What Is Man?
“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment?” (Job 7:17-18)
Job, a righteous man in the midst of his great trial, asks rhetorically of God, “What is man...?” From the perspective of his pleas and his complaint to God we understand that Job is asking of God, "What is the value of man?" What is the value of this life, what is the value of all the things that man does in the sight of God, and what is the value of a man’s life to God? Job is not the only Biblical character to ask this question either; King David in accounting through praise the great majesty of God, the literal bigness and overwhelming grandeur in glory, esteem and power of God, would say in Psalm 8:4, “What is man that you are mindful of him...?” In other words, compared to You God, in all your great ways and unfathomable power, Your high position and authority... what is man that you care about him? What value is man to You, THE Lord, only Living God and Father? What is man?
Sadly today there are many who do not know their own value. Through rejection, scorn, teasing, and lonely condition, many see the avenue of suicide an acceptable option in face of a world where there is more value of life in a microscopic speck of dust that could POSSIBLY at one time have been a live bacteria on Mars, than there is in the kicking, rolling child in the womb of a pregnant woman.
Consider that for a moment; say a picture showed many animals and the caption read “Life.” Then below it was a picture of trees and ferns and the caption read, “Life.” And below that a picture of many insects, caption again reading “Life.” Below that scum that you see growing on your bathroom wall? The caption, “Life.” Below that a picture of microscopic bacteria and viruses, “Life.” Then finally below them all a picture of an unborn child in their mother’s womb with hands, arms, feet, head, and face, the caption reading, “pregnancy tissue” (Source: planned parenthood website). What value do we put on life, on a man?
So many deal with depression, feelings of worthlessness, thoughts that no one would miss them if they were gone, that they don’t matter, that there is no hope, and that no one could possibly understand. Sound familiar?
Despite so many issues in this world, so much pain and suffering, there are SO FEW who turn to God’s Word to find answers. Who knows if a number could be applied to those who turn to God, maybe 10%, 5%, 1%? In the face of the staggering numbers of those who see life as having no value either through their thoughts of what life is, or their thoughts of how senseless life seems to be, shouldn’t that percentage be much higher?
Many believe God does not care about them; I believed that (Note: believe[d]). Many sinners have come to Christ from many different sins (1 Corinthians 6:9-11); I am no different. How does someone get out of the mindset that there is no value in this life, or that life is of no value? What IS Man? To God, saying He doesn’t care is like slapping Him directly in the face. Nothing could be further from the Truth. No lie greater than that one I believed, and that many believe. Job asking, what is man compared to you God, King David asking, what is man that you think about him; to God, man, His creation, is of the highest value.
Let’s look briefly and consider a few things:
1) God made man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1; 9:6; James 9:6)
2) God gave man a high position (Psalm 8:5)
3) God gave man authority (Genesis 1:26, 28)
4) God gave man purpose (Genesis 1:28; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Matthew 28:19-20; Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 5-6:9; Philippians 2:3-8)
5) God gave man all that he needs to survive (Genesis 1:29-30; Matthew 6:25-34)
6) God set His Heart on man (Job 7:17-18)
7) God Values man more than other creation (More than; birds of the air - Matthew 6:26; sheep - Matthew 12:10-13; ox and donkey - Luke 13:11-17)
8) God looks for us when we are lost (Parable of Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son - Luke 15)
9) God adopted man, gave him an inheritance and made him an heir (Romans 8:12-17; Ephesians 1:3-14, 3:6)
10) God gave Justice and is Justifier by way of His Only Son, Jesus the Christ, so that man could be together with Him in Heaven (John 3:16; Romans 3:21-26). And one more thought on this: Jesus, God the Son, would leave Heaven, become a servant (the lowliest of men), take on the Sin of all men, and die a criminal’s death and a cursed death (the worst possible death) for man.
What is Man? In just these few verses, God has demonstrated that to Him, man is HIS. The value of man to God is immense! The entirety of the Bible is a love letter that God is writing to His creation, to mankind, saying again and again that mankind is valuable, mankind is desired, mankind is loved, and that He has done more than we can actually understand to make possible a HOPE that we could know Him, see His character, and see Him face to face one day.
God calls out to mankind, demonstrating that He wants more than anything else that we should have a relationship with Him. To know Him, touch, taste, and see that His ways are good, and to have life forever with Him again one day. He wants this so much that He gave the life of His Son for it. And again He patiently waits for all mankind to come to Him, not wanting ANY to perish away from Him (1 Timothy 2:1-4; 2 Peter 3:9). I was so wrong to say that God does not care; I valued life so little in comparison to the great value God puts on man.
This then begs the question; what is it we value? Go ahead and put a number on the things in this world that you value. Maybe a house is $150,000; a car, $20,000; a job is rewarded in status; whatever it may be, put a value on it. Now make no mistake, none of these things are wrong to have--certainly God blesses us with many worldly possessions; that’s not what I’m getting at. But in this exercise, determine the thing you value, put a value on it, and give it a name, and then ask yourself out loud for your own ears to hear: “Knowing how much God values me, do I value (name the thing you value) more than I value Him?” Because I can tell you this: WHATEVER thing you value in this life more than God will be the thing you hate the most for all eternity while in torment away from God once this life is over.
What is man, what are you to God? You, personally, are worth all that God can give.
Adapted from a lesson by Brother Bruce Hastings, New Lebanon Church of Christ