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A Hymn of Friendship (Psalm 8)

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     When I was a teenager, I was going to a church that had a really active youth group. It was a youth group that tried to be up-to-date and relevant, and I remember that one of the songs that we sang had a line that said, “I am a friend of God.”
    Now, I was really only at the beginning of learning who God is and what it means to follow Him, and that line of that song, “I am a friend of God,” rubbed me the wrong way. I thought it was rude! I thought it sounded a little like we were mocking God, or that we just didn’t respect Him and treat Him with the awe that we needed to.
    I no longer think that, because that’s not the picture of God that we get in the Bible. Now, maybe I would use a different word than “friend”, but the point is that God did something incredible so that we could be closer to Him than our closest friend.
    I want to talk about Psalm 8. It’s a hymn, it’s a song, that was written by David, probably after he was anointed as king.
    So, I just want you to take a moment and appreciate what was happening when David wrote this song. He was just anointed as king. I think this probably would have been a time in his life that he was pretty proud of. Now, he couldn’t be the king yet, because there was another king who was still in power, but when he was anointed as king, God was saying to David that he was the rightful king that God was choosing to rule Israel.
    That’s a very exciting thing for a person! Can you imagine, if some priest came to you and told you that God had chosen you to be the king?
    In all of this excitement, David writes this song, Psalm 8. And what we’ll see, is that even in one of the proudest and most exciting moments of his life, David doesn’t forget that without God, he is nothing and he has nothing!
    “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!”
    So this Psalm, this song, is in two parts. The first part is the first verse and the last verse. In the first part, the first and last verses, David praises God for Who He is. He says, “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth.” And with this, he says a lot about how amazing God is!
    Now, if you have your Bible, I want you to look carefully at those first four words, “O LORD, our Lord,”. Do you see how, even though David says the word “Lord”, twice, one is written with all capital letters, and one is written with only the L capitalized? That’s because in our English translation, we translate it the same, but in the language David was writing in, Hebrew, it’s two different words, and each of these words says something different about God.
    The first time David says, “LORD,” with all capital letters, he’s using the name that God gave to Moses, Yahweh. This is the name that God gave to let Moses know that God is the God Who keeps His promises. Isn’t that a comforting thought? Isn’t that a good thing to know, as we go into this New Year, that no matter what has happened this year, whether good or bad, God, Yahweh, is a God Who keeps His promises.
    The second time David says, “Lord,” he’s using the name Adonai. The name Adonai we could translate as Master, not in a bad way, either. Not Master, as in God pushing you under His thumb and making you do everything He wants you to do. What David is saying is that he trusts God enough to listen to God, and to live in a way that would please God. What David means is that he is choosing to put God first.
    So if we put the two “Lord”s together, what we get is David saying, “O God who keeps His promises, I will follow and live for you.”
    To finish verse 1, David says, “How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!”
    In the midst of this incredible moment in David’s life, when he’s anointed as the king of Israel, he doesn’t talk about how awesome he is, and he doesn’t say anything about how great a king he’s going to be. Instead, he talks about how great God is!
    David says that even God’s name is majestic! Like a King! The newly anointed king of Israel praising the God who is truly a King!
    David says that God has made His glory known to us. God has showed us how amazing and awesome He is in two ways: the earth, and the heavens.
    The earth and everything about it shows us how incredible and powerful God is. From the beauty of a green leaf turning yellow, then orange, then red, then brown in the Fall, to the way that each snowflake that falls in Winter has a different shape and pattern. All of nature shows us that God is amazing and powerful. All of nature shows us that there is nothing that God can’t do. He is incredible!
    The heavens show us how majestic God is, too! When we think about how many stars there are in the universe, that there are 1 billion trillion stars in the part of the universe that we have been able to see so far, we’re left with the understanding that God is so much greater and so much more amazing than anything that we’re able to understand. We can’t really grasp how incredible He is!
    So with that, David moves on to the second part of his song, which takes up most of the song, verses 2-8.
    “From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.”
    David talks about children, about God being strong and having victory over His enemies even through children. That seems a little strange, until we really try to understand what David is saying.
