The highest heavens belong to Yahweh; this is the covenant name of God (similar to the Hebrew verb “to be” / “to live” -- pronounced with the Hebrew breath sounds – YHWH). He is the God who gives breath and life. (This name is used over 6000 times in the Old Testament and is often translated ‘Lord’.) For the Hebrew people the name of God reminds them they are in covenant relationship with God; the God who not only gives life, but the God who saves / delivers. (It speaks of His redeeming work, His mercy, grace and compassion.)
The Psalmist says, the highest heavens belong to this God – Yahweh. And the earth He has given to man / mankind. The term ‘heaven’ speaks of the realm of God’s rule / reign / authority, where things are as God intends them to be. Earth is given to these funny creators called human beings. God has given them a measure of rule / reign / authority.
In Genesis 1:28 – God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth subdue it. Rule over -- bring into subjection / creatively order / arrange the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. The truth in Psalm 115:16 is rooted in the creation story.
We wonder, as the story unfolds, what is man going to do with this sacred trust? How will he steward this rule / authority given to him by God? Will the exercising of this rule / authority reflect / honour the heart of the Creator? Or will it be more about man, his will, his ways, and his desires? Can he work in harmony with God’s plan for the world? Or will he do his own thing?
Each of us faces that choice; each of has a realm of authority whereby we seek to exercise our will, our ways, our desire. The challenge is to submit to the One who has ultimate authority; to work out His purposes in our sphere of influence—in harmony with one another and the world around us. It’s not about us! It’s about God; His kingdom, His will, His ways—His rule and reign and authority!
We can live under God’s rule and authority and still exercise the authority /rule He has given or we can do our own thing and bring a little more heaven to our earth. The closer we are to God, the more we will reflect His heart, His grace, His will and ways in our world.
This is fundamental to who we are as a child of God, a follower of Christ. It is fundamental to who we are as a local church. As we understand the truth about heaven and earth – we can then look at what it means to be a people who bring heaven to earth! Stay tuned!