Reading in Psalm 8 today, I find David saying this about humanity:
“What is man that you take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than God, and you crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule 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 through the paths of the seas.” (Psalm 8:4-8)
I’m struck (but not surprised) by how easily we try and overturn God’s plan and purpose for his creation. God commissioned us as human beings to rule over creation (which, in a biblical sense, means to steward creation as God’s vice-regents for his glory and our joy) and to serve one another (Mark 10:43-44; Galatians 5:13). We so often want and strive for the reverse. We want to rule over one another, and serve the creation – or, perhaps, twist the creation to serve us. For instance, a godless environmentalism is one (but not the only) example of this predilection – it seeks to rule over other human beings after first exalting nature as “God.”
Doesn’t this ungodly flip-flop appear with striking clarity during our election cycles, and routinely in our political discourse? Not that elections or politics are bad. In fact, rightly pursued, both are a gift to human society and an important aspect of human flourishing (to borrow a term from Al Mohler). But whereas elections and politics should be a “race to the bottom” for humble service of one another in society, all too often both become a venue in which we strive to rule rather than serve.
None of this should surprise us. Our flip-flopping of Psalm 8 is merely another expression of Romans 1:21-23 sin – “For even though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” There it is…in our sin we want to serve God’s creation and rule one another. We prefer this to serving one another in love for the glory of God…and ruling his creation in love for the glory of God.
What’s the answer to this problem? Easy (tongue-in-cheek)…flip it back! Surrender to God by surrendering to his plan, and his way, for his creation (including us!). Surrender starts at the foot of the cross. Service starts at the foot of the cross. Ruling starts at the foot of the cross.