Who are you? The Who released a song by this name on August 18, 1978, but human beings have been contemplating this question since the dawn of time. Really–who are we? Science officially categorizes us as animals; the older translations of the Bible refer to us as part of “all flesh–” and so we are, because we have skin and bones and muscle and blood, as do other primates and mammals. Yet there is nonetheless a distinction between us and them–God gifted us the ability to contemplate our existence, rather than simply function to survive.
“What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” (Psalms 8:4-6 NKJV)
I quoted the older and more archaic sounding New King James translation because it retains an important phrase, “that You visit Him.” Many newer translations merely rephrase the thought that God notices us, but it is significant that not only does God notice and pay attention to us, He actually cares about and thinks enough of us to come down to our level and visit us–to relate to, look for a relationship with; ultimately become a human being Himself in the person of Christ Jesus to let us experience genuine fellowship with Him! This is profound and highly significant, because as far as we can tell, it is not something He has given any other living being.
There is another difference between us and every other beautiful creature God has populated our world with–we have been designated their caretakers. The specific verse where He grants us this authority and privilege is:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26 NKJV)
Some bristle at the word “dominion,” imagining this gives license to be cruel overlords, but that is not at all God’s intent. He is kind and loving; as the highest of everything He made on Earth, of “all flesh,” we are commissioned to reflect that care and concern by being kind and loving managers of the remainder of His creation! But enough about them and our duty towards them–what about us? Who are we humans?
Forgive me, but as I get older I have actually been pulling back and contemplating my physical existence more–not unlike King David of old, who penned today’s verses, did. Think about it: my perspective–my consciousness–is from within my person, my physical body. My eyes see outward from this marvelous creation that houses my consciousness; I can operate my body–lift my hands, move my feet, blink my eyelids. I operate–my consciousness of self comes–from within this physical body, yet it is still “flesh;” ultimately my body is incredibly frail and will shut down at some point.
So here’s the question. If we are so frail, just another form of “flesh,” ultimately so seemingly insignificant in light of everything that exists, both on this planet and anywhere else–why does God care about me? Why would He even pay attention to us?
I don’t know the answer to this question, but the amazing part that even King David marveled about is that though we are ultimately nothing–God does care about us!
And this is why we should be yet more amazed and grateful; that though our lives are short and we, regardless of how accomplished we might personally feel, are really quite insignificant within the cosmos–God notices me! He loves me! He cares about me!! Not because of who I am, but because of who He is!
And because of that, I have purpose. My life has meaning speaking the gospel to everyone I can–this message that God cares about us mere humans. This message that even though we are so very much not right on our own–we know it if we’re honest with ourselves–when we finally give in to Him, He accepts us with open arms and forgives all wrongness and makes us right and loved, in and through Jesus Christ!
So, “what is man, that You are mindful of him?” The answer is that because of Jesus–His life, death and resurrection–in and through Him we are no longer specks in an uncaring universe; we are “…God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” (Colossians 3:12)
Thank You!!! Amen.