This Psalm is a beautiful, majestic portrayal of the greatness of God and also the greatness, dignity, and glory of human beings. The writer of this Psalm had a more noble vision of God and man. It has a depth of meaning that many have not perceived as yet. The barriers of human consciousness that depict human beings as weaklings must be broken if we are to be able to accept the truth about ourselves, our Real Self, and through this Real Self, the great potential of the human self.
Jesus quoted from this Psalm trying to get his disciples to realize and accept a higher vision. The Psalmist tells us that God is a bulwark against all foes and enemies and avengers. The foes may be our own human thoughts that put us down when we are confronted with challenges or when we are trying to do something good for ourselves or for others. The negative thought may suggest to us that we are weak or that we do not have the ability or intelligence to do what should and could be done if we only had a dynamic, positive, and constructive attitude. God is our protection from this negative thought that always seems to surface when we least want it to.
God is also our protection from those individuals who would seek to take advantage of us or try to harm us. When we abide in the consciousness of trust our soul radiates a force field that is a very real protection from the evil intents and actions of other people. Many people do not know of this powerful, protecting influence. They do not realize tha negative pessimistic thinking weakens this field of protection and thereby they are inviting others, unconsciously of course, to take advantage of them or even harm them. It is an invisible field of power but it is very real.
Not all the writers of the Psalms had the same degree of perception that this writer had. This writer was truly an advanced thinker. He was beginning to realize the unlimited potential of God. He beheld the greatness of the outer world. He looked up into the heavens, and even though he might not have been thinking of space as we do today, nevertheless he was awed at the vastness of the universe; the moon and the stars that seem so near are yet so far. He hadn’t realized the part that he and all of us play in the manifestation of the universe. But he was getting close to this realization.
He was like so many of us today. We are reluctant, fearful, apprehensive, and timid in our thinking about our place in the universe and the part we have played and the part we will continue to play in its continued existence. The Psalmist thinks of God as an artist that paints a picture but he has left man out. God is the manifesting power of the universe but Man is the co-director of this great power. The outer universe is a manifestation of man’s collective consciousness. This is true whether we believe it or not. We may attribute the negative atmospheric happenings to God but they are really due to humanity’s lack of awareness of his power to control these events. These negative expressions of weather are manifestations of negative consciousness. This is a very complex condition that takes place in consciousness and since we know very little about the power of consciousness we simply attribute these happenings to God. But God does not cause negative things to happen. When we work constructively and harmoniously with God and work in harmony with His universal laws, the outer universe manifests this harmony.
We too can go out at night and stand in awe of the universe that we behold. When we look at the stars we know they are millions of light years out in space. We look at infinite space and we know that there is so much that we do not know. What is yet to be discovered is a million or more times than what little we do know now. We will discover new wonders not only about outer space, but new wonders about ourselves.
The Psalmist asks that question that you and I have asked so many times, “What is man ...” Our opinion of man is getting better all the the time. Improvement comes slowly because we are rather timid and reluctant to think well of ourselves even though we might want to. We do not want to be considered an egotist. An egotist is one who does have a misconception of himself. He attributes power, ability, and success to his personal effort. However, the human being who recognizes the truth as Jesus did is a spiritual egotist. He realizes in all humility as did Jesus, “Of mine own self I can do nothing.” This is not putting ourselves down. It is only recognizing that the human, personal self is nothing without the power of God. Jesus went on to say, “The Father in me can do all things.” As the Father worked and expressed and did mighty wonders through Jesus, so can the Father do mighty wonders through you and me if we only have the courage to think more positively about ourselves.
Philosophers and religious thinkers have been pondering the question, “What is man?” for thousands of years. Their opinions have run from the ridiculous to the sublime. Most of the opinions have been ridiculous and false. The Bible gives us the most glorious definition of man. We are told that we are created in the image and likeness of God. That is a bold declaration but we haven’t been taught to accept such a noble thought about ourselves. Instead we have been taught to accept the fact that we are weak, miserable sinners.
If you want to know an even bolder idea, then listen to what Jesus said. He quoted Psalm 82:6 saying, “I say, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you.’ “ He did not say that only good people were gods or even sons of God. He said everyone is God. This is true, for the image and likeness of God, the Real Self, is within every person, no matter who that person may be or what condition that person may be in at this moment.
