Point of Reference
by Fred Price
“When I consider 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, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3,4
Frankly, I find scripture like this somewhat puzzling, many prophecies or related “pronouncements” being recognized as such only in hindsight or when we perceive their double meaning. (Such as Is. 7:14 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Many Messianic prophecies coming to be considered such over centuries of time, referenced by Jesus and others but not overly familiar to Christians with little or no understanding of their Hebrew background until, it would seem to some, they are “randomly” pulled out of the Old Testament as proof texts for Christian theology.) Hebrews 2:5-8 quotes the above Old Testament scripture and following verses almost verbatim, concluding with “You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.”; to explain – at least in part – Jesus’ place in the plan of salvation. (The scripture in Psalm 8, at first glance, referring simply to man – the son of man in verse 4not capitalized as is usually the case when referring to Jesus – the “ruler over the works of your hands.”, again – at first glance – noting the dominion that was given to man at the creation of the world in Genesis 1:26)
Jesus likewise quoted Psalm 110:1, explaining his true relationship with King David ( Matthew 22:24), using scripture that would seem originally to refer to David’s earthly rule, verse 2further promising him that, “The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.” (See Acts 2:34 & Hebrews 1:13 as well.) Jesus specifically saying that David was speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit ( Matthew 22:43,44), noting His pre-eminence in all things. Other scripture, such as Is. 53 – sometimes referred to as the Fourth Gospel – mysteriously, even eerily having an immediate application (even if thought to be allegorical at the time) to people and places of that day as well as an allusion to something or someone in the future.
In considering God’s sovereign will and creative power, the question then posed by the Psalmist in verse 4is understandable. But I don’t believe it is God’s intent for us to develop a relationship with him in which we feel so inferior – which we are – that we can’t approach him in any way; crawling and cowering before him in self-loathing and lack of direction. (Although there should be a sense of awe and/or “fear of the Lord” informing our relationship with Him. See Deuteronomy 10:12; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10 & 16:6; Philippians 2:12) Our value and sense of self-worth truly found only in him, but that realization allowing us to then, “...approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (See also Hebrews 10:35,36)
“When God created man(kind), he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them “man”.” Genesis 5:2 The creation of human beings was God’s crowning work in the creative process, finding in them his greatest joy and biggest heartache, making them in his “likeness” bestowing on them unique characteristics; the image of God defining human personhood and giving us “personality.” Mirroring God, however weakly, enables us to develop the capacity for genuine relationships with others. Creating us as two parts of a whole – male and female combined acknowledged as man – reflecting the love and commitment God has for us as well as the love we are expected to express for him and each other; revealing God’s heart to the world through our own.
The authority or dominion over the earth referred to in Gen. 1implies stewardship, not careless use or abuse of the resources God provided the first couple. A steward never took the place of but acted in conjunction with the owner/authority. (The very place we, as believers in Christ, achieve. Not above our teacher and/or master, but “like” him. ( Luke 6:40 and John 13:16)
Adam, representing the consummate “earthling”, was created from the dust of the earth, yet – somehow – reflected the glory of God himself. His name, from the Hebrew word Adamah – translated ground or soil – ended up working the adamah to survive and returned to adamah when be died. ( Genesis 3:19) And yet, God blew his very own breath into Adam, setting him and us as his descendants apart as unique. (The concept of our uniqueness being balanced by a humility realized in the fact that each of us is precious in his sight, each and every one of us.”) 1
All of creation is God’s handiwork and resonates with his character, as even “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1 His, “...invisible qualities... clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” Romans 1:20 Sin, however, has distorted that message, man foolishly attempting to usurp God’s exalted place in the universe, consequently corrupting his perfect order of our world and our place in it. All of which necessitated Christ’s intervention to “correct’ our arrogant sin and redeem us back to a useful state. God loving us so much that he was willing, even “While we were still sinners,...” to give of himself in the sacrifice of his son, to reconcile us to his purposes ( John 3:16 & Romans 5:8); actively seeking us out ( Luke 19:10) and redeeming us to a “full” life of obedience and partnership with him. ( John 10:10 & 2John 6) “...because those who are (now) led by the Spirit of God are (indeed) sons (and daughters) of God.” Romans 8:14 & 2 Corinthians 6:18 (See also Galatians 4:3-7) The Lord specifically characterized as being watchful and attentive to those who choose to accept his will for their lives (See 1 Peter 3:12 & 2 Chronicles 16:9), adhering to an “...obedience that comes from faith.” Romans 1:5
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2:15 That was man’s initial responsibility and, I believe, man’s opportunity today. Redeemed and reconciled to God’s will and purpose, we realize the benefits of God’s mindfulness and care by working in His name and caring for His creation; specifically by reaching out to others of our race who are unsaved and unredeemed. Sharing in His ministry of reconciliation and representing Him and His message of redemption to the world, we become Christ’s ambassadors, “...as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:20
1Lois Tverberg, Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus , Zondervan Publishing
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Fred Price - married (49 years), father of two grown children, grandfather of six.
Fred retired earlier this year after 42 years as a factory worker. He has always had a heart for young people and the challenges they face today. Over the years Fred has taught Discipleship Groups for High School and college students.
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