Whenever one finds oneself in a hopeless situation, and God seems slow to intervene, one may be tempted to think that God does not listen and that God does not care. King David knew that feeling all too well, as we see in many of his Psalms. But Psalm 8 is different.
Picture David in the wilderness, helpless and hopeless. Perhaps he was fleeing from the jealous king Saul who wanted to protect his throne from this young, valiant warrior. Or perhaps he was fleeing from his own son Absalom who hoped to position himself on David’s throne. Some of David’s most beautiful songs were written during these two periods as he passionately petitioned God for preservation and restoration to his place among God’s people.
Picture David praying to God with familiar phrases like “Save me from the hands of my enemies”, “how long, Lord…?”, and “have you forgotten me…?” He wants to know if God is mindful of him, and if God cares about him at all.
Then, suddenly he finds his prayers stilled as he is mesmerized by the clear desert nightlight, awestruck at the sheer size and serenity of the stars. He erupts in worship to the Creator of such a magnificent scene. “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens!” And now David prays differently.
|The awareness of the beauty and bigness of these star-studded heavens makes David feel small, insignificant. The stars seem constant, flawless, glorious. Yet David sees himself fragile, fallible, as fickle as dessert grass (Psalm 103:15).||Psalm 8
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?
|The stars are glorious, I am dust. Why would God even think about me, moreover care for me?|
|But as David reflects on the creation account (Gen 1-2), and recalls that although God had made the heavens to show his glory, mankind enjoys a privileged position in God’s heart, and therefore in His creation order. After all, only mankind was created in His image, just “a little lower” than the angels (Hebrew Elohim, a name for God the mighty Creator), and to receive authority to rule the earth.||Psalm 8
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the angels [Heb: Elohim] and crowned him with glory and honour.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…
Genesis 1:26,28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…”
God had chosen mankind to bear his glory, and to share in his rule. That’s why David confidently declares that even the smallest “babies and nursing infants” (verse 2) reflects the greatest glory of God, and would silence those who declare there is no God.
So David’s questions “God, are you mindful of me” and “God, do you care about me?” are satisfied in God’s creation and intent for mankind: yes, David, the Great Creator are mindful of you, and does care for you! He has made you like Himself to relate to you, and has shared his glory and his authority with you. Your fickleness and frailty does not change God’s attention on or affections towards you! You are created for His pleasure!
Looking to this prayer of David, 3000 years ago in the wilderness, New Testament believers have a special reading on it through the shadow of the cross. The questions “is God mindful of me?” and “does God care about me?” are answered affirmatively in the birth of Jesus Christ, who came to reveal the love of God. In his coming, this baby silenced the great Enemy and Avenger once for all. God’s loving concern and care is known in the incarnation and vicarious suffering of Jesus Christ our Lord. “In this the love of God is demonstrated for you…!” (Romans 5:18)
The next time you wonder whether God cares for you, gaze at the stars and remember that you are so much more glorious than that!