In Genesis it goes on to tell us that man was given power and dominion over all creation. The potential to control every aspect of our lives is within us because God, the changeless, eternal, perfect power of creation is within us. This perfect image of God is never altered or changed by what we may do or by what someone may do to us.
The “son of man” is the human manifestation of the spiritual man. It is the human ego that has lost conscious contact with spiritual man. Because of this loss of contact the human manifestation has lost much of its capability. Limitations have come about. It seems, according to appearances, that we are powerless. We are not even able to maintain our existence in the glorious Temple, the body, that is a part of our truth heritage. At one time in our existence we lived for thousands of years in the body. We may have thought that we came into existence when we were born but this is a shortsighted view of ourselves. The Bible tells us that Methuselah lived almost a thousand years. We are only now getting around to wanting to live long lives again. At one time we were at such a low level of existence that the average was only about thirty-five years. We have improved on that considerably but we are nowhere near our true potential.
One day we will live even longer than Methuselah and it will not be a boring life. It will not be a sickly life. It will be a vibrant, healthy, powerful life. We will not be limited to the confines of the planet or even this galaxy in which we now exist.
The Psalmist then tells us how great the potential of the human being really is. We have missed seeing and understanding this potential due to the timidity of the translators of the King James version of the Bible. The King James version says that man is a little lower than the angels. But when we read the true translation it goes like this, “Yet thou had made him little less than God, and does crown him with glory and honor.” The King James translators must have been very timid about proclaiming the truth about man. The Psalm was originally written in Hebrew and it specifically says “Elohim”, meaning God. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into the Greek, the translators used “angelos”, angels, instead of God, and this error was carried over into the English. So the true translation is “a little less than God” and not “a little lower than angels.”
We are getting to the place where we can think more nobly about ourselves. We are overcoming the “sinner and worm” complex and opening our minds to the truth. As the Psalmist says, God crowns him with glory and honor. We are overcoming the human opinions of others who think we cannot do much. We are overcoming the negative views of pessimistic religious thinkers. The Psalmist reminds us, “Thou has given him dominion over the works of thy hands.” That is a powerful statement. Can you imagine having dominion over your life to the extent that Jesus had dominion over his life? Dominion means control but it is control only under spiritual law. We must seek to know, understand, and obey or apply the laws of life as they should be applied. When we do, the Bible tells us that we can “eat the good of the land.” This is a figure of speech meaning that we have the ability to manifest whatever might be needed to care for any of our needs. We do not want selfish control over others. We only want to serve, express, and be of benefit to others.
The Psalmist goes on to say, “Thou hast put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.” All things under his feet means that control comes through spiritual understanding. It is an understanding that all manifestations must be in harmony with universal law. The human ego wants to do things its own way. It looks for ways around the law but it will never find the way around. The easy way is to obey the law. Obedience brings forth the greatest blessings.
When will the greatness of spiritual man come to pass? It has already come to pass for many. There are many individuals throughout the universe who are living on the high Jesus Christ level of consciousness and existence. Jesus is our supreme example. The “angels” are others who have become free of human bondage. They are no longer afraid to think and accept the noble idea of what man really is, the Son of God. We do not have to wait until everyone in the world is ready to accept this high vision. It is a matter of individual choice. If you want to wait for your present family and friends to come along with you, you may do so. It may be an awful long wait, however. It will take a lot of courage to make the break with human bondage. The Jews were reluctant to accept their freedom when Moses led them out of Egypt. Many wanted to go back rather than accept the challenge of growth and progress. It takes courage to think the truth. It takes boldness to think the great ideas that the Psalmist is revealing to us in this beautiful Psalm. It will take dedication and persistence. It will take a sincere craving and desire to follow the light of the inner Lord.
The story is told of two individuals who were discussing their problems. One said to the other that he consulted his astrological chart about his problem. The friend said, “I did not know you believed in astrology,” The friend then answered, saying, “I believe a little bit in many things.” That kind of believing is not good enough. We must believe wholeheartedly in the indwelling Lord. He will show us the truth that will set us free. He will direct our paths. He will bless us, strengthen us, encourage us, and comfort us, for He is our help in every need.
© 1985, Jim Lewis
All rights reserved by the author.
Reprinted with permission.