In Psalm 8, David praises the majesty of God and is overwhelmed that the God of the universe would use him to glorify Himself. God doesn't need greatness to accomplish great things; He uses those who are available.
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We Are the Apple of His Eye
A lot of us here love music, and you may not have heard that hymn sung very much in church right there, but I want to show you how biblical it is, and I'm going to show you how it fits. I love songs, songs especially that capture the essence of just joy. I mean, one of my favorite songs is one by Trisha Yearwood called "The Song Remembers When."
All of us have the experience where we're somewhere, and we hear some songs, and immediately we're thrust right back to a place where we go, "Oh, yeah. I'm reminded of that person. I'm reminded of that season. I'm reminded of that summer, that place." I mean, music has a power that's just incredible.
Folks ask me a lot what my favorite book in the Bible is, and I can say with a lot of integrity that it's usually the one I'm studying because I am consistently humbled and blown away at just how great God's Word is and how much life is there. For the next four weeks, I get to do something that we haven't done here before, which is to focus on four songs.
I want to show you that this one we just heard by little Stevie Wonder is a song that really captures in his talking about a human relationship where he took an idea and a concept that was biblical. Happy Father's Day! I want to tell you on this Father's Day that, I think the most encouraging song I could sing to you is a song that's really going to work backwards because we think of a day called Father's Day as a day that we honor Fathers, but you know what? Most of us really live for and most of us long for…
In fact, psychologists will tell you one of the main reasons people struggle through life is because of a hurting relationship with the father, because of an absent father, because of a distant father, because of a nonexistent father. What I want to do today is I want you to hear a song. I mean, it is one of the greatest songs of celebration you will ever hear, and it is a song that was sung to a father about a father's song and love for us. "You Are the Sunshine of my Life."
Look, the psalmist, he captured this. In Psalm 17, he just said, "I wish somebody would sing me that song." He prayed to God, and he said, "Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings…" That was the desire of the psalmist in Psalm 17. When he wrote this song to God, he cried out for that. "I wish somebody would sing me that song, somebody who mattered, somebody who could give me worth."
Well, I have great news for you today, and I want you to hear this song of life. Look what God says himself in two different places. First in Deuteronomy, chapter 32, God says this. He declares, "He found him…" Meaning this man named Abraham who he chose for no specific reason, just like he chose us for no specific reason. "He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste…"
Man, what a great description of where we all are before God reaches out to us. "…He encircled him…" He came about him just like David would write centuries later that he longed for God to do. "…He cared for him, He guarded him as the pupil of His eye." That word for pupil there is the same word we just saw in Psalm 17. It's the word that sometimes is translated as apple.
It comes from way back when in ancient history when men would look inside the eye and would look at the pupil and would say it looked like an apple, so when you were called the apple of somebody's eye, it meant you were the very center of their care and concern. Their focus was on you. Their pupil was fixed right on you.
God said that, for no specific reason, he decided to love this one and to focus on him. Now this is really great because a little bit later it said it again in a different way. In Zechariah, chapter 2, in verse 8, it says this. "For thus says the Lord of hosts…" The one who is King of all. "After [some time] He has sent me…"
This is right in the time when the people who were the descendents of Abraham were in a place of waste again and a place of oppression and discouragement. It says that God is going to send somebody against the nations to plunder them because he says he is not fond of those who touch the apple of his eye.
You know, last night, my daughters and I were out riding bikes just around our neighborhood, having a ball together, and you know, I got a little ahead of them as I was pulling a couple of others, and all of a sudden, I heard this loud horn behind me. I looked, and I saw my little girl, Kirby, who just got this new bike that's a little bit too big for her.
She was scared to death and was, you know, right there against the side of the road. She jumped off her bike, and I could just see the look of horror in her eyes. I mean, I whipped around, and I went back there, and this car had slowed down. This car started to go forward, and we were playing chicken, me and this car.
I just stopped him, and I go, "What are you doing honking at a little 6-year-old girl riding her bike on the side of the road in this residential neighborhood?" He goes, "It wasn't me. It was somebody else honking at me to say 'hi' to me." I went, "Oh, sorry, man. Have a great day." I thought that brother was messing with the apple of my eye, and glory had passed, and I came to plunder him and then ask his forgiveness.
Hey, I want to sing you a song today that just… I want to tell you, I think this is my favorite place in the whole Scriptures right now. Next week, it's going to be a different one. I'll tell you that right now, but I have been so humbled this week as I've been thinking about this first in this series. I mean, can I just be honest with you? I look out there. I see these empty seats, and I am really saddened that there aren't others who get to be encouraged the way you are this morning, the way I have been this week.
