Like anyone who loves happiness, I dread the thought of sitting in the nosebleed section of a stadium during a game. After all, who in his right mind would want to sit as far away from the field as possible? I do, however, have an appreciation for the aerial shots of a televised football game. Such shots tend to put the biggest and strongest athletes in perspective—they’re still relatively small.
In Psalm 8, David—who seems to have had a keen eye for the book of nature, which was perhaps strengthened from his days as a shepherd—contrasted mankind with the majesty of the heavenly bodies: “When I observe your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” (vv.3–4).There is perhaps nothing so effective at reminding us of our insignificance as looking up at the starry skies. Both their vast distance away and their glory leave us awestruck. We are so small and insignificant by comparison.
Though we are so much smaller, so much less glorious than the night sky, the psalmist, speaking of God’s assessment of man, goes on to say, “You made him little less than God and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet” (vv.5–6). It is absolutely astonishing—even after the fall—the sorts of things God allows man to accomplish. We have built cities, developed amazing technologies, and even discovered cures for some diseases. These are, in small part, a picture of what it means for man to have dominion over creation.
Nevertheless, men still die in fires, while at sea, and occasionally even by wild animal attack. Since the fall of Adam, man has not been able to fully exercise dominion over this world for the glory of God. The writer of Hebrews, picking up on the teaching of Psalm 8, puts it this way: “As it is, we do not yet see everything subjected to him” (Hebrews 2:8). He then adds, “But we do see Jesus—made lower than the angels for a short time so that by God’s grace he might taste death for everyone—crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death” (v.9). Though the kingdom of God has come, it is not yet fully here. Sin remains in the world, and our dominion is limited until Christ returns.
In the meantime, we wait with hope, looking to Jesus, the One who has already conquered sin and death. We know that when He returns, we will reign with Him for all eternity. That is our sure future. Our ultimate significance is found not in what we can accomplish in this life, but in our union with Christ now and forevermore.
Written by Nick Batzig