SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON/An Infinite Wonder
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 12:00 AM
"Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth?" (Psalm 113: 5-6)
I stood there for the longest span of moments just studying and contemplating the tiny creatures (moles) which had created such an intricate network of subterranean tunnels throughout the yard, seemingly overnight. And as my attention hovered over this find, I began to consider the curious nature of my own action - the very act of spending time in the pondering of such a small and insignificant creature. Think about it. You and I walk over the sphere of ants and insects every day without giving them a single thought. We pass through atmosphere which is filled with teeming masses of flying insects of all sorts - without considering them in the slightest (unless they get too close). In other words, unless we are of a scientific bent, we do not bother ourselves with such tiny and insignificant things as these. So why do you figure that God should take notice of you and me?
That's the puzzlement that occupies the mind of the Psalmist here - that a God of such vastness, such infinite grandeur and majesty, should stoop to give thought to creatures of such humble existences as man. It blows his mind to imagine such a thing - this God of measureless glory - this One who exists in such lofty and high estate far above all creation - that He would ever consider man as worthy of more than a passing glance is beyond understanding. And yet, this is precisely what God does - and much, much more!
The text tells us that God "humbles Himself to behold" the things in heaven and on earth. This curious expression means that He "stoops" or "bends down" to contemplate things which are infinitely below Him. The verb means "to make oneself low" - that is to bend down. This is what God does - He stoops to consider, as Spurgeon puts it, "the insignificance and nothingness of man".
In Psalm 144, David wrestled with the same perplexing thought when he writes: "O Lord, what are mortals that you should take notice of us, mere humans that you should care for us? For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow." Upon reflection, David could hardly even entertain the thought that God would humble Himself to such a level as to give us, not only His thought, but His immeasurable care. When the Scriptures speak of God knowing us, or stooping to know us, it truly is referring to God's affections. In other words, we are being told that not only is God aware of us, but that He loves us and has chosen to shower us (mere humans) with His love and goodness. David's bewilderment stems from this fact that this God of infinite glory should make man (sinful, weak, puny man) the object of His eternal love and should seek to have fellowship with us. If I were to lie down in my yard and spend an entire year talking kindly and singing lullabies to the moles and fire ants - it would still not even come close to the condescension that God has shown us in turning toward us with His own heart as He has done in the sending of Jesus Christ.
In Jesus the Son, God Himself became weak while remaining omnipotent. The Eternal One took on flesh and dwelt among mortals. The All-Sufficient One stooped to become a child which cried when He was hungry. He bent down low to place Himself in the protection of earthly parents even while He remained the very Rock upon Whom the lives of Mary and Joseph rested. The magi brought Him gifts - this One Who owns all things. He humbled Himself to be born into poverty this One Who possessed the riches of heaven. Are you beginning to get the picture? Don't you agree that it is a wonder?
And again, God bends low to behold us - not with abstract curiosity or detached emotions - but with love. The Scriptures tell us "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son". It is with infinite tenderness and abiding concern that God stoops to behold us. Only this fact makes what we find in Isaiah 53 understandable at all - where the Prophet speaks of the humiliation of Jesus' incarnation by telling us: "He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . our griefs he bore and our sorrows he carried . . . He was oppressed . . . crushed . . . smitten . . . afflicted . . . was numbered with the transgressors; yet he himself bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors." Such humble condescension the likes of which the world has never seen before or since - God, motivated by His love for us, stooped to behold us in our sin and came down to raise us up. Just when everything about us would only serve to stir up His disgust of us - God purposed to extend to us His mercy.
This is the joyful story of Christmas. This is the gospel of grace - that we, a disenfranchised, forgotten, and unworthy people should become the objects of God's affection and receive the gift of His Son. May this truth be a blessing unto you this Christmas Season! Let me encourage you to take some time in the coming days to consider the exaltedness of our God, the lowliness of man, and the marvelous display of love which has been shown unto us in the person of Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord.