H.B. Charles Jr.: Made in His Image

January 5, 2020 posted by


From the book of Psalms, I had said earlier
that I had two assignments. And I wanted in both talks that I’m assigned to address a
slice of those very large subjects, and to do that by an exposition of God’s Word. I
want to do that again as we discuss creation of man and the nature and dignity of man.
Let me pray first, and then we’ll hear the reading of God’s Word. Father, we do thank You again for the privilege
of worshiping you around Your Word. We ask that You would help us to lay aside all filthiness
and rampant wickedness that we may receive with gentleness the implanted Word that is
able to save our souls. And then help us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only.
I pray for physical strength and spiritual energy to speak Your Word with faithfulness,
clarity, authority, passion, wisdom, humility, and freedom. And we pray that as the seed
of the Word is planted and watered, You would make it grow to Your glory. Amen. Psalm 8: “To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith.
A Psalm of David. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name
in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies
and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and
the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your
fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are
mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than
the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over
the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever
passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name
in all the earth!” Amen. Psalm 8 is the first song of praise in the
Psalter. Psalms 1 and 2, which read like wisdom literature, are the double doors into the
Psalms. Psalms 3 through 7 are filled with lament as David cries out to the Lord for
deliverance from his troubles. This sense of complaint resumes in Psalm 9 and the following
psalms. But Psalm 8 is total praise. From start to finish, this psalm celebrates the
majesty of God. The heading of the psalm, the ascription, the title of the psalm above
verse 1 reads, “To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.” David wrote this psalm of praise. Gittith
may be the musical tune it was to be sung to, we are not sure. It is addressed to the
choirmaster to be used in corporate worship. Here is the standard of what a hymn of praise
should be. No wonder, contemporary worship songs lift lines from this psalm. Yet too
many of them fall short of the depth, beauty, and eloquence of this psalm. C. S. Lewis rightly
calls it “a short, exquisite lyric.” Psalm 8 is simply a celebration of the majesty of
God. God’s majesty is seen here through the lens of creation. In fact, Psalm 8 is the
first of five so-called “nature psalms,” which include Psalms 19, 29, 104, and 148. In verse 3 of this psalm, God’s majesty is
put on display in the creation of the moon and stars. In verses 6 to 8, God’s majesty
is put on display in the creation of the birds of the air and the animals of the earth and
the fish under the waters. But Psalm 8 does not limit the majesty of God to what you can
see through a telescope. God’s majesty can also be seen when you look in a mirror. Psalm
8 is not just about the majesty of God; it is also about the dignity of man. But this
psalm is no poetic selfie. The dignity of man is presented here as further evidence
of the majesty of God. This is the message of Psalm 8. All of creation is a call to worship the greatness
and goodness of God. Verse 4 asks, “What is man?” This question has baffled the greatest
scientists, philosophers, and theologians. But the simple truth is that you cannot answer
the question “What is man?” until you answer the question “Who is God?” And to know God
is to worship His majesty. We celebrate the majesty of God because God is great and God
is good. I’m a little embarrassed. This is a theology conference, and I want to walk
you through Psalm 8, but those are the headings and I stole them from one of the prayers I
learned to pray at dinner as a child, “God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for
this food.” But that truly is the message of Psalm 8,
“God is great” and “God is good.” Consider both truths with me in Psalm 8. First, “God
is Great.” Psalm 8 begins and ends with a shout of praise and adoration to God. “O LORD,
our Lord, how majestic is your name in all of the earth!” This doxology is more detailed
in the opening of the Psalm than at the conclusion. Verses 1 and 2 declare the praise of God’s
greatness and the paradox of God’s greatness. First, we see the praise of God’s greatness.
That’s verse 1 that declares that God is great on the earth and in the heavens. God is great
on the earth. Verse 1 says, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! In Scripture, one’s name is more than a means
of identification. It reveals a person’s ways or nature or character. So it is with God.
Exodus 20 verse 7 commands: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
For the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” David here seeks
to obey this divine command and how he addresses God in this psalm, “O LORD, our Lord.” The
children of Israel avoided using the personal name of God, Yahweh, the self-existent One.
They called God Adonai, the sovereign One. Even that name was treated reverently. But notice David was so consumed with the
greatness of God, that he used both names, “O Yahweh, our Adonai.” This invocation is
a statement of faith. It acknowledged there is only one God, “O Lord.” This true and living
God is the God of Israel, “our Lord.” This is no tribal God, whose worship is limited
to a particular people group. “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the
earth.” The name of the Lord is majestic, excellent, splendorous, brilliant, and magnificent. “Majesty” and “glory” are parallel terms with
subtle distinction. “Glory” is the greatness of God’s essential nature. “Majesty” is the
open display of God’s nature. The open display of God’s glory revealed in His name is so
great that it cannot be limited or localized. God’s name is majestic in all the earth. Psalm
100 verses 1 and 2, “Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with
gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” God is great on the earth, but then God is
great in the heavens. Verse 1 ends, “You have set your glory above the heavens.” The glory
is not merely an attribute of God. It’s the sum total of all of the attributes of God.
It’s the light of His nature. It’s the weight of His character. We ascribe glory to God,
but the glory of God is inherent. God is not glorious because we praise Him. God is glorious
because God is God. To make sure that we don’t confuse human greatness with divine glory,
the Lord has set his glory above the heavens. 1 Kings chapter 8 verse 27, Solomon prayed
over the temple he erected, “Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the
highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” Solomon
rightly acknowledged that nothing we do is good enough to reflect the greatness of God.
Some people object to joyful thanks, passionate praise, and uninhibited worship, claiming
that it doesn’t take all that, but nothing we offer God can be enough, much less too
much for God whose glory is set above the heavens. James Montgomery Boice comments here, “If
God has set His glory above the heavens, it is certain that nothing under the heavens
can praise Him adequately.” God is worthy of the best we have. Psalm 145 verse 3, “Great
is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” If He was
an average God, average praise would be okay. If He was a mediocre God, mediocre praise
would be acceptable. But great is the Lord, greatly to be praised, and His greatness is
unsearchable. After the praise of God’s greatness in verse
1, notice the paradox of God’s greatness in verse 2. “Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.”
This verse is often referenced when a little child says something insightful, but it’s
about more than precocious children. The verse is declaring the greatness of God as seen
in the paradox between strength and weakness. And the contrast between strength and weakness
is presented against the backdrop of opposition to God. Notice the fact of spiritual opposition.
There is much talk about enemies in the psalms that precede and follow Psalm 8. And they
show up in this psalm, but with a twist. Notice, David is concerned about God’s enemies here
rather than his own. Verse 2 says the Lord has foes, and they are further described as
“the enemy and the avenger.” Read it either way you want to, as a reference to Satan and
demonic forces or to some human king whose armies attacked the people of God on earth.
But whether these foes are human or spirit beings, the strategy is the same. The enemies
of God foolishly use their power, might, and strength to overthrow God, but it never works. Psalm 2 verses 1 and 2, “Why do the nations
rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers
of the earth take counsel together, against the LORD and his anointed, ” Psalm 2 verse
3 saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” I can’t
linger there, and I have got a ways to go in my own psalm, but mark Psalm 2 for reading
in the private chambers of your own praying ground. That’s the problem with society today.
Humanity is in rebellion against God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Make sure you read Psalm
2 verse 4 though, “He that sits in the heaven laughs.” This is what we find in verse 2 of our psalm,
the failure of spiritual opposition. “Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have
established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.” God stills
the enemy and avenger, but notice how God defeats His foes. God establishes strength
out of the mouth of weak, vulnerable, helpless babies and infants. The week Jesus was crucified, He cleansed
the temple of the money changers and dove sellers, and the children came in singing
praises. The religious leaders were indignant. Matthew 21 verse 16 says, “And they said to
him, ‘Jesus, do you not hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes; have
you never read, “Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise?”‘
Quoting Psalm 8 verse 2, Jesus declared Himself to be the Lord God, who establishes strength
out of the mouths of little children when His religious foes refused to acknowledge
Him as the Messiah King. And for the record, this is how God always
works. 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 27 through 29, “But God chose what is foolish in the
world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God
chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing
things that are, so that no human being may boast in the presence of God.” God is great.
In fact, let me tighten that up theologically — God alone is great. The rest of Psalm 8 declares that God is good.
Verses 1 and 2 focus on God alone. It is not until verse 3 that we find the first and only
first-person statement in the Psalm. David says, “I look at Your heavens.” Yet, this
personal statement is still focused on God. As David celebrates the majesty of God, his
focus shifts from what is above him to what is around him. Yet he still sees the majesty
