As a classroom teacher and as a minister I enjoy asking and answering questions. Questions often make us study and push ourselves even harder to find the answer. The Bible is full of questions that are worthy of consideration. In Psalm 8, there is a thought provoking question that provokes deep thinking. The Psalmist said in Psalm 8:4, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” In this article, we are going to look at that question in detail.
Psalm 8 is a psalm that deals with the greatness of God. David began by proclaiming in verse one that God’s name is excellent in all the earth. He reminds us that God’s glory is above the heavens. We sometimes need reminding about how marvelous our Father is, especially when the world makes it a habit to try to deny his existence or to tear his name down.
“What is man, that you are mindful of him?” Who am I compared to God? Compared to God, I am a nobody and insignificant. While this might sound like I am putting myself down, it is true. God is the creator of everything and is omnipotent. I do not have such power. God is all knowing, yet my knowledge is limited. I heard James Watkins say one time that he was limited by ignorance. What he meant was that he did not know everything even at his age. God is all present, but I cannot be everywhere at once. There are qualities that God has that I do not have and I am fine with that. However, while we are frail and weak compared to God we are still have been given significance by God.
How has God been mindful of man? Even though mankind is insignificant compared to our Creator, God has been mindful of man by giving man a great amount of significance. God made us lower than the angels and has crowned us with glory and honor. God has made us to have dominion over all other things that God has created. We are superior to the animals, to the trees and plants and all of the beautiful things God has created. Much could be said about how the world tries to put plants and animals on the same level of humans, yet God has clearly set mankind above all others in the realm of creation. Jesus mentioned that God has fed the sparrows, yet aren’t we much more than they are? (Matt 6:26) God has clothed the fields even more beautiful than Solomon in his finest garments (Matt 6:28-30). God has always viewed his people as being significant. The human race is so valuable to God, so much so that it has caused him much sorrow to see the wickedness that mankind has gotten into over the ages. Genesis tells us that God repented (regretted) that he had even made man at one point because of how wicked the people had become (Gen. 6).
Throughout the Old Testament, we read about God becoming disheartened with his people to the point that he would have them delivered into the hands of various enemies and principalities. Why would God do such a thing? Why would God allow his children to be punished and enslaved by heathen nations? He did so because he loved his children enough that he wanted them to come to their senses and repent! He viewed his people as significant enough to bring them to their knees to drive home the importance of repentance.
The greatest way in which God has been mindful of man is that he loved man enough to bring forth a savior to redeem all of humanity from its iniquities. One of my favorite lessons to teach my students in my Bible classes at school are the numerous prophecies about Jesus that were prophesied in the Old Testament and then fulfilled in the New Testament. As one student put it, “ God sure wanted people to know about his Son”. When the Devil convinced Eve who then convinced Adam to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, sin entered the world and since that time we all have struggled and wrestled with the stain of sin (Gen. 3:1-6). Yet in that very same chapter, God promised Satan that from the seed of woman would come One who would be stronger than him and his evil ways (3:15). When the time was right, as the KJV says the “fulness of time was come.” God sent his Son to fulfill his eternal purpose (Gal. 4:4).
In Hebrews 2:6-9, we see wording that is similar to that which is mentioned back in Psalm 8. Notice verse 9: “But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour: that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Jesus came to earth, was made a little lower than the angels (cf. Ps. 8:5), lived and ministered, and then suffered and tasted death for every man. God allowed his Son to visit the earth and face the ultimate sacrifice because God views us as significant. We do not deserve salvation, but God through his grace wants us to be saved.
I am a child of God. How excellent is his name in all the earth! Thanks be to God for the victory we have in Jesus!
Drew is the preacher at the Corinth Church of Christ in Rock Island, TN. He also teaches History, Government, and Middle & High School Bible at Boyd Christian School in McMinnville, TN.