We have an incredible opportunity during this time of summer to say to our friends, "Hey, you have time. Come on with me. You want to find life? Check this out." We're going to lift some people up who are where life is, and they want this song to resonate in their souls. Will y'all pray with me? Then we're going to look at this song together.
Father, on this Father's Day, as we sit here and we sing about the noise we're going to make, about our love for you, about the amazing truth of who you are and your care and concern for us, we just start by being overwhelmed, even as the psalmist, David, was at your concern for us. What a great dad you are! You don't sit back and go, "Okay, is the gift going to be worthy of who I am?" Nope. You just come racing toward us today, and you want us to know how much you love us and how we are the apple of your eye.
As we think about songs we need to hear to give us life, I think about the fact that the God who created us, the God who is the Holy One, looks at us in our place of waste and desolation and says, "I love you. You matter to me. I care for you. I have fixed my eyes on you, and I want you to know you're the apple of my eye." What a song! What a lover you are, and we thank you for being our Father. In Christ's name, amen.
Turn with me to Psalm 8. That's the first song of summer we're going to look at. We're going to just read through it. I mean, it's a great little song. "O Lord, our Lord…" Our Yahweh, our Adonai, which just basically means O personal, great God who is our Sovereign Master. "How majestic is Your name in all the earth…"
What the psalmist is going to do… What David is doing… You know, I title sometimes the psalms in my Bible, and I titled this one, "The Happy Astronomer" or "The Contemplative Happy Astronomer." Let me just set this psalm up for you because, as we rip through this, it sometimes helps to put this in a place where we can have some more context.
David is a shepherd, and David spends a lot of time outside, and this clearly is something David was doing one night when he was watching over the sheep. David is just strolling along the meadows in Israel. He is just looking up, and he is blown away. Many scholars believe this psalm was written very shortly after David had an encounter with a giant.
David was just… I mean, that electric feeling you get, that buzz after a huge victory or, you know, guys in business when you deliver that deal. When you're the man; when you've just come through, women, you know, childbirth or love or just when you know you've been significantly used by God, there's this electric, alive feeling, and you just go, "Man, this is unbelievable the way this experience is right now!" I think David was having one of those moments.
I don't think he could've slept if he wanted to. I think he's just walking around, and he's just going, "This is incredible. Oh, Lord, this is great. I'll never leave you or forsake you. You are so unbelievable. Your majesty is everywhere." He says, "… [you] have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!" David says, "As great as the expanse is, as great as the heavens are, God, they cannot contain you. Your glory is above what I see as the most glorious aspect of all creation."
David is going to go from the extreme greatness of the universe down to the most intimate, vulnerable creature he knows, which is just a babe, and most folks think he's talking about him. "God, I look at the majesty of the moon and the stars and the genius and the brilliance of them, and then I think of me. I'm just a little shepherd boy, rejected by my brothers." He says:
" [Out of this mouth] You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease." Now he goes back. "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him…"
I think he's thinking of himself. "Who am I? I'm this little shepherd boy. I mean, why did you choose me? You used me to exalt you." If you remember back, David came up against Goliath, and Goliath was intimidating. The strong and the mighty of Israel, the army of Israel are encamped. Saul and his men are too scared to take on Goliath, and the enemies of Israel are taunting them and mocking them, and they'd send out one man, Goliath. He would stand there every day, and he would taunt the army of God, the people of God.
David went there to deliver a sack lunch to his brothers, and he said, "Who is this who dares taunt the army of a living God?" and they went, "Would you shut up? He might hear you, and he might not just stand there and taunt us. He might come over here and grab one of us by the neck." David said, "I'm not going to let this happen. Don't you guys know who God is?" They said, "Oh, come on!"
Somebody overhead him. Not one of his brothers but somebody else said, "Hey, this kid thinks he can take on Goliath." They jerked him over and put him in the presence of Saul, and Saul said, "Oh, this is great. No one will take Goliath on, and then some little shepherd boy with a sack lunch wants to fight him." David convinced Saul that it was worth it. Saul didn't care. It was no loss to his kingdom, so he ran this kid out there.
I love this little section of Scripture in 1 Samuel 17, where Goliath looks at this child walking out at him, this infant one not far from his mother's breast. He says, "I'm going to take your head, and I'm going to feed it to the birds of the air and the animals of the land, and if I'm near some water, I'll toss it into the sea."
