The Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre in Paris, shielded behind bulletproof glass. In 1911, the painting was stolen and went missing for two years. It has been attacked four times, with acid, a rock, red paint, and even a teacup hurled by an angry woman. The curators have struggled to balance protecting the valuable painting with making it possible for people to see it.
Today’s psalm talks about the value God places on us, His treasured creation. Notice that the beginning and end of this psalm are identical. The psalmist begins and ends by praising the LORD’s majestic name (vv. 1, 9). God is transcendent, high above us. The Creator is clearly given precedence over His creation.
The middle verses of the psalm describe how the Creator values us. The psalmist observes the glory of the world around him, including the magnificence of the night sky. It is impossible for humans not to be awed by Creation. It encompasses our existence and surrounds us by God’s presence. But we may sometimes forget that God is also mindful of us (v. 4).
God had a specific design for humans. First, we are made “a little lower than the heavenly beings.” Second, we are placed above the animal kingdom, including the birds and the fish (vv. 6–7). This points back to the Creation account in which Adam and Eve were given dominion over the animal kingdom (see Gen. 1:26). Created in God’s image, we were made to serve as “ruler” over this part of His creation.
The beauty of God’s creation should make us aware of His presence. We, like the psalmist, should be overwhelmed by the fact that God, the Creator of the universe, is mindful of us and values us (v. 4).