The Psalms brim with human attempts to define God. This book has been handed down from generations so long ago, in no small part, because it help us understand who God is, who we are, and what God is up to for real in this world broken by sin and death. The Psalms often start out with a person speaking at the very end of human language. And other times they start out with the truth of human need and brokenness heard as someone calls out to God.
Psalm 8 starts out with awe,
1 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!It's one thing to consider the wonders of God. But it's completely different to think about that same God coming to die for you and me. We aren't perfect people or ever close to perfect.
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
For centuries we've look on and wondered why God cares about us. And here's the great mystery of our Faith. This great question shows up in the middle of Psalm 8.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars that you have established;Over the past year I've spent more time in the book of Psalms than any other book. It's there, right about the center of any Bible—this book of 150 prayers and songs. Often when I sit with people in the Hospital who will be there for a while I encourage them to talk to God. If they are struggling to know how to start I point them to the Psalms. It's okay to borrow a language of prayer if you know that it will help you learn how to connect to God. It's okay to start with prayers trusted for generations when you have something big to say and you just don't know where to start.
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
The way I see it is there are 150 Psalms and not every one is going to fit you right now. Some Psalms are words of praise like Psalm 8 that we read today and others are Psalms of grief and lament like Psalm 88 that call out into darkness wondering out loud if God's real and even cares about our pain. 150 prayers and songs.
The Psalms are inspired and inspiring words. These are 150 prayers and songs written to God. And anytime you don't have a prayer language of your own to speak to God it's okay to turn to the Psalms and borrow somebody else's. These are soul level communication between one person—a human—seeking an encounter with another being who is so wonderfully different than any human being you or I have ever met on this planet.
Peace and thanks for reading, John