of God on display. Verses 1 and 2 praise the greatness of God, verses 3 through 8 praise
the goodness of God. And the goodness of God is seen in God’s care for humanity and God’s
creation of humanity. First, consider with me God’s care for humanity.
Verses 3 and 4 record one sentence. It is a question that makes a statement about God’s
care for humanity that transcendence and eminence of God work together in loving concern for
human beings. In verse 3, we see the transcendence of God, “When I look at your heavens, the
work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place.” For most of
us, the lights of the city block out the light of the sky, and we miss the general revelation
in the heavens above. Psalm 19 verse 1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and
the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” David looked up at the clear sky in the darkness
of the night, and he saw God everywhere. He called the sky, “Your heavens.” It belongs
to God because God created it. But notice that creating the heavens was no laborious
task for God. David calls the heavens “the work of your fingers.” In one sense, we cannot see as well as David
saw and in another sense we can see far better than David saw. We have telescopes, satellites,
space stations that enable us to see into the heavens infinitely more clearly than David.
Yet he was right to call it all the works of God’s finger. The vast universe, says David,
is divine finger painting. The moon and the stars did not find their place by a Big Bang.
Almighty God them set them in their appointed places. This is the transcendence of God at
work. But then notice the eminence of God at work. Verse 4 asks the logical question
the transcendence of God raises, “What then is man that you are mindful of him, and the
son of man that you care for him?” The right answer to this question is “nothing.”
God is so transcendent that the creation of the vast and mysterious universe is child’s
play to Him. We are rebellious little creatures that exist temporarily on a puny rock in a
little galaxy on the far end of the universe. We are nothing, less than nothing. But the
right answer is the wrong answer. The goodness of God is seen in how God treats weak creatures
of the moment like me and you. Verse 4 says — hold on to your seats — it says God is
mindful of us. Psalm 144 verses 3 and 4 says, “O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing
shadow.” We are all one breath away from death like a passing shadow. We are here one moment
and gone the next, yet God is mindful of us. Matthew 10 verse 29 through 31 Jesus says,
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart
from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore;
you are of more value than many sparrows.” God is mindful of us, and likewise verse 4
says God cares for us. Notice the progression from God in thought to God at work. God cares
for the son of man. And the word “cares” is more than feelings here. It means God longs
for us and seeks us out and takes care of us. As Christians, we know this better than David
did. In verse 5, David uses the term “son of man” to describe human weakness but in
the Gospels, Jesus used the term to refer to Himself. And in so doing, Jesus identifies
Himself as God who put on human flesh to visit us with His redeeming love that died on the
cross and rose from the dead. God cares for humanity, but notice as well
God’s creation of humanity. God created man with dignity. Verse 4 says, “What is man?”
And verse 5 answers in four words. These are the big words of the text about mankind. Listen
to what David says to God about mankind in the inspired Scriptures, “You have made him.”
Human beings are not evolved beasts. God created us. Psalm 100 verse 3, “Know that the LORD,
he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people and the sheep of his
pasture.” How did God make man? Verse 5 says, “You have
him a little lower than the heavenly beings.” This statement is difficult to translate again
but easy to interpret. The Hebrew word translated “heavenly beings” is elohim. It can refer
to the true God or false gods or angels. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old
Testament, refers to it as…renders it as “angels.” It seems the most literal reading
is that God made man a little lower than God Himself. The ESV plays it safe and just translates
it “the heavenly beings.” Whatever way you translate it, the meaning is the same. God
created man with a sense of divine dignity. We are not a little higher than the beasts
of the fields, we are a little lower than the heavenly beings. Verse 5, “You have made him a little lower
than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” When God created humanity,
God crowned humanity. What is humanity’s crown? It is glory and honor. Glory and honor are
both ascribed to God in verse 1. In fact David says, “You have set your glory above the heavens.”
But the glory of God that is set above the heavens is also set on the earth. God has
crowned humanity with glory and honor. This does not mean in any way that we are
little gods. What you have here is simply an affirmation of Genesis chapter 1 verse
27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and
female he created them.” God created man with dignity, and God created man for dominion.
The Lord did not create mankind merely to reside on earth with animals. God created
man to preside over the earth. He made man to have dominion over the earth. Note the
stewardship of human dominion. Verse 6, “You have given him dominion over the works of
your hands; you have put all things under his feet.” We do not have dominion by some evolutionary
