2011 05 22

The Crown of Glory

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

May 22nd, 2011 www.FirstPresTucker.org

at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker

Psalm 8:1-9 English Standard Version

1 To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth![1]

When King David reflects upon God’s goodness and glory displayed within the creation, he is not content with simply giving thanks. David writes Psalm 8 enraptured as he contemplates the majesty of God’s name revealed within the creation.

We need to do the same.

Recently, God used a Disney movie to open my mind to the glory of God in my front yard. After my children watched the movie Tinker Bell, I watched the DVD extras which explain how they made the movie.

The animators studied the components of a flower, like the ones outside the doors of our church. They then used their research to create clothes for the characters. Fruits and trees were all dissected to reveal their hidden natural beauty.

Watching secular minds unlock the beauty of the creation within my common surroundings became a spiritual experience as my heart rose in praise to God. In Psalm 8 King David has the same experience.

To illustrate this again, my mom painted this picture of a field of hay. When I drive to Hendersonville in two weeks for Synod I will pass by dozens of fields like the one in this painting. I will eventually get bored looking out the window at the stacks of hay. But this

painting captures the beauty of those hay fields. When I hang this painting in my home I bring God’s glory into my home through this painting.

That’s the value of an artist. They see in the world around us the majesty of the glory of God and they capture that beauty in their art. We all need to be more like that. We need to see the majesty of God in our world.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Look back at verse one. Maybe you noticed that the words ―Lord‖ are different. The first one is capitalized, the second one is not. That’s to let the reader know that there are two different words for God in verse one.

To say it like the Jews heard it, we would have to say, O Yahweh, our Adonai, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

As Yahweh, God is the ultimate Deity, the awesome, holy, covenant keeping God of Israel.

As Adonai, God is the sovereign Savior of His people. Jesus is Lord over the creation. The Father has given to the Son a name that is above every name. At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Adonai.

This means that everyone will one day wait for Jesus to declare their eternal destiny. Some will hear, Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Others will hear Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. And it is our sovereign Lord Jesus who makes that eternal determination.

O Yahweh, our Adonai, how grandiose, is your name, the sum total of all your attributes, character and persona in the whole of the earth.

The name of God is not modest. There is nothing reserved about God. God blows away any definitions. What words would we use to quantify God’s power? Stronger than the Sun, able to hold a galaxy in the palm of his hand? He made all these things with His fingers. Not with the strength found in His legs, back and arms, no. God made it all and holds it all together with the power in His fingers. We should never use God’s name without awe and reverence in the tone of our speech.

Also, the limits of God’s love cannot be explained with words. We cannot search the depth of it, the height or the length. The Apostle Paul prays in Ephesians 3:14-19 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant us to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith—that we, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Even if filled with God’s Holy Spirit, we only then have the strength to begin to understand the unsearchable immensity of God’s love. We begin to become aware of what we don’t know.

Psalm 8 says that God has set His glory above the heavens. Heaven and Earth will pass away, but not one word from God’s mouth shall ever pass away. God’s supreme manifestation of glory is not in the trees or crickets, not in the sun, moon or stars. It is separate and above all that.

Verse two, the glory of God is most perfectly presented by a child. God can use the stars or an infant to tell of His strength. God can put to silence the unbelief of His enemies through the wonder of a new born baby in our arms. Like the painting, the glory of God is in the most common of elements all around us. By faith we see the creation for what it really is, God’s glory, the work of God’s fingers, the majesty of God.

King David has contemplated the glory of God within the creation, he has seen the concern God has for the details of our life, he has seen the awesomeness of God’s power.

David now asks the ultimate question. 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Why would this amazing God cherish us? Why would He extend His good providence to us? What should cause Him to treat us lovingly as a good and gracious Father?

And in that question the wonder of it all is multiplied beyond comprehension. Why did God chose to love Noah and save his family from the flood? Why did God bring Abraham to faith and build from him a great nation? Why did God bring you to faith?

Who are we that God would take notice of us? No answer is given. God just does.

King David makes a strange comment about us being lower than angels. We are lower. Less glorious. Not as smart. Stained by sin. Mortal. Angels live within the spiritual realm. They are powerful and glorious creatures. They are so beautiful that usually humans think they should be worshipped.

Humans are commanded to exercise dominion over the world. We manage the sea, the land, the sky. We are given permission to harness the beasts of the field for our needs. According to our ability we can harness metal, stone and earth to make the Great Pyramids and Sky Scrapers. We can use the liquids of the earth to make rockets so we can search out the heavens.

We are the crown jewel of the creation. We are Gods greatest achievement. God said the creation was good, but when He made humanity God called us very good. We reflect His image. We reason, we consider ethics, enjoy art, we pursue the sciences and we set laws for an orderly and civil society.

People are the most beautiful element within the creation. The Mona Lisa is a good example. She is no more interesting than the person sitting next to you, yet in the hint of her smile is the beauty of God’s greatest achievement within the creation. Priceless.

And in this is the connection between us and God. Jesus is the most beautiful person to ever walk this earth. He is humanity perfected. He is what we all aspire to be.

Jesus isn’t trapped by the limits set for angels. Jesus made the angels. But for a time, Jesus chose to be trapped by the limits the Father set for humanity. Jesus became lower than the angels.

Jesus set aside the manifest glory that He alone possessed in heaven. Jesus concluded that being known as God was not worth holding at all cost. So Jesus used the universal remote control and He hit the mute button to stop the use of His omnipotence, His omniscience, and His omnipresence so that He could become like a human. Jesus wanted to look and feel like an average Joe, a run of the mill human being.

Jesus took the form of a servant. Jesus didn’t enter this world at the top of the social structures. Jesus entered poor and humble. Jesus was a son, a brother, a teacher and friend.

Jesus lowered Himself to become every one’s servant. He came to seek and save those who were lost.

And through Jesus the creation has been lifted, elevated to an even more glorious state. Humanity is less glorious than angels today, but in our glorified state, we will be glorified with the glory of Jesus and ordinary humans will outshine angels when manifesting the glory of God.

These Gospel promises should stir our soul to praise the Lord!

All across the world there are scientists discovering beautiful truths about the creation. With the Hubble telescope we discover that the universe is billions of light years apart, at least. People dig up bones and tell us about animals which were bigger than houses. All the creation tells the story of God’s creativity, His power, His wisdom and beauty.

But it takes faith to experience the world as a testimony to the majesty of God.

We must be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being if we are to have the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth of God’s glory revealed in the world around us.

By faith we see the greatest glory ever to shine within the creation: our Adonai, our incarnate Lord Jesus, wrapped in human flesh, that He might become our servant and meet our needs.

Artists would be famous if they could have caught the majesty in the eyes of Jesus. His love, His compassion, His sorrow. But Jesus shines through us. We are His workmanship. We are His trophies of grace. We are His crown of glory – as He is ours.

And through Christians the glory of Jesus is still seen within the creation. And if we fail, the glory of the name of God is still within the whole earth. And when the earth fails, God’s glory will be found above the heavens, forever and ever.

Why would the God of such a marvelous creation take any notice of us? Because He loves us.

We are the crown of the creation, but when Jesus became human He elevated humanity above all other creatures, angels and powers. Believers will sit with Jesus at the right hand of the throne of God the Father and rule over the creation forever.

9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

May God strengthen us by His Spirit to see the majesty and glory of Jesus revealed in this world that we might be filled with exuberant praise to God.

[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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