Yesterday morning I read Psalm 8 and had some thoughts I wanted to jot down. Unfortunately I didn’t get around to it all day, and now my memory is hazy. But re-reading it this morning, I found some coherent reflections worth typing up and sharing, probably in line with what I was first thinking yesterday.
Although it doesn’t say outright, I’d say Psalm 8 is a meditation on the indescribable majesty of God – the fact that He’s beyond our ability to comprehend and describe. It’s kind of like that contemporary song, Indescribable, except that’s more focused on a text from Job on a similar theme. Anyway, here’re my thoughts on the Psalm, roughly verse by verse.
1 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
We consider the immeasurable majesty of God and are so stupefied we resort to declaring His glory to be “above the heavens” even when we know space (the sky, the heavens) is essentially limitless. Verse 2 is a word of praise based on something that we can experience.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
These verses return to the vastness of God: the heavens are so immense, and we’re so small. This begs the question: who are we in comparison? Why should God notice us at all? This is what makes v5 so profound:
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
We’re only “a little lower” than the heavenly beings – the angels. They are so terrifying and powerful and ancient, and yet we’re not far below them, but “a little lower” than them. Why? How can this be? What makes us so special?
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
We have dominion over all creation; all things are under out feet! This includes all livestock, all wild animals, all fish, all birds, the whole world – we inherited it from God Himself. What a privilege! And what a responsibility! Thus, realizing that we’re sharing some of God’s reign and glory, we’re able to say with better (and a more intimate) understanding:
9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!