OUR MARVELOUS GOD Psalm 8

Dr. Jerry A. Collins

 

Praising God for His creation is a constant theme of the Psalms. Psalm 8 does not praise nature but the God who fashioned it. This may be the only Psalm that is addressed entirely to God. Admiring nature by believers is an acknowledgment of the glory of God. Contemplating the heavens leads to praise. It also provokes a sense of our insignificance. Yet, God intended for humans to have power and authority over the natural world. Without praise for what God has done with humans, they in turn will only pervert and abuse that power. This Psalm marvels that God even gives thought to a human let alone give him dominion over all creation.

 

GODS MAJESTY AS CREATOR IS SEEN BY USING WEAKNESS TO ESTABLISH STRENGTH

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, who have displayed your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease (verses 1-2). The Psalmist directly addresses O Lord with the holy name of Yahweh, Israelís God v 1. He adds our Lord as the sovereign king. So the Psalm acknowledges that Israelís God is the Sovereign Creator. This leads to an exclamation of praise how majestic is Your name in all the earth. Godís name is consistent with His nature as sovereign. To exclaim Gods name is to acknowledge His character. As such, his nature is majestic which means ďlofty, high, noble, splendidĒ in all the earth. That is, the faithful and devout witness to and praise God for his mighty sovereignty over all of creation. Then thereís a declaration that God has displayed your splendor above the heavens! Godís glory above the heavens explains why his name is majestic in all the earth. The point is that Gods majesty on earth and glory in heaven make him the most important person in existence.

 

A specific example of our Gods sovereign majesty is that from the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength v 2. God works through things which appear weak, insufficient, and obscure. Words come from the mouths of infants, but they often express cries for help. These cries may seem insignificant to others, but God hears them whenever the weak and vulnerable cry out in pain or terror, in this case because of Your adversaries. Though many individuals may appear powerless, they have access to divine power. God has ordered things as such. Paul highlights this reality God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong (1 Corinthians 1:27). Psalm 8 states a simple cry for help from the helpless will be heard by God and He will make the enemy and the revengeful cease. His plan is to silence the wicked over against the weak.

Application: Godís sovereign majesty as creator has ordered things so that the righteous can cry to God when weak, vulnerable and threatened. The display of Gods power will be such that only He could get the credit.

 

GODS MAJESTY AS CREATOR IS SEEN BY CARING FOR MERE HUMANS

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? (verses 3-4). When the Psalmist looks at Godís creation, he sees all of it as the work of Your [Godís] fingers, the work of a divine master craftsman v 3. He especially observes the moon and the stars possibly because he was peering into the night skies at the time. Enjoy it now. Revelation 21:23 says about the New Jerusalem and the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The description of creation as by Godís fingers heightens the creative art of the multi-faceted kaleidoscope. Our creator God has taken care like the fingers of a sculptor to skillfully arrange all of creation. God is so majestic that he is capable of such a powerful decree. This dawning moves the writer toward an amazing admission what is man that You take thought of him? in light of Godís creative art v 4.

Referring to man in this collective sense underscores the point of insignificance. It is amazing that simple humans, mere mortals, frail and insignificant as they are, have any value within this expansive universe. That God would be thinking of man in such a way as to hear his infant cries for help, or attempt to meet his needs at all, is overwhelming, amazing, and incredible that You care for him. No matter how frail or obscure people may seem, God has ordered things so as to intervene in human lives and set in motion his plan for them. The world will tell you to cover for your weakness, not acknowledge God, by assuming control over your destiny.

Application: When looking at Godís creation, its care and design, we should have an overwhelming sense of our insignificance as just a tiny part of Godís natural world.†††

 

GODS MAJESTY AS CREATOR IS SEEN BY ENTRUSTING MAN WITH DOMINION

Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. (verses 5-8). Humans are not divine or supernatural beings You have made him a little lower than God v 5. The Creator made man less than divine in the sense that humans do not possess divine attributes or convey divine abilities. Yet, even though God has created man lower than divine, God crown[ed] him with glory and majesty or honor. This is another way of saying humans are made as the image of God. These descriptions are usually reserved for Godís divine majesty, but in His grace, God has endowed mankind with dignity and importance in association with His plan for man. So we have a place in spite of only being mere humans.

 

The creation of humans and crowning them as the pinnacle of His creative work had a purpose, namely, You make him to rule over the works of Your hands v 6. This idea stresses mastery and rulership of Gods creation. Here it is the all-encompassing creation that is by the works of Your hands over which man has dominion. It was the finished divine detailed project the work of Your fingers (v 3) that God had creatively fashioned. God has declared that man is destined to have dominion over it You have put all things under his feet. By Godís creation of every human, man was given the commission and the capacity to rule over life on this planet. Man was created to subdue Godís creation.

 

The Psalmist delineates this dominion including its territory and subjects to be all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts [cattle] of the field v 7. Every one of them. This dominion extends to the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas v 8. Again, it is all of them. These are the works of Godís hand that were put under the dominion of mankind. God placed all living creatures under the control of Adam and Eve before the Fall, and when they fell He did not withdraw this privilege.

PT: In the New Testament we learn that because of the presence of sin mankind has not ruled over Godís creation as intended. Creation is not in submission, but chaos. But the New Testament does explain how this plan will be fulfilled. Interestingly, the Son of God took on mortal flesh at His incarnation. He was made a little lower than the angels in that regard but we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:6-9). Yet, He never ceased being divine while in that mortal flesh. He emptied Himself, most likely of divine glory to become the second Adam the first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Romans 5:14-15). Dominion awaits the end of the age when Christ dominates the world as universal ruler. Those who trust in the Lord will share in that dominion, for they will reign with Him You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth (Revelation 5:10).

 

GODS MAJESTY IS TO BE PRAISED BY THOSE FAITHFUL TO HIM

Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! (verse 9). The first verse of the Psalm is repeated to remind us that praise is to be given to the Lord due to the fact that He has given us the capacity and the privilege to reign over the earth. Just like the shepherds in the field at the birth of the Savior, gazing into the heavens and hearing the host of angels, we, too, should exclaim glory to God in the highest (Luke 2:14) for such a plan. This should be the mantra of the faithful every time they contemplate their place within Godís universal scheme. God has considered the glory and dignity of mankind so that he has a place which is majestic in itself as ruler over the entire earth and all that is within it.

 

         Your weakest, most desperate experiences in life are Gods plan for you to cry out to Him so that His strength can be provided for you

         Jesus declared that God does value each of us even as mere mortals, as marvelous as that is to consider are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:29-31)

         Our destiny is to reign with Christ, provided we qualify if we endure, we will also reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:10)

         The reality of our eternal destiny to rule over creation should constantly motivate us to faithfully prepare for and exclaim that to ourselves and others