Friday, January 20, 2012

A Dog's Perspective On A Psalm

It seems like just about every pet owner is either a ‘dog person’ or a ‘cat person’. Sure, you’ll find an occasional person who has both, but you can usually determine pretty quickly which is their favorite.
I have always been a ‘dog person’, although I have had a cat or two over the years. While having a preference for dogs, cats have not been an option since I got married because my wife is allergic to cats.
And that suits me just fine. Not that my wife is allergic, but that we don’t have cats.
My son recently related a joke to me which I think really pinpoints the difference between dogs and cats: In explaining their relationship with people, the animals may respond as follows:
Dog: “He feeds me, he loves me, he takes care of all my needs – he must be God!”
Cat: “He feeds me, he loves me, he takes care of all of my needs – I must be God!”
Always ready to find some humor at cats’ expense, I got a little chuckle out of that. However, the timing of hearing that joke coincided with a two-day focus on Psalm 8, which gave me a new perspective on that passage. In that passage, David says:
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, . . .
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers -
the moon and the stars you set in place -
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority[.]
(Psalm 8:1-6, NLT)
When I meditate on that passage in light of the dog/cat ‘joke’, I see things that are no joking matter at all. While even the non-believing world can sense God from the glory of His creation (see Romans 1:20), I think that very often believers take the ‘cat perspective’ of creation and God’s provision to develop the idea that ‘it’s all about us’. We can acknowledge that God made it all, and is in control of it all, but we start thinking He did it for us and for our enjoyment.
That ‘cat perspective’ spills over into our prayer life which invariably focuses on what God can do for us to make our life better, easier, or more enjoyable.
We determine our worship service preferences based on what appeals to us, what we like, and what we get out of it.
We seldom (if ever) step out of our comfort zone because, well, you know – God wired me this way so I’ll just stick to what He predisposed me to do.
Pretty soon we’ve taken this vast, incomprehensible, glorious creation and placed ourselves smack dab in the center of it. And now it all revolves around us.
But that isn’t the perspective David had when he penned this particular Psalm. No, David had the ‘dog perspective’ of creation and His Creator.
David knew that he didn’t have to - and that he could in fact never – completely grasp the magnitude of God’s majesty and glory which could be observed (even though only partially) in the creation. And he knew what an illogical and unreal concept it was that the One Who made everything would actually reach out in love, grace, and mercy to a tiny, seemingly inconsequential created ‘thing’ like him in the vastness of all there is.
David realized that it was all about Him (capital ‘H’), not him (David). David felt the awe of being known and loved by a power beyond imagination – the Lord God Almighty. And it made him want to praise.
I have two ‘outside’ dogs and one ‘inside’ dog. When I drive in the gate in the evening, the two outside dogs come running, jumping and wagging their tails in such excitement to see me. They have no clue what I did during the day, what I’ve thought about, or what may be on my mind. They are just ecstatic that I’m home. The inside dog sees me pull in the garage from a side window. He then rushes to meet me at the back door, unable to contain his excitement to see me.
Those three dogs certainly enjoy being fed. They love for me to play with them. A good tummy rub is always satisfying to them. But more than anything else, they want to be with me, in my presence. They know that I’m different from them – I’m not a dog – but they eagerly desire to be around me.
How about you – what kind of perspective does a passage like Psalm 8 give you?
Are you content to go about your day seeking your own comfort and pleasure, using God for whatever you can get from Him? Or are you so overwhelmed with joy in anticipation of being in His presence that nothing else really matters?
Do you have a list of things you want God to do for you? Or does your awestruck adoration of Him prompt you to seek ways you can serve Him?
Have you let the consistency and abundance of God’s creation dull you to how amazing and breath-taking it really is? Or does the glory and majesty of the evidence of His handiwork draw you inescapably toward Him?
Do you spend time asking God ‘why’, or ‘where’, or ‘how’? Or do you look to Him and just say ‘WOW!’?
David understood the juxtaposition of an infinite, omnipotent Deity and a microscopic, created ‘speck’ in the overall scheme of creation. And David understood that the Creator reached out to ‘the created’ and made him His own.
Yes, indeed – He must be God.

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