May 22, 2022
• Rev. Dr. Jevon Caldwell-Gross
David opens this Psalm with a strong declaration about God. In fact Psalm 8 is really an act of praise. Listen to these words again, O lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”The writer is giving us his unbridled, unfiltered declaration about his impression of God. It’s a public affirmation and admission to God about how great, awesome, powerful, and regal God has been.
God is not just majestic, but there is nothing that even rivals the greatness of God. For the psalmist, God is in a class all by God's self. Listen to the words again,“how majestic is your name…..in all the earth.”God has no equals. There are no other names that even compare to the majesty of God. However, with this act of praise, it's the reasons or evidence to this majesty that draws our attention today.
What is it that helps the psalmist draw these conclusions about God? What has he seen? What has he experienced? What miracles has he witnessed?Is there something that has happened in his personal life that has caused him to see God in such a way?
Considering King David’s life, we might make a few assumptions about why he thinks this God of his so great.(just bear with me for moment). David could have said, God, you are great because you helped me defeat a Philistine giant that struck fear into an entire army. That would be a reasonable response, but that’s not it. He could have said, God, you are magnificent because you took the youngest son from an average family and raised him to be king over all of Israel. Surely that would be a reason the praise God. But that’s not the case in psalm 8.
David could have mentioned the time God delivered him from a jealous King Saul.David could have alluded to the many battles that he fought when the Lord was on his side.Surely, he could he could have made mentioned of the time he survived the scandal of sleeping with Bathsheeba and trying to cover it up by sending her husband to the front lines to be killed! Anyone of these would be sufficient reasons to illicit such extravagant declarations of praise.
In fact, what would be your reason today? There’s no right or wrong answer.Write a few answers down if you are taking notes.Write a few answers into the chat if you are worshipping with us online.those are not the reasons that he gives.He hints to these experiences in some of the other psalms that he writes, but none of those are the reasons that he gives.
Point 1 - But David is awe struck by the power and magnificence of God when he takes notice of Gods creation.Creation becomes a window into the character and creativity of God. We see God through the created world.(Slide).David gets a glimpse of who God is when he considers the things that God has created.When David looks at the sky.When he look at the moon and stars, he can’t help but be overwhelmed by a God that creates in such extravagant ways.
David is making this claim long before they had telescopes and modern technology. He has no knowledge of galaxies and solar systems. He has no knowledge of atoms or period tables.And yet, when he considers the skies. When he sees God's handiwork with how the moon and stars have been set in place. When he takes time to notice the intentional ways that God has miraculously created the world, it blows his mind! He’s in awe of what God can do.
When was the last time you took notice of the world around you? There is no way you can be in presence of creation and not be in awe.
- The Earth travels through space at 67,000 mph. This means that you’re 67,000 miles farther away than you were an hour ago. Think of that the next time you feel like there's nothing happening in your life.
- The sun is over 100 times the diameter of the earth. If it were hollow, it could hold over 1 million earths.
- The closest galaxy to the milky way is 2.6 million light years away.
- The ocean is home to nearly 95 percent of all of life.
- There are about 3 trillion trees on each. That means there are approximately 422 trees for each person.
- When an elephant stomps its feet, the vibrations can travel 20 miles through the ground.
- An eagles can see something the size of a rabbit up to 3 miles away.
The strong animal for its size is what
a. The ant
c. Dung beetle
An and the answer is the dung beetle. It is able to pull 1,141 times its own body weight. It's equivalent to 150-pound person lifting 6 full double-decker buses!
How does God even come up with this stuff?! And yet, we often convince ourselves of the difficulties of finding and seeing God. Our own lives are great place to look for God, but it's not the only place. God is all around us. When you mow the grass, God is around you. With every breath that you breath, God is around you. When you feel the sun beating down on you in the summertime. When it randomly rains in the middle of the day when it wasn’t supposed to, that’s God. God is in the sound of every bird. God is the shape of every cloud. God is all-around us.
When was the last time you took notice of the world around you? There is no way you can be in presence of creation and not be in awe.
Point 2 - David arrives at a dilemma in verses 3–4 that few Christians consider.He is stunned by the beauty and vastness of God's world.
Creation not only gives a a glimpse into the character and nature of God, but it gave David (and us) a perspective of who we are. (Slide)
Here’s what David notices when considering the expansiveness of God’s creation. David thinks about all this and says, “Who am I, that you, the creator of the world are mindful of someone like me.”David, the King over all of Israel feels small and insignificant. Creation humbles us. It reminds us that what God is doing is so much bigger than what we can see. God is bigger than our denomination differences. God is bigger than our worst day.
The expansiveness of creation reminds us of just how small we really are. But here’s where hope start to find its way in. The smallness of humanity hints at the expansiveness of not only God’s creation, but also God’s love. It shows us just how gracious God really is toward us.
When the last time you thought about a blade of grass? When was the last time you introduced yourself to the birds outside of your window. I ask these questions in jest, simply to point out the natural inclination for forgetting the things we find insignificant. They don’t take up space in our lives. They certainly don’t take up space in our minds. Here today and gone tomorrow. Our minds have a natural way of filtering out those things and people that we deem to be important in our lives.