David scoffed at him and said, "Hey, listen. The God who delivered me from the lions and the bears and all the other wild creatures and has given me dominion over them… He has given me dominion over you, you lost pagan, and I'm going to take your head. I'm going to cut it off, and I'm going to feed it."
What David is saying right here is, "Look, you used me, a child, to show your enemies your strength, and man in his boldness and brashness who trusts in strength and his ability to conquer… God does not need anything great to accomplish great things, so he uses a little boy." David is overwhelmed at this. As you know the story, if you don't know anything about your Bible, you know who won that fight.
David now is away from the army of God back out in the wilderness, and he has that adrenaline rush going on. He is going, "Lord, you're something else. Who am I that you would use me that way? What happened over there today?" I'm sure he's thinking in a very shallow human way, "I could date any girl I wanted right now." He says, "Man, you thought of me. You chose me. I'm just a little kid. You care for me."
David observes. He said, "You know, you've made me, God, in Israel, just a little lower than you right now. Right now, in all of Israel, the only nation on the face of this earth that knows you, there are really only two people who are being talked about. You and me! I'm just a little lower than you right now, God."
He says, "Now I don't think that I'm something special. I'm just amazed that you would use me in such a way that people would see the mark of God on my life. I mean, who am I that you'd put me in such a place and you would crown me with glory and majesty?" Then David continues. "You make him to rule over the works of Your hands…" As he's walking through. "…You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen…" He sees very tangibly. He says, "…and also the beasts of the field…"
"The wild animals, Lord, with the rod and the staff that you've given me and the sling that you've given me, even the wildest, most ferocious animal is fearful of me for some reason. You've given me dominion over them. "The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas.""All these things," he says, in effect, "are under my dominion." Then he closes where he started, and he says, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!"
Now do you get a little bit of that psalm? Do you see how David is just…? Man, he is cruising out there in the night sky, and he is overwhelmed at the greatness of God and, specifically, he is overwhelmed that the Father who is in heaven takes notice of him. Let me just show you one other psalm this David wrote. That's Psalm 139. Don't turn there. I'm going to put it right up here behind me. I'm just going to read the first third of this psalm.
This is a continuation of how God cares for him. This is what David knew. He says, "O Lord, You have searched me and known me." If you'll go back to Psalm 8, I think he's thinking, "You know, I don't know why you care for me." In fact, the word he uses in Psalm 8 for man ( "…what is man…" ), the word is what is mortal, weak, sinful, rebellious, broken man that you care for him.
See, David does not have to put on any airs with God. He doesn't have to impress God with something that he's not. He knows God knows him intimately. He knows the corruption in his heart. He knows how he struggles with lust and struggles with pride, and he says, "God, you've searched me, and Dad, you know me like no one else knows me."
"You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways." Now this is David, but I want to give you an insight. This is your Daddy, and this is you and your Daddy. "Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all."
That can be a really good thing, and that can also be a really scary thing…can't it? "You have enclosed me behind and before…" There is no vulnerability. "And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge…" Now this is just frank. "…is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit?" Nowhere that I know of.
"Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol[even in the grave], behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,' even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You."
He says, "It's because you are light, and when you're there, darkness is gone, and there's no absence of what I need. What am I that you know me and love me this way?" What a song that we need to run over our souls and remember when!Now I'll just take a few moments and break this down in some little, specific ways. I love this little thing. I want to put it behind me. I've quoted this before. I've said it before. I didn't write it. I don't even know where it came from, but this is what I want you to hear. You need to face it. You know, God loves you.
"If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning..." He can live anywhere he wants to in the universe, yet he chose to reside in your heart. Do you remember that Christmas gift he sent you? Let's not forget about Calvary. Let's face it. God is crazy about you. That's what it says.
See, I want you guys to hear that song today. I want you to know how much God loves you, and I want you to just hear me say this. He's crazy about you. I don't care if you live in a howling waste. I don't care if last night you made some decisions that you're sure this God who knows you intimately is so disgusted by that he would never want anything to do with you. You don't know a Father's heart.
One of the great advantages I have this Father's Day that I did not have 10 years ago is that I know what it means for somebody to be the apple of my eye. I have to tell you something. I would weep like nobody's business to see my kids make decisions that had them, in effect, living in howling waste, but if you think for a second it would diminish my love for them, you don't know a daddy's love.
I would so desperately hate the sin which has entangled them, but there would never be a day… There'd never be a moment. There is nothing they could do, no dress they could wear, no self-mutilation or exploitation they could subject themselves to that would affect the fact that they are the apples of my eye. I want you to know that song. I want you to hear it from your Father who is in heaven today. Some of you out there have never known a dad like that. I want you to know him. Let me tell you about the greatness of God. This is what David was going through.