theory of the survival of the fittest. God gave us dominion over the works of His hands
and put all things under our feet. We are stewards of the earth, who are responsible
and accountable to God. Likewise, think of the scope of human dominion, “You have put
all things under his feet.” Verses 7 and 8 elaborate, “All sheep and oxen, and also the
beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along
the paths of the sea.” God has given humanity dominion over all animate life, from the birds
of the air to the fish of the sea to the beasts of the field. But consider the sign of human dominion. It’s
not in the text; it’s related to the text. Psalm 8 is a beautiful song of praise, but
it leaves out an important part of the story, right? Yes, God created man with dignity and
for dominion, but our original design was marred by the fall. The sin of Adam and Eve
introduced sin, guilt, shame, suffering, and death into the human experience. Each of us
stands guilty before God as sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. The image
of God in us is tainted, twisted, tarnished. We have iniquity. There is a virus in our
software that makes our hardware malfunction. And it has affected everything. Birds escape
us, fish elude us, animals attack us rather than submitting to our dominion. But the plan
of God has not failed. The first Adam plummeted humanity into sin. The second Adam brings
humanity to righteousness. Just for the record, if I was at my church
and said those two sentences, there would’ve been a lot of noise. Hebrews 2 verses 6 through 10, Hebrews chapter
2 verses 6 through 10, “It has been testified somewhere, ‘What is man that you are mindful
of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower
than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection
under his feet.’ Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside
his control. At present, we do not see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for
a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor
because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for
everyone.” We are sinful people. We live in a fallen
world. We are weak creatures of the moment. We are always staring death in the face. We
are doomed to eternal punishment if left to our own devices, but God…God intervened
by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to taste death for us. His death on the cross paid
our sin debt. His resurrection from the dead gives us new life. One commentator said it
well here, “Christ’s work on the cross did not merely undo Adam’s sin and put us back
where Adam was, rather it gives us much more. It made us like Christ.” How should we respond to such an indescribable
gift? Psalm 8, friends, does not explain the dignity and dominion of man to boost our self-esteem.
It seeks to boost our God esteem. This is why the Psalm ends right where it begins.
“O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!” “O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the worlds Thy hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed. When through the woods and forest glades I
wander, hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees. When I look down, from lofty mountain
grandeur and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze. And when I think that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it; That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing, He
bled and died to take away my sin. When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow, in humble adoration, And
there proclaim: ‘My God, how great Thou art!’ Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
‘How great Thou art, How great Thou art.'” O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name
in all earth. We praise You, Father, for Your greatness.
You are indeed great and greatly to be praised. From the place where the sun rises to the
place where the sun goes down, Your name and Your name alone is worthy of our highest expressions
of praise. We praise You as our Creator, our Sustainer, our Ruler. We praise You for being
our Redeemer through the finished work of Your only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We praise You that in Your sovereign grace You made Him to be sin who knew no sin that
we might become the righteousness of God in Him. We praise You for it. We proclaim the
greatness of Your name, for from You and through You and to You are all things. And to You
alone be glory forever. Amen.

9 Comments

9 Replies to “H.B. Charles Jr.: Made in His Image”

  1. Adrienne Leach says:

    Well, done!!!!

  2. Roberto Esquivel says:

    777th view, God is good!

  3. Miranda Halvorson says:

    Do you realize Spergeon had sex out of marriage. (Do the math with the birth of his sons) It was so long ago, who knows how awful an deep his sins where. So full of ego as well. Sad.

  4. Eric Smith says:

    Awesome message on Psalm 8; what a blessing.

  5. Linton Browne says:

    Our God is Absolutely Great everywhere everytime, everlasting to everlasting you are God .even in Hell God is Great, Nowhere is God Almighty , not A Great God! Awesome is My God. Well done my bro. Thank God.

  6. VisionOnDuty says:

    🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾 HOW GREAT THOU ART!

  7. MARY MARY says:

    U R A VERY GOOD SPEAKER, GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU

  8. Infidel14? says:

    Side comment, not about the preacher, but about the venue: The older I get, the more I'm coming to appreciate Christian places of worship that are without overly pretentious decor or elaborate design. #bland

  9. Godschild1982 M says:

    Preach doc!!

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