Psalm 8

Psalm 8

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
(Psalm 8:1-9 NIV)

Today’s passage is a wonderful psalm of praise and worship written by King David.  David begins and ends this song with the same declaration.

In the Hebrew language, the two references to “Lord” are actually two different words.  The first “Lord” is the Hebrew word “YHWH”, the holiest of all the names of God.  In fact, the Hebrews removed all vowels from this name for God so that no one could speak it.   The second “Lord” is the Hebrew word “Adonai”, which is a title of authority and sovereignty.  The person speaking or writing this name in reference to another person is voluntarily putting themselves under the authority of the one being spoken or written to.

Notice that David says God’s name is majestic.  That’s not a word we use a lot in everyday language.   The Hebrew word is a superlative term and implies a display of power and strength that overtakes everything else.  This power is supreme, second to none.

In verse 1b, David says that God has set His glory in the heavens.  The Hebrew word for “glory” denotes beauty, elegance, and grandeur.

In this first verse, David captures the image and essence of God – His majesty (strength) and glory (beauty).  As so we are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) – both male and female, both strength and beauty.

In verse 2, David recalls an example of God demonstrating His majesty and glory to silence His foes and avengers, His enemies.  And how does He do that?  Through the praise of the smallest and weakest and most helpless – toddlers and babies.

Think about that for a moment – let it soak in.

God crushes His enemies using the simple joy of children’s voices singing His praise.

David then goes on to recognize the awesomeness of God’s creation, particularly the vision of the night sky, the heavens (v. 3).  As David contemplates the vastness of God’s amazing creation, he suddenly feels very small in God’s universe (v. 4).  David invites us to sit in this smallness with him, as he says that all of humanity (mankind) is in the same place before God.

But David does not sulk or wither away like an insignificant speck of dust on the earth.  Instead, he remembers God’s calling to all of mankind through Adam and Eve – to manage God’s creation (Genesis 1:26, reflected in vv. 6-8).  God gave this command to Adam and Eve before sin entered the world, while the relationship between God and mankind (Adam and Eve, and us) was broken through sin.

God gave us honor and purpose and calling in that original design.  God’s calling to humanity was not earned, nor demanded, nor randomly stumbled over and accidentally discovered – it was ordained, given, intentional.  And it is ours to accept, to step into, to live out.  And as we live into our relationship with God and live out our calling by God, we reflect His glory (v. 5b).

David ends the same way he begins – offering praise and worship to the Lord (v. 9).

What began as David’s acknowledged declaration because of David’s observation of nature and the nighttime sky ends as a foundation truth held deeply in David’s soul.

May we stop to enjoy God’s creation and give Him praise and worship for both our smallness in His vastness and our purpose and calling in His image.

The next time you look up at the nighttime sky, where does your heart and mind go?

May David’s psalm be your guide.