You know, I love astronomy. I love looking up at the stars and trying to fathom that. My wife has been a victim of us driving through the dark parts of Colorado at 2:00 in the morning. She is dozing off, and I stop the car long far away from any lights and get a David moment. More than once, she's woken up, and I've been out of the car, and she wonders if we have a flat or engine trouble. I'm just looking up at the stars (when you can see stuff we can't see in lit cities) and just being overwhelmed by them.
I want to read you some statistics that I've kind of gathered over the years which are really encouraging to me. I just kind of keep them in one little place. This is fun. You know, one guy who is a British astronomer said, "…the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose…" Which is the English way of saying wilder and more extravagant than we suppose. He says, "…but queerer than we can suppose."
We can't fathom how amazing the stars are. Every little insight we get blows our minds. Astronomers in the last, you know, 15 years or so have admitted that they underestimated the number of galaxies by 50 billion…the number of galaxies by 50 billion. They missed the average age of the universe by their calculations based on a normative progression of time, which is a mistake, by their own calculations by over 8 billion years.
Stephen Hawking says this in his book, A Brief History of Time, "…the earth is a medium-sized planet orbiting around an average star in the outer suburbs of an ordinary spiral galaxy, which is itself only one of about a million million galaxies in the observable universe." See, Hawking missed it by 50 billion, and he's saying, even with what he knew, we are a very ordinary planet in a very ordinary solar system. What Hawking is saying is, "Hey, look, there's no… How could God concern himself with us in the greatness of the universe?"
This is the birth of what's called… By the way, if we had time… Let me tell you what's in Psalm 8. The answer to existentialism, the answer to humanism, the answer to naturism, the answer to evolutionism, the answer to deism. Every one of these are spoken to in Psalm 8. God's Word is so rich. You know, the stars are so amazing.
You know, the million-dollar question of one of the guys who won a million bucks on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was, "The earth is approximately how many miles away from the sun?" I'm like, "Oh, man, layup!" You know? It's 93 million miles. A light year is 186,000 miles per second. Let me just give you a little perspective on that. That means, if I had a gun which would shoot a bullet at the speed of light, if I shot it, it would loop the earth and go through me seven times before I could jump to my right.
The sunlight that tans your skin, that browns your skin, left our sun eight minutes ago. In other words, if our sun extinguished, it would take us eight minutes to figure that out, because that's how long it takes light to travel. Our sun is a very average star. It's called a red dwarf. In fact, it's so small, they call it really a yellow dwarf.
Another star that's near us is called Antares. Now, just listen to this. If Antares, which is just one of over 500 billion stars like it in the galaxy that we're in (remember there are over 50 billion galaxies)… If Antares is where our sun is, the earth would be inside it. Did you get that one? If you put a real star, not some little red dwarf that makes you get Coppertone on your heinie lest you get melanoma, but you put a real star there, it'd be so big that we'd be inside it.
There's only one other galaxy, Andromeda, that's close enough to see with our naked eye. It's twice the size of the Milky Way, which scientists believe is home to about a trillion stars. Man, I could go on and on and on. The reason, by the way, the night sky and all the stars that are out there don't just light up the earth like nothing we can believe is because stars are moving away from each other at incredible speeds.
Tomorrow, some galaxies will be 30 million miles further from us than they were today. By the time it takes me to say this sentence, it traveled another 5,100 miles from where it just was. The universe is expanding at incredible rates, and what is just absolutely shocking scientists and astronomers is they expect the universe we live in, because it happened from a big bang… They expect, the further they get out, for there to be more and more disorder but are shocked because, the further they go, the more they see order.
You know what else is amazing? The deeper they go inside a human body, the more they see order. I'm going to make a claim that that is evidence of a divine Creator because, if you spilled your box of Alpha-Bits cereal this morning, it did not say, "Good morning! Happy Father's Day!" to you. If there's an explosion in the print shop, you're not going to get Hamlet.
Chaos leads to disorder. Creation leads to order, and scientists are just absolutely baffled by this one fact more than any other. Everywhere they look, they see order. They see the fingerprint of intelligent design, but since they don't want to believe intelligent design is a possibility, they go other directions.
