The Challenge of the Stars
What is mankind that you are mindful of them? Psalm 8:4
In the early twentieth century, Italian poet F. T. Marinetti launched Futurism, an artistic movement that rejected the past, scoffed at traditional ideas of beauty, and glorified machinery instead. In 1909, Marinetti wrote his Manifesto of Futurism, in which he declared “contempt for women,” praised “the blow with the fist,” and asserted, “We want to glorify war.” The manifesto concludes: “Standing on the world’s summit we launch once again our insolent challenge to the stars!”
Five years after Marinetti’s manifesto, modern warfare began in earnest. World War I did not bring glory. Marinetti himself died in 1944. The stars, still in place, took no notice.
King David sang poetically of the stars but with a dramatically different outlook. He wrote, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3–4). David’s question isn’t one of disbelief but of amazed humility. He knew that the God who made this vast cosmos is indeed mindful of us. He notices every detail about us—the good, the bad, the humble, the insolent—even the absurd.
It’s pointless to challenge the stars. Rather, they challenge us to praise our Creator.
By Tim Gustafson
REFLECT & PRAY
What current philosophies or movements can you think of that leave no room for God? What reminds you of your Creator, and how does that prompt you to praise Him?
Heavenly Father, I acknowledge Your love for me with feelings of amazement, awe, and humility. Who am I? Thank You for loving me!
Psalm 8 lifts God as the Lord of all creation (v. 9). The psalmist confesses that the sky with its moon and stars—seen by the nations around Israel as gods—is simply the “work of [God’s] fingers” (v. 3).
In light of God’s immense power, the psalmist is humbled and amazed by the high place God has given humanity, who are entrusted to care for creation (vv. 6–8) and are “crowned . . . with glory and honor” (v. 5). The description we find in Psalm 8 of the dignity given to human beings is especially remarkable when compared to other ancient Near Eastern literature, which describe men and women as created to be slaves for the gods who then wavered over whether their existence was worth the trouble.
Monica La Rose