Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose Driven Life”, begins the first chapter of his book with these words: “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your wildest dreams & ambitions. . . . Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. The Bible says, “It is God who directs the life of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power.” (Job 12:10 TEV) When we get a clear understanding of God’s greatness, we will truly understand just how small we are.
God’s greatness is displayed in the majesty of His name
Have you looked up the meaning of your name? Or perhaps your name has a special meaning to you because you were given the name of someone who meant something to your parents. But when someone hears your name, do they instantly know who you are – your character and nature? Of course not! If they want to truly know you, then they have to spend time with you, learn about you, understand where you have been in life – your successes and failures.
God also wants us to truly know Him and so He reveals himself to us throughout Scripture through various names that identifies aspects of His character and nature. Each one of His names that we find in the Bible matter because attached to each name is a set of characteristics, promises, and meanings that show us who God is. The more we understand who God is, the more we see just how majestic is His name.
And in Psalm 8, we see the majesty and glory of our Creator. The Psalm is full of the glory and grace of God. It rehearses how great God is in his character and in his achievements, and how God is in involved in our world. His name is majestic because he set the sun, moon, and stars in place. His name is majestic because God is the designer and creator of every living thing. And because His name is majestic, we praise him with our lips.
God’s Greatness displayed in the heavens
David says, “They are your heavens.” They do not belong to themselves; they are not simply a part of space. They are yours, O Lord! The heavens be long to God by right of creation. The very fingers of God made them.
David uses this these attributions of creation to remind us that the Lord is a personal God, and that he was intimately involved in the creation of the moon and the stars. He set them in place. He designed them and so you would expect to see evidences of his handiwork everywhere, and we do. Consider the following:
The distance of the earth from the sun
Consider the way God fixed the exact distance of the earth from the sun; it is just the distance it must be to support life. If the earth were further from the sun, the planet would be too cool for a stable water cycle. If the earth were closer to the sun, the planet would be too hot for a stable water cycle. We are alive today because of that.
The air we breathe
The air we are breathing at this moment has the correct mixture of gases: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, .93% Argon, .035% carbon dioxide and .035% other gases. If the atmosphere had 25% oxygen or more, spontaneous fires would break out because oxygen encourages flammability. Or, if the atmosphere had 15% oxygen or less, we would suffocate. If the atmosphere had more carbon dioxide, the earth would become warmer. If the atmosphere had less carbon dioxide, plants would starve.
The tilt of Earth’s axis
Or again consider the tilt of earth’s axis (23.5 degrees) which gives us our moderate seasons. If the tilt was greater – for example, Uranus has a 98 degree tilt – such a tilt on earth would cause periodic continental flooding and long periods of darkness. If the earth’s tilt were less – for example, the planet Venus has no tilt then that lack of tilt would cause equatorial areas to grow much hotter and the ice caps to expand.
The location of the moon
Again the proximity of the moon is exactly where it should be. If it were a fifth of the distance away, tides would completely submerge continents twice a day. If there were no moon, the earth would wobble, as the planet Mars wobbles. The moon stabilizes the earth like earth’s anchor.
The rate of the earth’s rotation is exactly right. If it were a tenth of the present rate, plant life would burn during the day and freeze at night. If it were faster, wind velocities would rise to catastrophic levels. For example, the planet Jupiter has a 10-hour rotation period and thousand mph winds.
The Earth’s crust
The thickness of the earth’s crust is correct. If the crust were thicker, or thinner the oxygen content would either be too small or too great. If the crust were thinner, volcanic and tectonic activity would be tumultuous. The atheist says that that is just a matter of luck,
The water vapor level in the atmosphere is exactly as it has to be. If the water vapor level were greater, a runaway greenhouse effect would develop. If water vapor level were less, rainfall would be too meagre for advanced life on the land.
The color of the sun
The color of the sun is correct. If the sun were more red, the photosynthetic response would be insufficient. If the sun were more blue, the photosynthetic response would be insufficient.
The Force of gravity
The force of gravity is exactly right. If this constant force were just a bit stronger or weaker, we wouldn’t have life as we know it. This is because the existence of stars depends on the gravitational constant, and without stars, there would obviously be no sun, no light, and no heat.
The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. If this speed were a little more or less, then the stars would be either too bright or too dim, and life as we know it would be greatly altered.
God’s Greatness displayed in the stars
Our earth is dwarfed by the size of four of the other planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, which are all gas giants. Neptune is in fact 318 times bigger than planet earth, and yet it is not Neptune but the earth that is the focus of God’s attention.
Then there is our sun which is a part of great galaxy of similar suns, and this galaxy is called, of course, the Milky Way. Nobody knows how many stars or suns there are in the Milky Way; estimates range from sixty billion to perhaps four hundred billion stars in the Milky Way.
The Hubble telescope has so far detected 80 billion other galaxies in the universe. So the number of planets in the universe is like the grains of sand on the seashore. My heavenly Father made them all. So, God’s name is majestic because he made the earth, the moon, the sun and the heavens.
What is man that you are mindful of him?
I can almost see David laying outside in the grass on a hillside outside of Bethlehem as he stares up into a bright starry sky, gazing up at the bright, big moon, and contemplating the majesty of God and the wonder of His creation. As a result, his heart is filled with the wonder of it all and he breaks out in song, picks up his harp and begins to sing Psalm 8.
Our smallness in the vast expanse of God’s universe
As David looked up at the vastness of God’s universe, he felt his own smallness. So he asks God, “What is man that you are mindful of him… that You care about him?” Why would God care about us? Because He created us in His image. That doesn’t mean we look like Him, but that we think like Him. We can make decision like He does and we are responsible for the decisions we make. We are capable of love. God gave us the ability to hate the things that He hates. Being made in His image means we are like mirrors of God Himself because God created us in His own image. And, therefore, we are the objects of His everlasting love. So, we are always on His mind.
We are always on the mind of God
I don’t know about you, but when I think about the fact that I am the object of God’s love and I am always on his mind, that’s something to get excited about. The God who so perfectly designed, created, and aligned the universe also created me – in His image – and He is mindful of me. He knows every single thing that happens in my life. He knows my every need. God knows when I am overwhelmed, exhausted, and in need of His strength. He knows when I cry or laugh. He knows the answer to every problem. God is never caught off guard or by surprised by the events of my life and He always has a plan and purpose that is meant for my good.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
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