Little Big Man ∙
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? – Psalms 8:3-4
1 I will sing of the LORD’s lovingkindness forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
2 Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.
5 All heaven will praise your great wonders, LORD; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.
6 For who in all of heaven can compare with the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD
7 The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.
8 O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O LORD? You are entirely faithful.
11 The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours – you created it all.
12 You created north and south.
Question: how big is the universe? No one knows! Theoretically, it could be infinitely large or only a tiny part of a multiverse.
The universe is all of space and time as we understand it today. We can’t measure what we can’t observe. But the observable universe is estimated to be 93 billion light-years in diameter.
The earliest universe models were geocentric, placing Earth at the center. Nicolaus Copernicus developed a heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the Solar System. Further observational improvements led to the realization that the Sun is one of the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, which is one of at least hundreds of billions of galaxies in the Universe.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that if the stars came out only once a century, people would stay up all night gazing at them.
King David was awed by the night sky 3000 years ago. It was immense and beautiful. Yet as he contemplated it, he realized it was but finger work for the Father. In other words, it took no effort but rather delicate design. Sculptors and painters use their fingers to do delicate and sensitive work. On the other hand, the stonemasons and builders of the colossal pyramids employed arduous, grueling, strenuous effort to create their massive achievements.
But the work required to create the vast universe and all that is was nothing for the Father.
Our attention should be drawn to the Creator, not the creation. That which is immense and perhaps immeasurable is small and insignificant compared to the One who made it. In 3000 years, our understanding of and appreciation for the vastness of our created universe has expanded remarkably. The planet Earth and people now seem even more inconsequential than ever.
So what of mere mortal human beings, the tiny, seemingly insignificant specs which we are? Mankind is tiny, puny. Why would the Father bother with us at all? Why does He invest His interest in and care for us?
This is one of the more important questions for people to consider and contemplate. To ask the question begs the answer.
REFLECT & PRAY
Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork.
Father taking time in our busy and harried world to view Your creation and contemplate it leaves me totally awed. Thank You for loving and caring for me.
The Lord God Almighty has revealed Himself to us as a compassionate and loving Father. The living God’s concern for people is driven by His fatherly compassion.
In 1962, Karl Barth, one of the most well-known modern Christian theologians, was asked to summarize the essence of all he had published. The answer was quick and startling: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
The vastness of the creation shows that I am little, and seemingly insignificant. Yet in the Father’s eyes, I am big. Indeed, in His sight, I am a Little Big Man! The Father did not need us, yet He created us from the dust of the earth. He designed a magnificent and wonderful world for us to live in. He cares and wants to take great delight in us.
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?
Notice that the psalmist writes, “what is man,” “not who is man?” Rather than using the customary Hebrew word for who, the writer uses the Hebrew word ma, which translates as what. “The resulting connotation is derisive: What are measly human beings . . .? If the psalm ended here, the implication would be that in light of God’s infinite glory, it is only with a scornful wonder that this world can see finite human beings” (Rolf and Tanner).
But the psalm does not end there. What appears to be a disdainful denigrating question draws our attention to the magnificence of the answer. Rather than being insignificant, people are created by the King just a little lower than heavenly beings.
Modern science sees humanity as being just a little higher than other animals. But the Father’s perspective is antithetically different. We are, instead, just a little lower than heavenly beings. On top of that, people are given glory and honor.
Each of us is personally cared for and loved by the King. Each of us is indeed a “Little Big Man.”
The Hebrew word translated as care is paqad. Paqad means to care for, be concerned for, take an interest in, take note of, or visit graciously. Paqad “is used in a great variety of ways; the basic idea is to look for what is missing, to worry about it, and to do something for it. Another translation can be ‘show concern.’ The verb is often used of God taking care of his people by going to them and acting on their behalf . . .” (UBS). Paqad is used over 300 times in the Old Testament. “At least half of the occurrences involve positive action by a superior in relation to his subordinates” TWOT).
The rhetorical question, What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalms 8:4) “eloquently expresses the psalmist’s wonder at God’s care for humankind. The two lines are exactly parallel, both making the same point in different ways” (UBS)
The more we learn about the vastness of the universe, the more impressive this question becomes. Although we are but a speck drifting in the immensity of the cosmos, God places His love and unwavering attention on us (Stanley).
He died on a piece of wood, yet He made the hill upon which it stood! (Hal Lindsey)