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Jamie Johnson
February 7, 2016

What is Man?

Toddlers consider themselves big - autonomous. They regularly demonstrate something called egocentrism, that is, that the notion that they are the center of the universe. Some stay that way into adulthood. Some "grow out of it" and realize just how small they are in the grand scheme of things - in the world, in history, in the universe. Even the most renown among us are small. James 4:14 (NASB) says, "...[Y]ou do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." We are but a vapor. Time does seem faster as one grows older. We conclude it elapses quickly as if the span of time is short. Yet, it's not an if. The span of time we are here is really that small.

A frequent word in the book of Ecclesiastes is "meaningless." The Hebrew word is hebel and is defined as vanity coming from the noun for vapor or breath (source: Bible Hub). It can also be defined as delusion, emptiness, fleeting, fraud, futility, nothing, useless, vanity of vanities and worthless (source: Bible Hub). This is not to make us feel bad, but to show the reality of just how small we are in the universe. Ecclesiastes 1 illustrates this with bookends. Verse 4a (NIV) says, "Generations come and generations go" and is book-ended by verse 11, which says the following:

No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.

In the book of Job, there are chapters of Job and his "friends" conversing and even Job, a mere man, getting it wrong as he questions God. Chapters 38 through 42 show God emerging on the scene to set the record straight. God is God and man is man. God is big and man is small. Job 42:1-6 (NASB) shows Job seeing how small he is and the misunderstanding he has when considering the greatness of God:

Then Job answered the Lord and said,
I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?'
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."
'Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.'
"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes."

Job is humble to the point of repentance and grief! Isaiah captures this when he approaches God in Isaiah 6:1-5 (NASB):

In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said,

"Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory."

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. Then I said,

"Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts."

So what can we conclude about man? Are we big or small in the grand scheme of things? We are quite small! That begs another question: If man is so small, then what is man that the great and glorious God, Creator of the universe, is mindful of him? Let's look at four instances where this question is considered.

God is mindful of man in times when man is feeling futile, when man considers His works and offers praise and sees purpose, when man wonders why and considers Christ and when man is in need. Do you think God doesn't notice you? Think again! We've already considered how He demonstrates this through Christ. Just how mindful is He? He went to great lengths for mankind. The God of the universe, before Whom Job repented in grief and Isaiah declared being undone, arrived as the Baby of Bethlehem. That alone is great lengths. It would be a greater discrepancy than any of us becoming a gnat. And He did not stop there! Consider Philippians 2:5-11 (NASB):

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He gave up everything! He went through great lengths for mankind because He is mindful of man. Do you matter to God? Yes! Are you trusting His perfect demonstration of this in Christ? Do you receive this gift that He has provided? Is the Holy Spirit moving in you today to trust the perfect work, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ? If you have trusted Christ, live a life of gratitude. Live for Christ. He was mindful of you. Be mindful of Him.


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