Psalm 8

Psalms 8 #HisMajesty #OurRulership #HisSovereignity #OurDominance #HiscreativePower #OurGovernanceOfTheEarth

The Context of this Psalm. 

Although this psalm is a prayer and praises the Lord as majestic, it is also considered a wisdom psalm. This psalms is a reflection of the creator and His creation. The wisdom with which He created the heavens and the earth is reflected in Proverbs 3:19-20 (NIV) “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge, the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”

And Proverbs 8:22– 31 “The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water; before the mountains were settled in place,  before the hills,

I was given birth, before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. 

30 Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,  rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind. “

1(To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.) O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

[ Maybe the celestial bodies? Or even the universe that we can see with our eyes. Today a spaceship can literally take pictures of Mars, and still, no one can claim to have seen God the Father.]

Definitions: Gittith: A musical instrument mentioned in Ps. viii. 1, lxxxi. 1, lxxxiv. 1. The word is explained by Gesenius (“Thesaurus,” s. v. ) as meaning “striking instrument,” but it is now generally held to denote a zither. (Hirsch & Soligsohn, 2011). 

Verse 1a Defines His Majesty. It begins by making an invoking the name of Yahweh and identifies Him as the sovereign ruler of His people. Longman reveals that “God’s name ,or reputation, is majestic ( ’addîr ), a word that is often used alongside ‘glory’ ( kābôd ) and denotes that something is excellent or beautiful or splendid” (Longman 2014, 79).

Not only is Yahweh’s name excellent, its excellence is not localized to the nation of Israel. It is known throughout all of the earth. At the writing of this psalms, there was is no ancient near eastern ANE God whose name was known throughout all the earth. Today Jesus followers can read this statement with the knowledge that His name is literally being praised throughout all regions of this earth.”  This thought is continued in verses 3-8.

Verse 3: When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

[The psalter goes back to the original creation of the heavens and earth. The psalter acknowledges the creative might embodied in God’s words.

 Genesis 1:14-19 (NIV) “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was goodAnd there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.”

What is the big deal about “Man?”

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 

The psalter asks a question and then answers it himself. What original text was used for the word “man” in this passage? Longman succinctly identifies the difference between the creation of man, animal, and the universe.

The niv translation ( a little lower than the angels ) represents a failure of nerve 16 and follows the Septuagint, renowned for unnecessarily tempering shocking texts. The Hebrew word rendered angels is ’ĕlōhîm , more naturally translated ‘God’, as in the niv footnote (so nrsv). True, ’ĕlōhîm (‘gods’) is sometimes used for what are ‘angels’ (Ps. 82) or ‘demons’ (Exod. 12:12). But here it is much more likely that ‘God’ is intended.

Humans are less than God, to be sure, but they are closer to God than anything else in the created order. [Note the difference between demons, angels, and animals  After all, according to ]Genesis 1:27 “(KJV) “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”] …. human beings are created in the image of God. That is, more than any other creature, humans reflect and represent God. God has crowned humanity, as image-bearer, with glory (and here at last we have kābôd ) Strongs Concordance Definition for “כָּבוֹד – kâbôwd”

  1. glory, honor, glorious, abundance
  2. abundance, riches
  3. honor, splendor, glory
  4. honor, dignity
  5. honor, reputation
  6. honor, reverence, glory
  7. glory

as well as honour ( hādār , the fourth word in the semantic range with kābôd , ’addîr and hôd ).

  1. ornament, splendor, honor
  2. ornament
  3. splendor, majesty
  4. honor, glory

God is glorious, and humanity, as created in the image of God, reflects that glory. It is a derivative glory, analogous to the way in which the moon reflects the light of the sun (Longman, 80).

For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. It has been said that this statement refers to Christ. Hebrews 2:9 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels [while in the flesh of a human being BUT HE WAS STILL GOD] for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  No human being’s blood can wash away our sins,  Only Jesus.

Verse  Thou madest him [man] to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 

To whom did God give dominion over the works of His hands? Who did He give the authority to rule over the fish in the sea and the fowls of he air?  In Genesis 1:28 (KJV) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. God tells humanity that they had authorityover every living creature that moves on the ground’. God made man (hiphil of māšal )

  1. to rule, have dominion, reign
  2. (Qal) to rule, have dominion
  3. (Hiphil)
  4. to cause to rule
  5. to exercise dominion
  6. over the works of your hands.

Just in case we did not understand what we are in control of the psalter named everything that Yahweh created.

Verse 7  All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; Verse The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.

Even the plant life on this planet is our responsibility. Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” 

So, maybe the environmentalists are correct and people who are determined to  change what God has made, pollute the environment etc., are not!

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

In his deepest moments of despair, Job did not understand this correlation between God and the importance of man’s role in sustaining God’s creation.  Job 7:17  (KJV) “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?” What are we that God should have given us so much power over His creation?

NT References to Christ

The New Testament church interprets Psalm 8 as part of the coming of Christ. The Apostle Paul applies the thoughts of dominance to  Jesus Christ. Jesus was man and God. He has absolute dominion in both realms designated to His personage. Paul references Psalms 8:6 in 1 Corinthians 15:27  (KJV) “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him”  he (God) ‘has put everything under his feet’, with particular reference to death, which he defeats by virtue of his 

The New Covenant Children of God know their standing with their Father. 

I John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.’

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 

Jesus repeated this very same verse in the book of Matthew 21:16 (KJVAnd said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” The children were connected with the revelation of God’s plan for humanity. They saw the Messiah. They were glorifying Him as such. Read Job 7:18– 21When Christ arose he placed death under His feet.

The Order of Resurrection I Corinthians 15
24 Then the end will come, when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority, and power. 25 ForHe must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.…

That is something that no human being could do.

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! The psalter concludes as he began. Reiterating the excellence of Yahweh’s name.

 

 

References

Longman, Tremper, III. Psalms : An Introduction and Commentary, InterVarsity Press, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/lib/liberty/detail.action?docID=2033987.

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