Spiritually, you are challenged to see a problem. Note the problem by answering two questions. (a) How would you describe the characteristics of a good congregation? (b) How would you describe the goodness of God?
Observation # 1: You likely would not have to pause to begin talking about the characteristics of a good congregation. You likely would have to pause to think about Gods goodness. Observation # 2: The list you gave which have a good congregations characteristics would be longer than your list of Gods qualities of goodness. Question: Does that mean that God is less good than a good congregation? It is assumed most of us would answer that question with an emphatic No!!! Then, if those two observations are correct, what do they mean?
Suggestion: Could it mean we know far too little about God (that we can know through revelation)? Consider some rarely asked questions. Answer them to yourself only about your understanding/attitudes. Does God deserve to be praised? If your answer is yes, why specifically do you consider God deserving of your praise? Do you praise God out of a terror of what might happen to you if you do not praise Him, or because you deeply feel moved to give honor to One truly deserving of honor? If you had zero knowledge of hell and were ignorant of eternal consequences, would you still praise God?
The psalmist praised God in Psalms 8. His motivation was not the terror of hell. Neither was his motivation a sense of eternal consequences. Jesus had not been born. Jesus death on the cross had not occurred. The expressions of grace as you know it, mercy as you know it, sanctification as you know it, justification as you know it, or redemption as you know it had not been revealed. Salvation for all as you know it did not yet exist.
Yet, the psalmist understood that God was praiseworthy. For three reasons, he understood God was praiseworthy: (a) He understood that God was Creator; (b) he looked away from the human sphere of existence and work, and (c) he was impressed with Gods actions on the earth and in the heavens.
He saw God as having a majestic name, as a Being filled with splendor. From the existence of a human infant to the dazzling display of a clear night sky, he saw the evidence of Gods greatness. In the powerless infant, he saw the strength of God. In the amazing night sky he saw the work of Gods fingers. Such displays of power were beyond the power of any enemy.
The psalmist was so dazzled and impressed by the evidences of Gods greatness, people looked vastly inferior. When he compared adult people to what God had done, the comparison was pitiful. It was more than pitifulit was astounding! The infant did not cause God headaches! The stars did not cause God headaches! It was the rebellious adult person that was the source of Gods problems on earth!
The question: Considering Gods obvious power, why does God endure rebellious human adults? Considering human problems are the result of human mistakes, why does God even care about humans? Why not just allow adults to endure the consequences of their behavior? By the investment of God, people have amazing potential! Given the position of the human adult in this world, the human potential defies imagination! The human adult ruled over all God made including sheep, oxen, wild animals, birds, fish, and creatures in general.
Everything, including the infant human, gave witness to Gods greatness and praiseworthiness! All God made bore witness to the majesty of God. (Nothing bore witness to the praiseworthiness of the human adult.)
Most adult humans seem to be impressed with themselves. They particularly seem to be fond of their accomplishments. They surround themselves with what they have done, and they forget what God has done. The more urban they become, the more forgetful they become. The more they limit their exposure to nature, the more impressed with themselves they seem to be. The more they focus on, Look what we did! the less they see what God did.
God made and the adult human utilizes what exists. Everything the adult human utilizes existed thousands of years ago. There is a vast difference between making and utilizing. Though the psalmist did not know or utilize the things you do, he was amazed at Gods majesty. He was most unimpressed with the adult human.
For Thought and Discussion
1. When something is truly great to use or utilize, what is a strong possibility?
2. Spiritually, you are challenged to note a problem by asking what two questions?
3. Give the two observations presented.
4. What suggestion is made?
5. Give four rarely asked questions concerning praising God.
6. In Psalms 8, what was NOT the psalmists motivation for praising God?
7. The psalmist found God praiseworthy for what three reasons?
8. When the psalmist looked at God, what did he see?
9. What was the question?
10. Most adults seem to be impressed with what?
11. There is a vast difference between what?
Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 4
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