that I might know you as you are, and manifest the image of Christ in this world,
and the world to come. Amen.
As with most Psalms, I am immediately reminded of the musical version, in this case by Keith Green. I am also reminded of my DiaBlogue with Alan, where I brought up the concept of “divinity” as “ultimate self-existing reality.” While David probably wouldn’t use those terms, he is also interested in the question of the character (name) of God:
So, the first thing he asserts about God is that he is greater than the visible universe — no small thing!
My best guess is that the Psalmist is claiming God’s glory is so great that He can defeat His enemies merely by empowering the weak. Let’s see if that fits in with the rest.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
Hmm. Well, that fits in the idea of ‘babes and sucklings’, because in God’s eyes — compared to the vastness of the universe — we’re no more potent than that. Yet, despite all that, He has put us in charge:
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour
Specifically, we have dominion over:
Dang. That’s quite a lot of territory, especially considering that man had barely tamed bronze, never mind fossil fuels or genetics. But rather than exulting in man’s high estate, David returns all the praise to God:
O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth!
If I were to translate this Psalm as an argument, it seems to go something like:
Herein lies one of the great paradoxes of Christianity: on the one hand, we affirm that humans are in the image of God (Imago Dei), and thus the rightful rulers of creation. On the other hand, we recognize we are mere “babes and sucklings”, and totally unfit to act in God’s name. The amazing thing is that God knows all this, and chooses to use us anyway: giving us strength, and bringing forth praise.
God, I know that if I try to build my dominion on my own strength and wisdom, I will create a hell on earth. Yet I also know that if I deny my responsibility, that I will be letting hell win by default. Father, glorify your name! Teach me who you really are, in both your character and your power, that I may be unleashed to manifest your praise by the work of my hands, and to my tiny bit to help all creation enjoy the fulness of your image. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
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