Psalm 8. 1: O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2: 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. 3: When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5: For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6: Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8: The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9: O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
Have you ever marveled at the amazing display of stars on a clear moonless night? Many years ago on a backpacking trip, our family slept outdoors without a tent high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. There, far away from the bright lights of civilization, the display of stars was breathtaking! How small we felt in such an awesome universe! The words of Psalm 8, which our family had memorized, leaped to our minds as we gazed up at the sky.
If you ever feel like you’re just a dot in the vast universe, read and meditate on Psalm 8. No doubt David, the author of this psalm, had the same feelings of awe and “smallness” when he looked up at the heavens, but the Lord revealed to him that from God’s perspective people are much more than mere specks in a vast universe! Apart from the revelation of Scripture we would never know that we are more than just specks of dust among the stars. However, the Bible says that we are of great significance to God! Psalm 8 gives us our majestic Creator’s divine perspective.
Psalm 8 is a hymn of praise to God for His marvelous works of creation and His wonderful plans for mankind.
Take a look at the title of the psalm. It tells us that this is a psalm of David, and because it’s written “for the Chief Musician,” it is also a hymn of praise“upon gittith”. Gittith may refer to a musical instrument that was used to accompany this hymn.
In addition to being a hymn of praise for God’s marvelous works of creation and His great plans for mankind, Psalm 8 is clearly a Messianic psalm. It is quoted three times in the New Testament, each time in reference to Jesus Christ.
In Matthew 21 the Lord was in the Temple courts after His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. When the Jewish leaders rebuked the Lord for allowing the children to praise Him by saying “Hosanna to the Son of David,” Jesus Himself quoted Psalm 8:2; “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (v16).
The apostle Paul quoted Psalm 8:6 in 1 Corinthians 15:27, where he wrote: “He has put everything under His feet.”
The third quote from Psalm 8 is in Hebrews 2:6-8, where Hebrews quotes Psalm 8:5-6 to show that, even though He is Man, the Lord Jesus is greater than angels. “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” In quoting Psalm 8:5, the author of Hebrews uses “lower than angels,” while Psalm 8:5 read(s) “lower than God.” The Hebrew word used in Psalm 8:5 is “elohim,” which can be translated “God” or “gods
What does it mean, that man was made a little lower than the angels? The author of Hebrews was making the point that the eternal Son of God became true Man at the incarnation. As man, He became “lower than angels.” He willingly subjected Himself to the limitations of being human for the purpose of accomplishing the work of redemption. However, at no time was the Lord Jesus Christ inferior to angels. Never! The eternal Son of God was and is and will forever be greater than the angels. Even though He became Man, he remained fully God, and He remains fully Man and fully God — forever!
Doctrinal / Teaching Points:
1. The LORD is majestic in His works of creation.
All of us have looked up into the sky on a clear night and marvelled at God’s majestic creation. No doubt David spent many clear starry nights out on the Judean hillsides near Bethlehem while watching his family’s sheep. He was probably recalling and reflecting on those experiences when he wrote verses 3 and 4.
Most likely David was not aware of the concept of “light years” as we are today, and thus our sense of awe at God’s creation should be even greater than David’s as we gaze at the innumerable stars — many of which are actually entire galaxies! Notice that the heavens are described as the work of God’s “fingers.” Wow! We have a big God!
It’s important to note that nowhere in the Bible do we find even a hint of the pantheistic idea that “God is the universe” or “the universe is God.” God is the Creator of the universe. He is above the heavens (v1). The universe is the creation of His fingers.
It’s also important to note that nothing was random about the origin of the universe. The universe was ordained and set in place by the Creator (v3). How can intelligent people conclude that the universe created itself out of nothing? Even little children know that things don’t just create themselves out of nothing! How can people believe and propagate the notion that the amazing amount of intricate design in this universe just came about by chance, after some kind of “big bang”? Talk about kissing your brains goodbye! Seriously speaking, people have to be willfully blind to deny that there is a powerful and awesome Designer and Creator behind this universe.
The LORD is majestic in His works of creation.
2. The LORD is marvelous in His plans for mankind.
Did you ever see a model or diagram of the universe with a “You are Here” arrow showing the location of the earth, a tiny dot on the fringes of the universe? From the human perspective, we’re just a speck of dust on a speck of a planet in one of the arms of a galaxy containing billions of stars that are larger than our sun. And our galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies!
When we consider the mind-boggling immensity of the universe, we can certainly identify with David’s question in verses 3-4: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” What’s the answer to this question? The answer is that from the divine perspective, mankind is very significant and important. We have been created in the image of God, and crowned with glory and honor (v5).
Mankind was given dominion over the other works of God’s creation, including animals. The meaning of the word “dominion” has sometimes been twisted to justify mankind’s sinful exploitation of the earth and its creatures for his own greedy purposes. We don’t have the right to pollute or abuse the environment, or mistreat and exploit animal life, or destroy anything that God has created. God has honored mankind with the responsibility to care for, protect and enjoy His handiwork (vs 6-8 and Genesis 2:8-9, 15).
The LORD is marvelous in His plans for mankind.