Welcome to Welling for your spiritual health and spiritual growth.
The fictional consulting detective Sherlock Holmes goes on a camping trip with his faithful friend and sidekick, Dr. Watson. They set up their tent. They fall asleep. And some hours later, Holmes asks his friend, wakes him up and says, “Hey, Watson, look up at the sky. Tell me what you see.”
Watson replies, “I see millions of stars.” Holmes says, “What does that tell you?” He says, “Astronomically speaking, Sherlock Holmes, I see the potential for billions of galaxies and millions of planets. Astrologically speaking, I see that Saturn is in Leo. Timewise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three; meteorologically, it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?”
Holmes is silent for a moment, and then he speaks. He says, “Watson, you idiot. Someone has stolen our tent.”
Today, I’m going to ask you to lift your eyes beyond what you see to what does it tell you?
WE ARE IN A SERIES ON MISSION: Why. The last time we talked about the mission of mission. Today I speak about Mission: Why Not. Since you are a human being, there is nothing which is going to answer that question better than looking at what Psalm 8 talks about the status of the human race in relationship to the rest of creation. And at the end of it, you’re going to say, “Why not conclude with the psalmist?”
Humanity is very small in size. We are inconsequential in age. We are very short-lived and seemingly irrelevant. But your identity as a human being is critically important within the range of the constituents of reality. Your place is instrumental. And why not you bring what God deserves?
All creation already reflects God’s glory, but humans must radiate God’s glory. Except we’re not good candidates. We would rather not give God glory. So the psalmist, from verses 3 to 8, sets what we call a Hebrew anthropology: A doctrine of the human being.
It is important at a time when the very essence of humanity is being questioned and compromised as simply one among many in decentralizing humanity now that we have decentralized God, and I will talk about it in the next sessions.
The psalmist, verses 3 and 4, answers a question. What is man? What is man, that You’re mindful of him in the context? Look at verse 3, compared to the rest of creation, we are insignificant. He says, “When I look up at the heavens, I consider Your heavens, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place.”
So the psalmist, King David, goes out on his porch, upstairs veranda, looks up at the sky, and he says, “I consider Your heavens.” It’s a beautiful way for him to relax after a day. He starts counting the stars, maybe lays on his back in his easy chair, and with the naked eye you can count up to 4,000 stars. And he starts observing patterns in what may be called pre-scientific astronomy.
The Bible does not have an anti-scientific astronomy or a scientific astronomy; it’s pre-scientific. And I want to make a case that almost all astronomy is pre-scientific because we are never, never going to catch up with everything that has been set in place and put in motion by God Himself.
A couple of things. The psalmist notices, 1) There’s regularity in the universe. The sun rises and sets regularly. So, the moon and the stars. Theoretical physicists have constantly revised one another’s positions.
All of you know about Newtonian physics, or classical physics, revised by Einsteinian physics, and now that’s being called to question, or some people think, in continuity, even in senselessness, by quantum physics. You may have heard of the theoretical physicist who developed a theory about space, and it was about time, too.
So, the psalmist observes regularity, but he also observes uniformity. The sun not only rose every day, but rises in the same place in the east every day and sets in the west. The moon today is not red; tomorrow, green; the next day, purple, randomly.
Thrilled with this observation–these two laws, regularity and uniformity, by the way, are nonscientific assumptions of all scientific enterprise–the psalmist points us to the owner, the maker, the ruler of all creation.
He says, “These are Your (owner) these are Your heavens. The work (He’s the maker) the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place (He’s the ruler).”
God made them. The LORD Lord owns them. The LORD Lord holds them and rules them.
What do you make out of that? What does it tell you? What does it tell me? We idiots. Well, he says, this is God’s finger-work.
I want you to imagine God. God is the ultimate prodigy. You can extrapolate into infinity and all this is God’s finger-work. With joy and sport He threw everything into place, almost like my grandson plays with his Lego blocks. It was great joy to him.
Creation was simple and easy for God. Finger-work means, in the Bible, that God was speaking. The Ten Commandments were written by the finger of God. Every time “the work of Your fingers” appears in scripture, it’s God’s speaking, God’s revelation. In Daniel 5, we see the handwriting of God on the wall. In Luke 11, the opponents of Jesus said, “Oh, He casts out demons.” And Jesus says He drives them out by the finger of God.
But humans are hardheaded. God pursues every potential way to get the message through so that it will ask us the question, “You idiots, what does that tell you? Doesn’t it tell you that it’s easy for Me to do all this?”
The psalmist was willing to become wise. But he goes beyond just seeing, to knowing, to wisdom. He is in contrast to the rest of creation.
In comparison to the great universe, what is man, verse 4, that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You take thought of him. What is this thing called man? Yeah, Your work is amazing. It’s big, it’s large, it’s long but weak, mortal man–You pay attention to him? This humanity, which doesn’t last very long, this humanity, which doesn’t grow very big. This little, dainty, midget-size idiots. You still pay thought and attention and care to the Lilliputian being.
That’s because you are something special. You are immensely valuable, infinitely so. You must be something because God cares for you. You must be something unique for God cares for you. Therefore, you must be and become something.
God cares for you. Think through the real life implications of a conceptual change. If God doesn’t care for you and He can’t care for you, there is no ultimate point in living. And if there’s no ultimate point in living, there’s no ulterior purpose for living. And if there is no ulterior purpose for a living, there is no necessary meaning to life. And if there is no meaning to life, there is no true life, only existence exists.
But, if there is a God who cares for you, there is ultimate purpose, ultimate meaning, necessary points by which you can glorify God. God cares. You are greatly valuable. He sent His irreplaceable Son for you. He bought you at an infinite price so that you could glorify God with your whole being.
Why not? Why not? What does it tell you? It tells you that midget man is majestic man in view and in purpose. For you can bring praise and honor and glory to God.