The Daily Office: Day 16- Humbled and Exalted
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings[b] and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
It has been estimated that there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe and that is a conservative estimate. There are even more planets! David didn't know these astounding facts when he wrote Psalm 8, but I don't think he would be surprised.
The moon and the stars spoke to David of God's awesomeness and his own smallness. Creation on every level does that. The more we learn about creation the more likely we are to fall on our faces in abject worship.
Conversely, David proclaims the exalted place that humans possess in God's creation. They are but a little lower than angels. Made in God's image, man is given dominion over this beautiful planet we call earth. David realizes the paradox of being both humbled and honored in the presence of God. That is the place that every human holds in this life.
There is, dare I say it, a humility that I see in God. The praise He cherishes comes from babies who have no words and toddlers who can barely speak.
Eugene Peterson puts it this way:
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs That drown out enemy talk, and silence atheist babble.
God's greatest feat is not the expanding universe of planets and stars but rather the incarnation. The creator of all became the humblest of humans, who lived, loved, served, and finally died the cruelest of deaths. The writer of Hebrews is dumbstruck when he thinks about it.
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. -Hebrews 2:9
Think about your own smallness in comparison to the rest of the universe that God has made. Now, think about your exalted position as a human who is made in the image of God and given stewardship over life on earth. Hold these two paradoxical ideas in your heart as you pray today.
Oh Lord, creator of a universe that is beyond all comprehension. I fall down in worship before you. Oh Lord, who became a human and thus sanctified every aspect of human life. I embrace the calling of being your image-bearer. Help me to humble myself yet receive the glory and honor that comes through the incarnate Son of God. Amen.