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Numerous authors wrote many different types of Psalms over long periods of time. So, it’s less like a “book” and more like a collection. And there are a lot of ways we could approach this collection of 150 different pieces. The Psalms deal with this idea in 3 ways:

1.    Location

a.    Praise, thanksgiving, who God is, how God provided

2.    Dislocation

a.    We don’t pretend the world is other than it really is
b.    Demands we don’t withhold anything from God
c.    Requires a God who is present in the “dark times” of life
d.    No matter how raw, always directed to God

3.    Relocation

a.    Starts with dislocation/disorientation – lament, change (ever heard of the book Who Moved My Cheese?)
b.    New place, new understanding
c.    God brings about transformation

Often the Psalms will journey through some or all of these ideas in the same Psalm. And we can feel these at the beginning of a new year.

Knowing your TRUE location (your pinpoint position) is really important, even if it’s not a pretty picture. If we aren’t honest about our location, things will come apart.

When we figure out our location, whether with GPS, or just us, it’s always about other things. That’s how navigation works. But it’s what you do when you’re in a room or are finding your way around a new place. So first, you establish some reference points that you work from.

That’s why when it’s completely pitch black, you’re lost. Think of when you walk into a room in your house, and the lights are off. You know it well enough that you feel your way around, establish reference points, and go from there.

Many significant problems we’ve encountered happened when we lost our sense of location (our reference points).

We see this in the Psalms.

  • Relationship Goes South – The person isn’t who you thought, or maybe you’re not who you thought. Something happened that showed you that.
  • Finances Change – A change in job status or a decision goes differently than anticipated.
  • Something Bad Happens in the World – Things aren’t how we thought they would be.
  • Not Always Bad Things – We discover that people have many problems when they suddenly get rich. Ask anyone who’s managed a family inheritance with siblings. It’s because the reference points have been messed with.

Many of the problems we have with God are because our sense of location – our reference points – are off.    

At the beginning of a new year, it’s really important we know where we’re located as people. Not where we think we are, where we hope we are, or where other people have told us we are, but where we actually are.

Worship, this thing we do for a few songs every Sunday, but more importantly, do with our lives, is all about location.

1.    We sing good things about God. That’s locating God. It’s defines who He is, what He’s capable of, what He stands for, and what He’s done. That’s a good start, but it’s not the whole picture.

2.    We sing about how God affects us, how we feel, or what we’ll do in our lives. That’s a good start to locating us, but it’s not the whole picture.

More completely, worship is 3 things

  • Knowing and living out who God really is
  • Knowing and living out who we really are in God’s eyes
  • Knowing and living out how the distance is covered between us
Psalm 8
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.

This first part locates God.

Have you seen a winter sunset? It’s the most majestic thing you could imagine. Nature is one of the places we can go to see God clearly. The original text says, “above the heavens.” So think of the most majestic thing you can, and top it!

But then David goes to the opposite.

“Children and infants” are a picture of weakness. Yet, out of this weakness, simplicity, God builds a tower of strength.

  • He could say, “out of the swords of kings and warriors,” but he doesn’t.
  • It’s easy to see God in the big stuff. What about the small stuff, the unlikely stuff, or the weak stuff? 
  • Weakness is a place where we get our location messed up. The world around us prizes strength. But then the Bible says stuff like, “God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12)  

That’s really good news for how some of our lives feel right now! It’s not about us powering up enough that God notices. It’s actually the opposite.

Psalm 8
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?

So, in light of all the vastness of the universe, the power, the bigness, why would God even NOTICE humanity?

But David isn’t asking IF God notices. He’s marveling that he’s MINDFUL. We are on God’s mind. He pays attention to us. You’re on His mind. He’s paying attention to you.

That’s a really uncomfortable idea for some of us.


It makes some of us want to hide. We don’t want God to see what we see in us. Some of us really struggle with this idea of God being anything but distant.

The English translation loses verse 4 a bit – it’s saying that God sees our humanity, our frailty, our weakness, and is drawn to it, and drawn to a relationship with us!

God sees our screw-ups, shortcomings, and the best and worst of what makes us human, and He moves toward it!    

A Holy, perfect God who created endless stars, galaxies, planets, and all creatures and creation. We’ve caught His attention, and He moves in our direction – not to crush or condemn us, but because it catches His heart.

Remember how worship – a psalm like this – is about location. It’s locating God, locating us, and knowing how the distance is covered between us.

That’s what Jesus does.

It’s not that our shortcomings, our sins, are missed or ignored. On the contrary, they’re covered by the work of Jesus on the cross.

This is the place where we so often need to be relocated. To know where we truly are.

  1. It’s easy to make God too small.
  2. It’s easy to make ourselves too big – we become God.
  3. But it’s also easy to make ourselves smaller than God makes us, and even worse to have a wrong picture of how God sees humanity and how He covers the distance.

One of the problems with many preachers and worship songs is that they portray a view of us that we are slime and that God is really ticked off. That’s not what David is saying in this Psalm, and it’s not what we discover about God.

Psalm 8
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their 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!

David is saying we’ve been given a place of honor. We’re NOT God, but we’re valuable. We’ve been crowned with glory and honor and given responsibility in the world. Worship isn’t just singing, it’s when we LIVE those realities out in the world.

So, what can we do?

  1. Get in touch with the majesty of God – Capture as big of a picture as you can, however you have to do that, wherever you have to. Keep both your picture of the world and God big!
  2. Hold onto what God really says about you – You are NOT God. You are flawed, broken, weak, and a sinner. You don’t see and understand things for how they really are, but you are not worthless, insignificant, or unnoticed. You are valuable and deeply loved above all else in creation. And Jesus, if you accept him and receive what he’s done, has covered your sin so that you can stand in confidence and hope.
  3. Remember how God covers the distance between – How does He come to you? He sees our humanity and is drawn to it. God so loved the world that He gave His only son, Jesus. To close the gap, to bridge the distance. Receive the gift, but then live in reality. Live, act, work, and love as one who brings this reality into the lives and world of those around you.

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