We explore the message of Psalm 8 and use it as an example for the process of studying The Bible. We are all significant characters in the cosmic story, called to steward our choices for the sake of God’s Kingdom. Although we struggle to steward well, the work of Jesus helps free us to make our choices with grace and hope. The story of The Bible invites us to participate in purpose, to align with meaning, and to steward our part of The Story well.
In our previous episode, we talked about the structure of a story, the role of major and minor characters, and the ultimate story of the Bible. All of us can be minor characters who serve major roles (without bearing the ultimate cosmic weight). Why is this so? Why did God decide to make it this way?
We are going to use The Socratic Method to explore a favorite passage: Psalm 8. In The Socratic Method, questions are used as a tool to pull out meaning and discover truth. We are using it as an example to show how one might do this alone when studying the Bible for themselves.
“For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David. 1 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, 8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. 9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” – Psalm 8
In Verse 1, David starts off praising God. Verse 2 does something different and then Verse 3 goes back to praising God. Verse 3 matches with verse 1. So, Verse 2 does not fit. Why? When something doesn’t seem to fit, it is a clue something big is there.
David is looking up in verse 3. What is man that you are mindful of him? In the big scheme of things, what is one person? Small. Why does one of us matter? We are so little in comparison with the heavens and it is almost absurd to think of us as important. But we are.
In Psalm 8, David marvels at man’s significance. They are instructed to tend the earth, something angels should probably be doing. Why give such a vital role to the small, humble man? (the clue to this answer is back in verse 2).
It is because of God’s enemies. God puts man above the angels (in this regard) to show Satan that He (God) is so powerful He can use the cosmic babies to defeat evil. Humans are newborns in the cosmic order, yet we are put in stewardship to prove to fallen angels that a weak, small, insignificant creature can silence Satan and the powers of darkness.
Going back to our story structure from the last episode – every hero in every story starts out squalling, small, and insignificant. Just a hobbit or a farmer. A nobody in the far reaches of the galaxy who grows to have a huge impact. The power of God is vastly superior to every other power. It can use small things for big purposes.
We want significance because we are made to have it. The question is: are we currently serving our purpose? Are we stewarding the dominion Psalm 8 bestows on us?
Of course, we are not. Why? The reason is because of sin, The Fall of Man. Hebrews 2 says we have been crowned with glory and honor, and that all things are set under our feet (rather than the angels). All things are put under God but God chose to give man stewardship over the Earth. But we have made a mess of it. Things are not working properly. We are not operating the way we are supposed to. If we were, The Earth would be full of harmony. We would serve and love in unity.
We are not getting the job done so God has to send another man – Jesus. He was made “a little lower than the angels”, an ode to Psalm 8. The new path Jesus initiates is this: reigning comes through the suffering of death. Jesus’ death is a fulfillment of what we have messed up. We can now go through this new door and restore what has been lost through our lack of stewardship.
What is being delivered from what? Man is being delivered from lack of harmony, from the full consequences of The Fall – through the suffering of death. We are reborn and brought to glory. What has to be put to death? The flesh – little choices that need to be made every day in order for us to align with the Spirit.
“Sanctified” means set apart for a purpose. Our purpose is to rule and to shut up the enemy by stewarding in harmony and peace. When we love one another, care for our friends, and treat animals well, we are doing a cosmic thing. We are the minor heroes who are doing something significant. Often those within the story don’t fully realize what is happening but those reading the story see the weight and significance.
God wants us to be a part of his glory. We do that by one little faith decision at a time. Revelation 3 promises blessing “to he who overcomes”. How did Jesus have victory? How did he overcome? First, we start with what he overcomes – He overcomes temptation and learning how to obey. Now, how did he do it – He did so by death. If we overcome as he did, utilizing faith, we can be with him on his throne. One of the greatest rewards is who is going to share ruling and reigning with God. We are used to ruling and thinking about ruling in terms of tyranny rather than through service. If you are willing to rule through service, there is a big price to pay. Reward does not look like it does in this life; it is a degree of intimacy – how much do you want to be involved in what Jesus is all about?
So you might say you have screwed up a bunch. All of us have. Everyone has. But there is another opportunity, another decision. There is a chance to be faithful in this decision. Don’t give up. Just start now. Heroes are always given second chances. The parable of the workers in the field gives us hope.
This is the narrative of The Bible. Our goal at Yellow Balloons is to help you discover a way to search and discover Scripture for yourself. To see this path and the promise of reward and make your choices in alignment with The Spirit rather than the flesh.
***All study resources mentioned within the series can be found here.