    What David is saying is that we are children; we are the infants, the babies. That seems…harsh, doesn’t it? To be called an infant, a child, a baby, even if you’re 91! But, David’s point goes back to how amazing God is. God is eternal, that means that He had no beginning, and He has no end. He has always been and will always be. He can see and has witnessed everything that happens for all time, and so to Him, our lifespan, our maybe 100 years if we’re blessed, is just a breath to God.
    In fact, James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” David says that we’re children, we’re infants, we’re babies, here today, gone tomorrow.
    Here’s the amazing thing about God though: even though we’re really nothing special, He still wants us to come to Him. He still wants us to…be friends with Him, as strange as that may sound. Though we’re nothing, He can still join with us to do amazing things!
    David goes on, verses 3-4, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?”
    We’re just a speck. When David considers the heavens, the galaxy and the universe and the amazing world that God has created, he is in awe that the God who would create such amazing things would even care about humans. All we have to do is go outside at night and look up into the sky and see the billions of stars in the night sky and that’s all it takes for us to feel small and insignificant.
    Yet, God is mindful of us and He makes Himself known to us. These two verses ask why God should think of us, why He should care for us? By asking that question, David is saying that though he doesn’t understand why, God does think of us, He does care for us! The word that David uses when He says God cares for us, goes deeper than God just remembering us. He means that God turns His attention to us. He thinks about us like a friend thinks about a friend. He feels concern for us. He has an interest in us and wants to be a part of our lives.
    Isn’t that incredible?! I’m with David, I don’t understand why God loves me that way, I don’t understand how He could love me that way, because I’m nothing! But…He cares for me. He thinks about me. He turns His attention to me, to you! He feels concern for you. He has an interest in you and wants to be a part of your life! That humbles me to my knees.
    David goes on, verse 5, “Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!”
    Not only does God deeply care for us and want to be a part of our lives, but He has given us a place of high honor in creation, because He is so great! Hebrews 1:14 says that God gave the angels to minister to us, since we’re the ones who God saves. 1 John 3:2 says that we’re loved children of God.
    God made us only a little lower than Himself! He set us above His own angels and the rest of His creation! They have to minister to us! He crowns us with His own glory and majesty! He calls us His children. He gives us a place next to Him, a place by His side in eternity, even though we’re nothing! And that just proves even more how incredible He is!!
    He sets us above His creation, and He trusts us to care for His creation. Listen to verses 6-8 again, “You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.”
    We don’t really care much for sheep and oxen, or the beasts of the field, or the birds or the fish anymore, but that’s not the point that David was making. The point that David was making was that even though we’re nothing special, even though we’re just a speck in time, just a vapor, a breath, God cares for us and wants to be involved in our lives, and He trusts us so much that He has asked us to care for His creation.
    In Genesis 1, when He created humans, the job He gave us was to care for what He had made. Again, I side with David, and I say, “why?” Why would God care about me so much? Even when I don’t do the things I should, even when I don’t live the way that I know God would be proud of, He still thinks of me? He still cares for me and takes an interest in my life? He still trusts me to take care of what is His? Why? It doesn’t make any sense!
    Why?
    Look back at the first five words of verse 5, “Yet You have made him”. Why does God care, why does He call us friend, why does He take an interest in us and think about us, why does He trust us to care for His creation, why did He make us over His creation? Because He made us. Not just made us, but He made us in His own image. He made us like Him in more ways than we can fathom.
    Whatever skills or talents we have, whatever wisdom or knowledge we have, whatever honor or glory we have, is because God has that skill, talent, wisdom, honor, and glory and He has given it to us.
    In fact, by going back to and ending with the sentence that David started with, “O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,” David is making the point through the whole Psalm that the only way we can become what we were created to be, the only way we can live up to our purpose and our design, created in God’s image…is if we join with David and say, “O God, who has always kept His promises, I will serve you, I will live for you, I will love you, I will listen to you, I will do what you ask me to do.”
    In fact, that’s the only way we can be friends with God. It’s the only way we can have a relationship with Him, the only way we can have a bond with Him. We have to believe Him when He said that the only way to Him is through Christ Jesus. We have to believe that Christ died to bring us back to the friendship that God wants us to have with Him. We have to accept the salvation that He offers us from our sins, from all the things that we do that we know don’t please God. We have to give Him our life, gladly, willingly. And then we have to live for Him. That’s how we become “friends” with God.

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