They ponder why we're here and wrestle with existentialist ideas, when some little shepherd boy thousands of years ago had the answer: "God, there's no good answer for why you love me, especially knowing who I am and knowing who you are, the genius of creation; the holiness of your very name; and my small, finite, corrupt, perverted self, and I'm the apple of your eye. I live in a howling waste, and you love me."
One of my favorite pastors of all time is a guy named Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon was one time in the Swiss Alps, and I pulled a little note from his journal that I remembered. It simply says this. He's talking about looking at the splendor of the mountains, and this is a genius observation. He says, "The mirror of the creatures has no space to bear the image of the Infinite." This is what David is saying. I'll explain this to you.
Spurgeon is overwhelmed by the Alps, and he makes this observation. He says, "God, when I look at the mirror of creation, I realize that that doesn't contain your glory." Now we ought to be encouraged. The Scriptures tell us that God has made his eternal power, his divine nature, his glory known to all men, so we are without excuse. We are to look at the glory that we can see, but don't ever be so naïve as to think that that mirror which is his creation shows us all the greatness of who he is.
The mirror he created does not capture everything about him. It is just the beginning. It's just a foretaste of his genius and beauty. Those of us who were just in Colorado looking at the snowcapped Continental Divide would just go, and we'd just be overwhelmed at the greatness and glory of God. Then we realize that that is just a little pocket mirror of his glory, and there's no way we can see all that God is.
His glory is so far above creation that it's an absolute sin to worship it. One of the great follies of humankind has been that we have always elevated the creation over the Creator. What would you rather have…a painting by Rembrandt or Rembrandt? What would you rather have…a Norman Rockwell painting or Norman Rockwell?
The one could continually create the other and an infinite number of things like it. It'd be absolutely insane to say, "I'll give my life to the creation and ignore the one who created it." David is saying, "Look, I look up, and I look down, and I look all around, and everything declares your greatness, and none of it can capture and contain you." Spurgeon makes that little, sweet observation. "The mirror of the creatures has no space to bear the image of the Infinite."
Now let me just make this little observation. There are only two reasons why people cannot see the glory of God in us. There are only two possible reasons when folks look at those of us who have found Jesus who know this Father God that they wouldn't see him in us.
There's a great little story about a little girl who says, "Mommy, the pastor at church confused me." She says, "Well, why, honey? Why'd he confuse you?" "Well, didn't he say today that God is bigger than who we are?" Mom said, "Well, yes. He did." She said, "Well, didn't he also say that God lives in us?" Mom goes, "Well, yeah. He said that." She said, "Well, if he's bigger than us and he lives in us, wouldn't he show through?"
Think about that. That little girl was perplexed by the claim of the pastor that God is as great as David described and yet as intimate as David described. Do you know why God doesn't show through in our bodies, in our individual lives, the way we want? It's because this little girl, this great theologian, had it figured out. First, it's because God is not bigger than us. The absolute insanity of man is that he looks at the world he is in, and he is not humbled as David was. In his arrogance and pride, he wars for the little tract of land which he occupies to make himself great.
He claims to be the biggest and most significant thing in all the universe. He has Yertle the Turtle syndrome, if you're a Dr. Seuss fan. "I'm king of all that I am and all that I see. I'm Yertle the turtle, and king I will be," stepping on top of turtles to see how far he can be and looking out further and further to show his greatness, until Yertle comes tumbling down and gets his head stuck in the mud in Sala-ma-Sond pond like he ought to. One of the great foolishnesses of man is that, in the midst of all that's around him, he thinks he's bigger than God.
What happens when folks don't see God in me? This is what goes on in my family. I go, "You know what? What God wants for Todd Wagner right now is not very important. What Todd Wagner wants is what's very important, and Todd wants to release some emotion right now. Todd wants to serve his own self right now. Todd wants to vent a little anger right now. Todd wants to teach you not to do that anymore."
Because I'm bigger than God and his agenda for my life. All of a sudden, no one sees God in me because I've enthroned myself. Can you relate to that? You know, there's another horrible possibility. Maybe you're not just pushing God off the throne of your life but, for some of us, God is not inside us at all because he doesn't live there. What blew David away is that the God of heaven resided in him.
David knew exactly why that giant fell that day. David knew he fell because God was glorifying himself in this infant babe, the same word Saul used in 1 Samuel 17. "Who are you, this little infant, this one who's just off his mother's breast? You're going to fight the giant?" David a little bit later wrote that into a song.
He said, "You used me, this little child, and God, you indwelled me, and by the power of your grace, your Spirit delivered the nation of Israel through me because I had faith in you and knew you didn't want your name mocked like that. I availed myself to you, and you lived in me and glorified yourself in me. God, I could never fight that giant without you."
