Sermon: The Creator's Majesty (3.27.22)
Sometimes we get spoiled by God’s beauty in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Those of us who live here know that, and we never get tired of the majesty God has extended to our physical homes in this earthly kingdom. We think there’s nowhere as beautiful as this.
There are places where God’s majesty through nature is even more powerfully expressed than in the Driftless Area. We spent a week in Utah with friends and were able to experience Zion National Park with its towering mountains and the Virgin River Gorge. And, we have been blessed to experience two raft trips through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. When God’s majesty is “up close and personal,” we understand how important it is to him to express his majesty to our benefit.
We usually run out of words to describe God’s natural creations. But the word “majesty” itself deserves special attention as we use it to describe God, his son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Let’s explore that word today.
1 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens. 2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?[c]
5 You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e] and crowned them[f] with glory and honor. 6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their[g] feet: 7 all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, 8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
25 To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Psalm 8 opens with a simple, but powerful and personal statement: “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
We could call Psalm 8 the “Majesty Psalm” since it reflects on all the ways our Lord has expressed his majesty through his creation. There is a paragraph in a book called The Christian Imagination which states: “Beauty is one of the few things that calls us back to God, which reminds us of his goodness, vitality and reality which embodies the beautiful.” The poet John Keats offers a line with a strong connection: “beauty is truth, and truth is beauty.” These lines connect God’s beauty and his creation with his very being.
What is majesty? We can define it as sovereign power, authority, and dignity. Is majesty something we can truly define, or experience and understand only through its physical presence? Anyone who has been to the Grand Canyon feels God’s presence through his majestic creation. It is God’s creation that we all recognize as something only an all-powerful God can do, and he creates these places to please his human creation. Only he could have created the beauty, complexity and diversity by connecting sky, land, and water. God’s creation physically sustains us, but it also spiritually sustains us. Psalm 8 connects God’s name and his majesty---they cannot be disconnected. The first verse says: “how majestic is your name.”
The name of God refers to the being of God and encompasses all of his attributes. Much of this Psalm 8 talks about his natural creation. What’s more relevant is that it also talks about how God gave man dignity and responsibility for his creation. If the whole universe is small in the sight of the Divine Creator, how much less significant are we? Yet, these verses continually stress the significance of humans, who were created in the image and likeness of God to exercise dominion over the rest of creation.
1 Chronicles 29:11 says “Yours, Lord, is the kingdom and the glory and the splendor for everything is heaven and earth is yours.” In Job 3 37:22 we read “Out of the north he comes in golden splendor, God comes in awesome majesty.” In the Old Testament, God’s majesty is recognized and appreciated. There’s a momentous change, though, in the New Testament. God’s majesty is expressed though his son Jesus. In Peter 1:16-17, God says “This is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” And then in Jude 1:24-25, “I present before you with great joy the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forever more! Amen.”
It’s much easier to recognize physical majesty than to relate it to a name. But we have a God whose name is “I AM,” and that covers any and all words we humans could use to describe him. Our world may be flawed as a result of human failure, but the majesty of our Lord’s creation is still visible in his fingerprints on the natural world, the wilderness, and in human beings who reflect the Creator’s beauty. He did make us in his image, after all.
We thank you, Lord, for your physical creation and also for your marvelous creation of we humans!