Reading: Psalm 8
Verse Six: You made him ruler over the world of your hands, You put everything under his feet.
Psalm 8 opens with praise for God. It then shifts to acknowledge the glory and wonder found in the works of His hands. Mankind enters the picture in verse four. “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” reminds us that relative to the heavens, moon, and stars, mankind is a little less. Yet we are still deeply loved by God.
Verses six through eight establishes the hierarchy here on earth. Verse six reads, “You made him ruler over the world of your hands, You put everything under his feet”. This verse clearly establishes mankind as the ruler of the earthly world. The word “everything” is pretty inclusive. The list that comes next covers it: flocks, herds, beasts, birds, fish. Psalm 8 closes with its opening line of praise, but perhaps this time it has a slightly different tone.
Over the years, mankind has indeed ruled the earth. How well the collective “we” had ruled is debatable. At times we have practiced things that were bad for the earth. While at times “we” have harmed the earth, the general trend has been to care for it. I do not think anyone could argue that we have we cared for it as well as we could have. Certainly we could have been more diligent in our forethought. There are things we should have avoided doing but failed to. This is revealed in our long history of harming the earth and then trying to fix or at least mediate what we did. Too often progress and the profit margin have led the way and we have done great harms to our waters, land, sky, and the populations of many plants and animals. The extinction list, for example, has way too many names on it.
If we do indeed praise God and bring honor to the creation of His hands, how do we reflect that in our choices and decisions? As Christians, we can make choices and decisions that help the earth or do it less harm. As followers of Christ, we can stand up to protect the earth when we should. As those in charge of the creation, we can love it as God loves us – caring well for the earth. It is a monumental task to care for the earth, but it is well within our abilities. May we love and care for this amazing creation well as we honor God’s work.