Let me just tell you, some of you are still living in that howling waste where you enthrone yourself, make yourself more significant than God. You make yourself bigger than God. You see yourself not as poor in spirit. You don't weep over your state as an insignificant creature who is a rebel against the glorious God. You are not meek. You don't hunger and thirst after righteousness.
You've never asked God to care for you and to, now that his eyes are trained upon you in love, embrace you with grace. You've never acknowledged your need for him, so your Father has never lived with you. Jesus says this to people all the time. He says, "…I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice…" He's crying out to you again today. Somebody is here who's never understood the Father's love for them in the howling waste, and I want you to hear him.
Today, his voice says to you, "I love you, and I want you to hear my voice. Open the door of your heart and invite me, and I will come in with you, and I will dine with you. I will bring healing and hope and restoration, and I will allow you to experience what it means to be in a relationship with me as the apple of my eye." You want a song you can sing? The psalmist says he'll put a new song in your heart, and he'll abide with you.
When you acknowledge that God is bigger than you, people will see God in you, and the fruit of his Spirit's presence in your life will begin to radiate out in such a way that others will see your good work and glorify your Father who is in heaven. That's what happened to David. David humbled himself, and people looked at him and said, "There are only two things we're talking about today in Israel: this God and how he used this kid. What an incredible duo that is!" That's what God wants to do with you and me.
Let me give you a little application point that goes right along that's behind us. That is…God doesn't need great things to declare his greatness. He doesn't need it. He needs available things. If there is a theme verse for this church, it's in 2 Chronicles, chapter 16, verse 9. It says, "For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."
David was one whose heart was completely God's in that little day in that desert, and he said, "I'll take him on because God doesn't want his name mocked like that." I love what David did. He looked right out there at Goliath, and he said, "Who is this guy without a sign of brokenness before God? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine who dares taunt the army of a living God? Let's get it on." Now that's amazing.
There's a great story of an archeologist who was digging over the Negev Desert, and he found this mummy. He was amazed by it, and he sent it off to his friend who was the curator over at a natural history museum, and he said, "Hey, listen. I just found this mummy in the desert. It's 3,000 years old, and he died of heart failure."
The curator says, "Well, send him over here, and I'll check it out." About a week later, the curator called him back and said, "How in the world did you know that guy was 3,000 years old, and he died of heart failure?" He said, "Well, that was easy. I've studied the ancient languages, and when we uncovered his tomb, we found a little slip of paper by him that said, 'Three thousand shekels on Goliath.'"
It'll give you a heart attack when you don't know this truth. I'd put all my money on the giant because I think like Napoleon thinks that God gives the battle to the nation with the most artillery, but then there's this little footnote in history called Waterloo, which changed Napoleon's worldview. See, some of us are still thinking that if significant people in this world came to Christ, God could finally glorify himself, and what I want you to hear me say today is the Father wants to use you…David, little shepherd boy, little shepherd girl.
He doesn't need greatness. He needs somebody's heart who is completely his and will allow him to work in and through them and just humble themselves and just say, "Lord, I have nothing to offer you. I am a speck on an insignificant speck of a planet in an insignificant speck of a galaxy, but you love me, and if you want to use me and glorify yourself through me, okay."
That "Making the Mark" story on the cover of the Watermark News… Did you know that God changed somebody's eternity through this insignificant church through the insignificant set-up ministry because somebody's heart was completely his? Today, you're going to be places that I'll never be, and you have to ask yourself if you're going to be available to him so God can do great things, and is there anything greater than taking those who are in a howling place of waste and putting them in a blessed eternal place of grace and rest and hope and life?
Now that's a song that I want to sing. There's a guy who wrote a book 200 years ago…200 years ago…called The Solar System. He made some observations in there 200 years ago. He just marvels, as David did. He just goes, "What's man that you think of him?" He just gets overwhelmed with the irony of the fact that there's no creature in the entire world who is as prone to pride as man, and he laughs at it.
Though man is a victim to hurricanes, earthquakes, lightning and thunder, and cowers in the face of all these things, man continues to exalt himself and make himself great. He said, "Oh, the folly of deceived men, to imagine great kingdoms in the compass of an atom, to raise armies to decide a point of earth with the sword!"
Dr. Thomas Chalmers, in his astronomical discourses, said, "We gave you but a feeble image of our comparative insignificance, when we said that the glories of an extended forest would suffer no more from the fall of a single leaf, than the glories of this extended universe would suffer though the globe we tread upon, and all that it inherits, should dissolve." Yet, we think ourselves great.
