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Psalm 8

The Glory of God & Man

If you have ever watched Tv shows about space travel such as Star Trek, you begin to see something of the vastness of the universe in which we live. And yet it is only a glimpse. The real vastness of the universe is beyond our comprehension. When you begin to think seriously about space and time, you are lead to think more widely about the existence of the world, about human life. These are questions which have been pondered for hundreds if not thousands of years. Mankind has always been searching for his identity and place within the cosmos. Who are we? What is the purpose of our being here? How did we get here?

These are some of the questions that the Psalmist is thinking about. Not only are we also drawn to think about them but the Psalmist gives us some answers, for rather than being imprisoned by human reason we are liberated by God's own revelation on these matters.

1. The Glory of God: vv1-2

David begins by addressing God by His personal name, O LORD (Yahweh). God is known because  He has chosen to make Himself known. He revealed Himself to Moses "I AM WHO I AM", and He call him into a personal relationship with Himself (Ex. 3:14). Knowing God's name actualises  communion with Him. ie. The name of God reveals the character of God. In knowing God personally through His name reveals what God is like.

El Roi - the God that sees- Omnisscience
El Shaddai - God Almighty - all sufficient.
El Gibbor - the mighty God, or the great God.
Elohim Elyon - God the the most High.
Jehovah Jireh - The Lord will provide
Jehovah Shalom - The Lord is our peace
Jehovah Shaphat - The Lord is judge
Jehovah Sabaoth - The Lord of Hosts
Jehohah Tsidkenu - The Lord our righteousness
Jehovah Shammah - The Lord who is ever there

Until you come to know God personally you don't know God at all. You may believe in God, ie in the comcept of the existence of God, you may even know something about God, but you don't know God. Not being in a one-to-one relationship as you own personal God and Lord. David prays in such a way. He prays to a God whom He knows personally -our Lord. It is to the God

His fathers; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is the God who instituted the covenant with His chosen people, who revealed something of His character and will to this people; a holy, just  and righteous God. Yahweh Is Israel's Lord and hence "our Lord."

David reflects on the nature of God - "How excellent is Your name in all the earth." The root of the word excellent means "large, powerful, almighty."  What David is saying is that God is omni-potent and that this mighty power is incomparable with anything in the created world. The excellence or the power of God's name is revealed in the  majesty of both heaven and earth. God's name is excellent in all the earth because its His creation. "You have set Your glory (Majesty) above the heavens." It is God's lordship and rule over all things that reveals His glory.

 The glory of God is revealed in the creation itself, in the heavens and the earth. Just as we might look at a beautiful piece of art work in a gallery and marvel at the genius and skill of the craftsman who created the work. Likewise, God is glorified by the marvellous beauty of His creation. His people are to praise Him because this, yet not only are our spoken praises glorifying God, but are very existence also praises Him because we too are part of His creation. So that David can say that even babes praise God, for their very being is a wonderful testimony to God. Yet there are foolish people in the world whose hearts are darkened and reject God; denying His existence they construct foolish theories and believe them as if they were true. The theory of Evolution is exactly that; a theory. It has never been proved. It is no more than a series of suppositions based on a number of false premises-1) that there is no God or  superior being overruling the creation and directon of the world; 2) that their scientific studies and methods are true. Yet evolution is taught in our schools, colleges and universities as though it had been proved true. The case today is that more and more holes are being shown up in this model, yet it is being promoted just as strongly as ever.

2. The Glory of Man ; vv.3-8

After recognising the vastness of creation and the majesty of God, David now turns to the question of our own identity and destiny. David meditates before the Lord: "When I consider (see) Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained . . ."  may reflect that David was sitting back at night meditating upon these things as he looked at the vastness of the heaven above him. Yet how much more we know about the universe than king David -does it make us more godly and leave us in awe of God, or does it make us more arrogant and more dependant on own own scientific abilities or achievements.

When you think that a beam of light travels at 186 000 miles per second ( 7x eqatorial diameter of the earth), yet it takes 8 minutes for a beam of light to travel from the sun. There are stars in our own galaxy that take light thousands of light years to reach. What about stars beyond our galaxy. No wonder David asked, "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?" What David is really saying is what is so special about man, that in the vastness of God's wonderful creation of the universe that God remembers him and cares for him. Before such overwhelming physical odds, such seemingly endless space and time, will God think of us and care for us?

His answer comes in verse 5. You have made him a little lower than the angels, or even a better rendering, You have made him a little lower than God. David is possible thinking of Genesis1:26 "Then God said, Let us make man in our own image, according to our likeness." Being made a little lower than God, we were made to represent Him in this world, to reflect His character, and to live in a relationship with Him. But there's more! Man was crowned with glory and honour. Verse 6 tells us of this glory and honour.
 "You made him ruler over the works of Your hands; and put everything under his feet: . ."
Again this reflects Genesis 1:26 ". . . and God said, let them (male and female) have dominion (rulership) over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

Our greatness in not based on "human dignity" which is plucked out of the air. Our greatness in being made less than God, in God's image and being placed in this world by God to exercise His sovereignty over His planet.
Both in nature (what we are) and in vocation(what we are meant to do), we are given divine glory. Our greatness, our dignity is relational, it is based on our relationship to God. This knowledge cannot and does not come through general revelation, but through special revelation. Calvin asserts that there is no proper knowledge of humankind apart from the knowledge of God.

However, we do not see this ordering of creation. Mankind has declared itself to be its own god, but in doing so has become a devil. The world that was created to be ruled by us has been raped and polluted  instead. And yet the final message of the psalm is not all doom and  gloom. The psalm points beyond itself, to the redemption given in Christ. As the second Adam, the head of the new race, Jesus has defeated sin, Satan, and death. As Paul writes to the Ephesians, that Christ now reigns, having put all things under His feet (1:22).

Psalm 8:2-4 is interpreted in  Hebrew 2:6-9 as representing Christ; "But there is a place where someone has testified: What is man that You are mindful of him 'the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honour and put everything under His feet.

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone."

Christ was made a little lower than the angels in that He took on flesh and was made like us, enduring the shame and the agony of the cross for our sake. It was because of the suffering which He endured that He was raised to glory. So now everything is under His feet; He is the Lord of all, He is crowed with glory at the Father side. God has replaced the failed humanity, which is overcome with sin with  new humanity which will be like Christ, who is the image of the invisible God. So that what God had purposed for us in bearing His image and serving Him in obedience will be achieved.

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