What is Man? (Job 7:17-18)

What is man that You magnify him,
And that You are concerned about him,
That You examine him every morning
And try him every moment?

Job 7:17-18

The psalmist would ask the same question: What is man that You are mindful of him? This is the all-important question. It doesn’t seem like it on the surface. On the surface, it is Job lamenting how difficult his life is and wondering why God pays any attention to mankind at all. I need to be very careful how I answer this question in my heart and mind, because the answer to this question changes everything.

Genesis 1:27 says God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. The reason for God’s intense interest in mankind is that we are made in His image. An artist making a statue will often get very close to that statue in order to winkle out every flaw and smooth every rough spot away so that the statue is perfect; a likeness true to its original. Consider that individual people are like that statue. We are made in the image of God; in His likeness. It then follows quite naturally that He would be deeply concerned with whether or not any given individual is a faithful representation of the original.

God is deeply and abidingly concerned about mankind for the very reason that He created mankind in His image. Male and female are both expressions of Who and what God is. I do not fully understand that and will not attempt to explain it, but I know it to be true as Genesis 1:27 declares it to be so. My answer to the question “What is man?” changes things. It changes whether or not ethics and morality are rational and necessary parts of my life. It changes my purpose; my raison d’être. It quite literally changes everything.

Job asks the question in despair, wondering why God bothers. However, the question must be kept before me in all seriousness. The answer changes everything.


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