And yet, God creates entire galaxies but still listens to each of our prayers. (who is this God is still mindful of us?) God creates out of nothing and still attends to our every need. God orders the universe and still directs our paths. God watches over entire galaxies and still watches over us. God has so many other things to attend to and yet makes a conscious decision to listen to the smallest concern that we have.
So let's put this into perspective. If God can keep the cosmos together, surely God can handle any and everything that we bring to God. If God can figure out how to all of this out of nothing, God is not intimidated or overwhelmed by what we experience on a day-to-day basis. God loves us, cares for us, meets us, hears us, blesses us, cries for us, deliver us even in our smallness. And yet with an acknowledgment of his smallness come a realization that this same God is mindful of him.
David is not just overwhelmed that God cares, but God has also given humanity a role and responsibility for caring for what God creates.(Slide)We play a significant role in the universe. God creates all of this wonder. We get a glimpse of God through creation. We stand in awe at God's creation. And then God does something crazy. God leaves us in charge. Think about that for a moment.
The creator of the universe meticulously creates with precision, intentionality, and unexplainable creativity and then leaves it in our care.We are the stewards to Gods creation.It started right in Genesis…
“Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.(CE)”
29(Then God said), “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.(CF)30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life(CG) in it—I give every green plant for food.
Here’s the extension of God's grace. We have done nothing to earn such responsibilities. God creates with wonder and leaves it in our hands. That’s a lot of trust and responsibility. What makes us so qualified? There was not job interview for this. There was no form we filled out. There was no class we took. Some of us have hard times just watering plants regularly, let alone caring for an entire ecosystem. We have done nothing to be worthy of this role. I've learned that Faith is not just learning how to trust God, but learning how to do better with the things that God has entrusted to us. It’s not just believing in God, but recognizing where God believes in us. It's admitting we don’t deserve the roles or responsibilities.
Here’s where we err. Here’s where the problem exists. So here’s the irony. The people trusted to care for creation have become its greatest threat. (Slide)We are the greatest threats to God's creation. The caretakers have become the undertakers. How can we say we love God and not care for or protect what God creates?
- Every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum in the landfills to build our nation’s entire commercial air fleet.
- 78% of marine mammals are at risk of choking on plastic or accidental deaths such as getting caught in fishing nets. For example, Plastic bags and other plastic garbage that end up in the ocean kill over 1,000,000 sea animals every year.
- Americans are the world’s number one trash-producing nation, accounting for 30% of the world’s waste despite only having 5% of the world’s population.
- The use of fossil fuels (such as oil and coal) results in large amounts of carbon dioxide into the air- threatening the extinction of thousands of species
- Every year, the list of endangered species grows and grows.
When you consider what humanity has done to each other and the world, it is mind-boggling that God would allow us to receive such grace. When you consider the ways we have fought each other, invaded other nations, and completely stripped other countries of resources that God has created. People, the caretakers of the creation, have died over control of what God has created. Cultures have been decimated over things that we didn’t even create. (as if we owned them!!) We reversed the roles and make creation to feel as though it is the one that was small and insignificant.
Loving God also means loving and protecting what God has created. Listen to the things that we protect. We have alarms on our home because we deem them to be valuable.There are companies that get paid billions of dollars because they protect your online information. Why? Because it holds valuable information.We put screen protectors on our phone because we deem then to be valuable. We protect our children. We protect our money. We protect our homes.We protect our reputations. We protect everything that we deem to be valuable. The psalmist sees the value in what has been created, but he sees it as an extension of a God that creates.
It’s a commitment that we have made as a church. Part of our work in justice includes the environment. St. Lukes's is 100 percent green electric. This means that 100 percent of our electric energy comes from renewable energy and we are no longer dependent on coal. We protect what we need to be valuable.
If you’ve ever been to dinner here or weds night live, you all tons of people afterward washing dishes! It's because we have moved away from single-use items. It's just a small way we have decided to love and honor God through our commitment to God's creation.
God is at already in creation.
It’s not a lack of knowledge but a disconnect between the creation and the creator. It is our failure to see the creator in the creation.Let’s take a test.Who created these things?
1. Amazon(pic of logo) – Jeff Besos slide
2. Apple(pic of logo) – Steve Jobs
3. Stop Light (Garret A. Morgan)
4. Disney (Walt Disney)
5. Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg)
6. Tesla (Elon Musk)
Thank you for proving my point. It’s hard to separate the creation from the creators. Its almost impossible. We cant separate God from God’s creation.
1. God is already at work. This means that every day God is at work. If you ever doubt, just remember this. Right from the start of the Bible we see God as many things, but we first see God as a creator. So our job as people created in God's image is to join in where God is already at work. That's at the heart of creation care. It’s not just protecting the environment from ourselves, but it’s participating in the work God is already doing. The job of every believer is to find out where God is and follow. It’s to find where God is already present and join in. Here's something that might help you. Here’s the QR code. We have created a list of resources to help you join in what God is already doing in creation. Or go to stlukesumc.com/care you can get the download from there as well. Maybe choose a few things from this and commit to them. You can do it all but each of us can do something. Here’s where God is already present.
We see God through the creates the world. When the earth is threatened, so too is an expression of God's identify or fingerprint in the world. We miss part of God's image when we don’t do our roles or play our parts. The first thing the psalm did was simply take notice. And just by taking notice David says, O lord, O lord, how majestic is your name in all the Earth! There is hope for us yet.