Daily Update #210

Today’s Readings:      Genesis 1:20-2:4.     Psalm 8.          Mark 7:1-15.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the world.” (Psalm 8:1, 9).

Today’s psalm is attributed to King David. It was described by that great commentator on the psalms, Derek Kidner, as “an unsurpassed example of what a hymn should be, celebrating as it does the glory of God, rehearsing who He is and what He has done, and relating us and our world to Him; all with a masterly economy of words, and in a spirit of mingled joy and awe.” Please read Psalm 8 now and enjoy it for yourself.

Psalm 8 begins with a reminder that God’s personal name, ‘Yahweh’, is “majestic.” It is magnificent because it reflects His holy character. He has chosen to reveal this to His people and, through Jesus, to the whole world. David proclaims that the moon and stars at night display the glory of the Creator. There is no reference to the sun as this is a night-time psalm. It poses the big question for each person who has ever lived:

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? (v3-4). David provides our answer when he then writes “You made him (man) a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet” (v5-6). So God has given us a major role within His amazing universe.

King David seems to be in God’s presence here. He is reflecting upon his experience as a young shepherd out in the fields at night with his flock of sheep. David has a deep sense of wonder about the Creator’s beautiful universe. He marvels that God should have given humankind such an important role in ruling over the earth (v6-8). Whenever we are struggling and feel far from God, we too can reflect on these truths. The wonders of creation stare us in the face. They are the most convincing evidence, apart from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, for the existence of our powerful and loving Creator. God loves and cares for each of us in spite of our unworthiness. Sadly, many would scoff at David’s insights and at his lifelong faith in our loving God.

Today the help-less and hope-less thinking of ‘the high priest of humanism’, the philosopher Bertrand Russell, still has a strong influence. He wrote ‘The life of man is a long march through the night surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach and where none may tarry long. One by one as they march our comrades vanish from our sight, seized by the silent orders of omnipotent death.” I shall spare you any more of this ultra gloomy ‘answer’ to King David’s big question “what is man?” but will pose three related questions:

How should we respond to such a desolate ‘creed’ in today’s world, without being trite or guilty of wishful thinking? What is the purpose of our lives? What are we here for? Well, Hebrews 2 contains a direct response to David’s question: “In putting everything under him (man), God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone”(v8-9). Jesus, the co-Creator of the universe, has dealt with our sin. He gives us life in all its fulness and is Himself the way to eternal life. His last words to the disciples were “Go and make disciples of all nations.. I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matt 28:19-20).  

Prayer for Today: Dear Father we praise you today for your wonderful world that we have been given to enjoy and to protect. We know that its created beauty reflects both your glory and your character. Thank you that we find the answers to all of life’s big questions in your Son, Jesus. Please help us not to lose sight of all this as we seek to rely each day upon your presence and your faithful love for us. Amen.  (Mike W.)