Psalm 8, as we have already seen, is a wonderful song of praise to God. In it there are answers to some questions that have piqued the interest of humankind since its creation. Last time we looked at the first of those questions, “Who is God?” In this second installment we will look at the second question answered for us. That question is “What is the Universe?”
This second question is answered in the process of asking the third one which is, “What is man?” As the psalmist prepares to pose this question, he does so in the context of the heavens, which he refers to as the moon and the stars. That is where we will camp out for our study today.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
The Psalmist, having started with God Himself, sees all things in a God-centric way. The heavens are referred to as “Your heavens.” They belong to God because they are “the work of Your fingers.” This is an anthropomorphism, because God is Spirit and has no fingers. Yet it is a clear statement that God is the maker of the universe - the heavens, the moon and the stars.
When we turn to Genesis and the creation of the universe and all that is in it, we see that God spoke and the world came to be. The book of Hebrews reiterates this point when we read there the following:
By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. Hebrews 11:3
God made this universe by the authority and power of His word and His command. He created it out of nothing, using no previously known substances. It exists because of His command and His will and desire. The psalmist refers to the “moon and the stars, which You have ordained.” The word “ordain” here means to place and set up, so we see that God has not only made all things - but the place where they are set in the scope and expanse of the universe is His design and handiwork. Another word that should interest us is the word “heavens” which is plural. The idea communicated by the Hebrew here is that the heavens themselves are beyond our ability to see. With the deployment of space telescopes like the Hubble Telescope and the future James Webb Space Telescope we have been and will be able to see deep into the heavens. It seems that the same desire that the psalmist had still exists in the mind of humankind. The only difference is that the psalmist approached such things with a holy awe - modern scientific man has decided there is no God and contemplates his existence on that basis.
The psalmist considered the heavens. The word used here means to see something - but also came to mean the process of mental observation and the thinking that was stimulated by it. It is clear, as stated earlier, that the psalmist is God-centric in his thinking. It is His heavens. God made it and we are simply His creation in the midst of it. The psalmists considerations did not produce the arrogance of the current day which denies God - opting instead for blind chance to have led to all that we see and are. His considerations produced humility in his heart. He looked at a vastness in the heavens and began to see how small and insignificant he was in it. Since God created all that there is - and since His splendor is beyond the heavens themselves - the psalmist could only bow in worship and adoration of a God so great and powerful. His response was to wonder at God Who has revealed Himself to us. The creation itself sings His praises - speaking of His greatness, His creativity, His power, His majesty, His glory, and a trillion other worthy things that only touch the fringe of Who He is. Such considerations do not lead the psalmist to think great thoughts of himself, but rather puts him in his place as a tiny, minuscule piece of a universe filled with the moon and the stars.
Our knowledge that we’ve gathered today should render us even more amazed at the glory and majesty of our God. We think we know so much more than the primitive man who wrote these glorious words. But our combined knowledge of the universe is such a mere pittance of what can be known. Even our telescopes are blind to certain segments of the universe and cannot even see them. We don’t even know the first part of the small blue orb on which we travel through the heavens. But our knowledge has led us to lift ourselves up - at least enough to deny the existence of our God. We have become educated enough to become fools, exchanging the glory of the incorruptible God for an image of our own making and thinking. We are not humbled or thankful - giving praise to the One Who made all this with His infinite wisdom and power. We even are arrogant enough to reject His ultimate revelation of Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, the God Man. Precious few are those who have taken their knowledge and used it to humble themselves in the sight of God. When I consider such things I have to wonder just who is the primitive one and who is the wise man.
The answer to the question, “What is the Universe” is simple. It is His heavens - His moon - His stars. It is the creation of God which when considered in its vastness and glorious majesty should cause us to humble ourselves and wonder why our God would choose to reveal Himself to such sinful, arrogant, and prideful people. The heavens are declaring the glory of God each and every day. The contemplation of them was meant to make us bow before their Creator in humble, self-effacing worship. What about you? When you consider the heavens, the moon and the stars of the universe, what is your response? Do you worship the pride and arrogance of man who sees it all as a random accident - and who then decides he has no one to thank - no one to worship - except himself and his own desires? Or . . . do you see the glorious design - the powerful hand - the infinite wisdom of the God Who made it all - AND - Who for some unimaginable reason has chosen to reveal Himself and His great love for you in this midst of it?