What they're saying is they understand that every man who really understands the greatness of the creation of God ought to humble himself and be as David. For us to think that we're significant and matter is as laughable as a leaf that falls from one tree in a great forest and thinks that the forest is now a ruin, but stop and hear this amazing truth. Though we are just but one leaf in this forest of history, you are the apple of his eye.
Now let me make a huge leap right here because what I want to show you is not just the greatness of this psalm and the context in which is was written, but you know, this psalm was quoted four different times in the New Testament. It's quoted by Jesus himself when he's in the temple and he's cleansing the temple and the Pharisees and the priests, the leaders of the day, will not acknowledge Jesus as the Deliverer and as the one who can give men hope and a place of greatness.
It says that the little children said, "This is the son of David. This is the "Hosanna!" (41:48) This is the one who can save us." The priests and the Pharisees went to Jesus, and they said, "Shut those kids up because we don't like what they're saying about you," and Jesus quoted from Psalm 8. What Jesus is going to do is he's going to make this psalm a messianic psalm, and he's going to say, "If you think God delivered Israel through this David, you watch how God's going to deliver Israel through this David."
Let me show you a few little simple analogies. Who was born in Bethlehem? David. Can you think of anybody else? I can. Who was stewarded with shepherding the flock of God? David. Can you think of anybody else? Who was rejected by his brothers? David. People exiled him and said, "We don't want you as king," for a while. Who else was rejected by his brothers? Jesus. He was sent into exile for a time, not just into Egypt, but right now, you could make a case that Jesus has been sent to exile because of his rejection by his brothers.
What did David do while he was in exile? He took a bride to himself. What does the Scripture say Jesus is going to do while he is in exile? He's going to call the bride, the church, to himself. David's name itself means beloved of God. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten [only beloved] Son…"
Jesus takes this and says, "These kids are singing a song you need to know, and God is going to declare his greatness. He does not need the Pharisees and the Sadducees and the religious leaders of the day to say how great he is. He'll use kids to do it if you won't do it." In fact, a little bit earlier in that same time setting, he said, if you tell the kids to be quiet, the very rocks themselves will cry out.
He took this psalm, and he said, "This psalm points to me. You want deliverance from a giant. How about being given dominion again, not just over the animal kingdom, but how about being dominion again, O man, over death." That's where your David, Jesus Christ, is taking you this Father's Day, if you'll just acknowledge him as your Deliverer. Well, how does it work that Jesus was made for a little while lower than the angels?
I want to close with this. As you sit here this morning, I want you to be overwhelmed with how God cares for you, takes thought of you, and how God gives you glory and honor and gives you dominion to reign and to not be a victim to sin any longer. The writer to Hebrews takes Psalm 8, and he unveils the greatest truth you'll ever hear, and I want to sing it to you this morning.
If you have your Bible, turn to Hebrews, chapter 2. He's going to take this section of Scripture and unpack it for you in a way that can give you great encouragement. Furthermore, this is what it says. I'm going to use this translation because it's a little complicated view of Scripture.
People ask me a lot, "Hey, Todd, what Bible should I buy?" My answer consistently is this. You should buy the Bible that you're going to read, and I mean that. If you read the New International Version, bless you. I read the New American Standard for reasons that I think it's just a better translation and more accurate, but if I were going to start over with a new translation (in fact, I bought my little girl a Bible this week), the New Living Translation is a tremendous word-for-word translation of the Scripture.
The NIV is a thought-for-thought translation of the Scripture, accurately containing the text but still making some interpretations I think are better left awkwardly there for you to hear from the Spirit of God what it meant. That's the New American Standard and the New Living Translations. Right now, we're going to look at the New Living Translation.
Here we go. Watch what he's going to say. "And furthermore, it is not angels who will control the future world we are talking about. For in one place the Scriptures say…" I love that. Where is that? Have you ever had that experience? There's a Bible verse somewhere that says… Well, it's Psalm 8. You Bible scholars know that now. "What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him yet for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor."
Now let me stop. You know historically when this was first written… Who was talking about who? David was talking, I think, about himself. David said, "I've been exalted to a place that's just a little lower than the angels because of what you just did through me," but what Jesus is going to do in Matthew 21… In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul is going to do it, and in Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 22, Paul did it again, and the writer to the Hebrews does it here.
He's going to tell you who the one is who, for a little while, humbled himself. It says, "…for a little while you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor." You gave them authority over all things. Can you think of somebody who, when he was here, had authority over all things; demons, nature? There was nothing that he didn't reign over.
