this character Aragorn. Aragorn is from a line of kings, and the kings left the throne, and they gave it to some stewards. The great city is Gondor. And so he’s now multiple generations of being a king in exile. And as a king in exile, he is doing kingly things. He protects the shire from trolls and goblins and so forth.
And when he goes into the shire, he puts on his hood, and he’s kind of a dark, big scary character, and the hobbits are kind of afraid of him. They call him Strider. A little suspicious. They don’t know he’s out there protecting them from goblins and trolls. They have no idea. And Aragorn doesn’t go in and say, “Don’t you people appreciate me? Don’t you know what I’m doing for you?” He just wants the hobbits to be happy and not be ravaged by trolls.
Now he risks his life every day. That doesn’t bother him. That Kings do. They risk their life every day for others. Doesn’t bother him to risk his life.
Now being dishonored, being dishonorable, now that’s something that really scares him. When he has something that he’s supposed to do, and the notion that he might not do that, well, now that is a big problem because being dishonorable and dishonoring his kingly family and his kingly nature—he would never—that’s unthinkable. Dying, that’s not that big of a deal. Everybody’s going to die.
And it comes his time to take the throne, and he refuses to take it because he understands he’s not the legitimate heir to the throne until he’s placed there appropriately. He does not grab and clutch. He waits and receives.
Well that’s a great picture of the way we’re supposed to live. We’re royalty in waiting. We’re kings and queens in waiting, and will we serve others who will not appreciate it? As a matter of fact, the more you serve, many times, the more they’ll take advantage of you. Will we serve others? Will we follow this path, this quest, that Jesus has given us when there’s a usurper that wants to steal the goal of our quest, who wants to steal our identity using deception, using coercion? Will we make it? Will we succeed in the end?
Well, that’s a story that’s still unfolding, and we are of his house if we endure to the end, speaking again about the reward.
So, man! Isn’t life using opportunity? Look what we get to do! We’re in an epic tale, and we get to be the hero or heroine if we will play our Buzz Lightyear role and do the thing that God has appointed us to do with the Cinderella attitude.