The stewardship of life.
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!
Psalm 8, ESV
Like many of his hymns, Psalms 8 is a recital of the works of God's fingers (v. 3) and hands (v.6). God's majesty and glory are set above the heavens. They are visible to mankind in his strength against Israel's foes and the wonders of creation, like the moon and the stars. This contemplation leads the King to a profound question. Under the vast display of God's universal design he asks: what is man that you are mindful of him? (v. 4). Overwhelmed with what God's fingers and hands had accomplished, David wanted to reflect on man's place in it all.
His answers are incredible. One, he confesses man's place in the entire sweep of creation. We humans are created "a little lower that the heavenly beings", and are "crowned with glory and honor" (v.5). Two, "You have given him dominion over the works of your hands" (v. 6). God has entrusted the stewardship of life to the human species. This world, and everything in it belongs to God (see Psalm 24). The Creator has graciously placed the care of his world in our hands.
King David's representative list of our stewardship responsibilities moves in a predictable way---the sheep and oxen, the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, the fish of the sea, and whatever passes along the paths of the sea. Two things are notable. One, he progresses from what is observable and familiar to what is not. Two, his list terminates with two mentions of the sea, like he was saving the best for last.
The blessing and hope I needed this morning was a fresh realization of my place in the created order and my human role as a steward of life. My care for the environment and the animal world doesn't derive out a belief that they're going to become extinct. Surely the God who created them can preserve and replicate them according to his divine plan until that day. My role as a steward of life is significant not because I love trees or glaciers or puppies or bears. The stewardship of life is significant because I love him. In his wisdom and grace he has given me charge over his work. I'm thinking this thought would have crossed David's mind when he thought of the sea.
Strong vitamin sea.