"Now when it says 'all things,' it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position 'a little lower than the angels'; and because he suffered death for us, he is now 'crowned with glory and honor.'" See also Psalm 8. That's what it says, because he suffered death for us.
"Yes, by God's grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone [in all the world] . God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation."
What he means by this, he's going to capture right down there in verse 17, when he says, "For we have a High Priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses." He is perfect for you and me because has been tempted in every way that you and I have and yet without sin. He is a perfect leader because we can never say to God again, "God, you don't know what it's like, the struggle on this earth."
We can never say, "You don't know what it's like to lose friends to sickness. You don't know what it's like to be sick yourself and to hurt and die and suffer. You don't know what it's like to not feel like you're the apple of our eyes." Do you know what? We couldn't be more wrong because we have a perfect God, a perfect leader, who humbled himself for a little while to be lower than the angels, and we found out that God identified with you and me, that he could deliver us to a place that has dominion over sin and even death. Why? Because he cares for man.
Hebrews is saying this. God cares for man so much that God himself humbled himself to become a little lower than the angels. See also the species called man. He suffered death but was given glory and honor. Why? Because man is God's prized creation who he loves and has redeemed, who he thinks of and cares for, gives glory and honor to, and restores to dominion. When you know that, what does that make you say? O Lord, my Lord, how excellent, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
If David killed a giant and it made him sing like this, how ought we to sing today, when we understand that God has done more than just deliver us from some loudmouthed, uncircumcised giant? He has delivered us from the great enemy, which is death. That's why the noise we make is the song which says, "Glory, glory, glory. You are holy, holy, holy. Who are we that you are mindful of us?"
Man, what a song. Happy Father's Day to you. Your Father loves you, and because we're doing Songs of Summer, we're going to close with a song, and it's a song that is anticipated by the Scriptures. It's not a song we're going to sing, but miracle of miracles, it's a song that God will sing to us in a very obscure place of Scripture, a little book called Zephaniah. In chapter 3, this is what it says. It says that there's going to be a day when God will come to us, and he will sing over us. Zephaniah 3, verse 14:
"Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, 'Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.'"
Do you hear that? It says that God is going to sing over us. "You are the sunshine of my life. You are the apple of my eye, and I love you, and I care for you." Now that's a song of life, and that's a song of freedom. Let's close.
Father, I thank you for just how great it is to get in your Word and to see the incredible truth you have there. I can think about how there was a buzz in Israel on that day when David took out the giant. I can feel the electricity running through my veins, the adrenaline rush that David must have had when he was walking around and he was saying, "Oh, God. It's incredible. It's incredible what you do that you would be mindful of me."
Father, now I, far more than David, sit here, a rebellious man, weak, mortal, failing, and frail, and I know of a story that's more miraculous than David. I know of another one who was born in Bethlehem who, though he completely identified with me and humbled himself as a man and was made a little lower than the angels, was very God of very God, beloved by you, eternally God himself. I know that Shepherd went to a cross for this, his lost and wayward sheep, and he's experienced what I've experienced when I felt like I wasn't the apple of your eye.
He cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!" I know now, Lord, that the reason you allowed that blessed one to suffer… You could've answered his question, "Why have you forsaken me?" by saying, "Because of man, because of Todd Wagner, I have forsaken you. If you think I wanted to do something great with that shepherd, David, who lived a long time ago, wait till you see what I do with Todd Wagner when I deliver him from the dominion of darkness to the dominion of life and light and hope."
Father, I want to just say with my friends today that you are bigger than me, and I am, by grace, overwhelmed with the truth that, having confessed my sin, you live in me. I and my other followers of Christ here say this Father's Day, "Would you show yourself in us and would other people see your life lived in and through us?"
When I think about the perfect father, I think about not one who waits to receive gifts but one who showers his children with blessing, and when the night falls and this frail body goes to the grave and you put me in that place which you have secured through the death of your Son, before I get a word out of my mouth to tell you how great you are, I am humbled to know that your Word tells me that you wait to sing to me and tell me how you love me and how I'm the apple of your eye. May this truth forever change me, us, and your people. In Christ's name, amen.
Music has incredible power to touch our hearts. And some of the greatest songs ever written are found in the book of Psalms. In the Songs of Summer we focus on four biblical "lyrics" to show how they capture the essence of joy, life and relationship found in Christ. You'll be challenged and encouraged as you hear how beautifully God's Word speaks to the deepest needs of our hearts.